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2009 Toyota Yaris Base - a good deal?

Hi all,

Trying to decide whether to buy this 2009 Toyota Yaris with no frills whatever. It has 37k miles and is in good condition, selling (by dealer) for $8,800. I will be trading in a 2001 Nissan Sentra with 128k miles that has about $1200 worth of mechanical issues.

I don’t have a problem with crank windows or no power locks or cruise control. My cruise control doesn’t work now anyway. I can’t afford much more than $10k. Would you buy this Toyota Yaris?

Thank you for your help!

You need to research on sites such as to check whether the price is reasonable. I don’t care much for the Yaris. Are you sure it will be comfortable for you? Ride quality and handling are not very good on a Yaris.

Thanks for the feedback. I test-drove it and it’s ok, not great, but not terrible either. I’m young (26) and can deal with a less than stellar car. According to Edmunds, the price is right on target. They say other similar cars would be better, so I guess I could check out those models too (Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Scion xD). Last item - it has a manual transmission, which I LOVE.

Without looking into it (so I could be wrong), the price seems kind of high. The Yaris doesn’t have very good resale value because it’s not well liked by a lot of people. It’s too loud, not pleasant to drive or ride in, doesn’t handle well, is underpowered, and gets stuck in the snow very easily. It’s only redeeming quality is that it gets pretty good gas mileage and middle of the road reliability for a Toyota. If you like the Yaris, it’s worth considering, but if you want something nicer, you can probably find something nicer and about as new for about the same price. This dealer may well have this car priced high just because of the Toyota badge on the hood.

If the price right and you like the car, go for it. Not having power locks and windows is sometimes better, less stuff to break.

I don’t think I’d want a Yaris especially if I was doing a lot of interstate driving for long trips or commuting. I do feel fine driving my '03 Civic on these roads at 70 mph. Was your test drive under similar conditions that you’d expect in your daily driving?

If you haven’t had this Yaris out on an expressway at 70-75 mph I suggest another test drive. How does it track at 70 mph? How stable does it feel? How much is it blown around by the airflow off 18 wheeler trucks? How does it feel in heavy crosswinds? How buzzy is the motor, transmission, and tire noise at high speeds? A basic model won’t have much sound deadening material so it could be a loud ride at 70 mph.

I was in the same position 47 years ago that you are in right now. I started my first full time job and needed a better car. I came across a bare-bones 1965 Rambler Classic 550 (bottom of the line) with 7000 miles and the balance of the factory warranty that I bargained the price down to $1750. This was in April of 1965. I lived quite well without power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, automatic transmission, etc. I did finally splurge and for $37.50 had back-up lights and a windshield washer installed on the car. That Rambler saw me thrugh 4 years of employment, two years of more graduate education and two more years after graduate school. In fact, the money I would have spent upgrading to a newer, more luxurious automobile, went to the down payment on a house.
Stripped down cars don’t sell well, which works to your advantage if you have the energy to crank your windows open and closed, and keep the car to the point where there is limited trade-in value.
I don’t know what your driving needs are. If you are an over-the-road sales person, then the Yaris might not meet your needs. However, if your driving is mostly local and suburban commuting, then the Yaris may be a good deal for you. In any event, check on prices, have the car inspected by a good mechanic, and do your bargaining if the car checks out.
One way to improve the ride of the Yaris is to find an old time farmer that has an International F-12 tractor. Offer to plow a field for him. After an hour on the tractor, go back and drive the Yaris. You will think it has a great ride.
I like your reasoning on a buying a bare bones car. Back in the late 1950s, I found the Studebaker Scotsman appealling.

I’d see what $9,000 would get in a Corolla.

In my area, dealer’s sell this car with no options in clean condition for $9900 according to Edmunds. Private party sales are a little less than $8900.

I suggest that you widen your scope. I bought an automatic 2010 Cobalt LS with crank windows and manual door locks a month ago. It had 14,500 miles on it and I paid a little less than $10,000. If it had a manual transmission, it would have been about the same price as your Yaris.

But if you like the Yaris, the price is attractive in a large metro area.

Because these little no thrills cars are Toyotas the resale value is High. In your situation that car might be a OK choice as long as it is checked out by a independent third party to be in good mechanical condition without being in any accident.

Hey everyone! I really appreciate all the help, especially Triedaq. I just had a friend go out to do the 100-point inspection and…the car got sold to someone else. :frowning: I’ll just have to come back when I find another car!

If You See Your “Friend” In A “New” Yaris, Same Year, Same Color, Manual Transmission . . . It’s Probably Just Coincidental.


@amkapla, Think Cobalt. Better than Yaris.

The Yaris is very reliable. I tried out the model year you are looking at and the newest and improved version. Toyota seems to refuse to make the car enough better to take sales away from the Scion. If you’re a masochist, go for it. It will unfortunately last a very long time. Personally, I would go no smaler the a Corolla. These things are more wind sensitive and tiring.

"…the car got sold to someone else. :frowning: I’ll just have to come back when I find another car! "
Don’t fret about it. My late father used to say “there will always be cars”. I thought the 1965 Rambler that I bought and described in an earlier post was a great buy. However, 2 months later, my parents bought another house from a couple that was retiring to Florida. The man who sold the house to my parents wanted to sell me a 1963 Ford Fairlane, a stripped model with 10,000 miles for $1000. Although it was 2 years older than the Rambler and had 3000 more miles, it would have probably given me the same amount of service and I would have been $750 ahead.

Much better cars out there for the same amount of money.
Mazda 3
Ford Focus
Hyundai Sonata
Scion tC

"much better cars are out there…"
Boy you to that right. The Yaris is popular in high density areas like Europe and in cities around here. When I drive them, they seem decent up to 40 mph. After that, your list @bscar2 is the tip of the tip of the iceberg containing better choices.

To be fair, I’d recommend a newer Neon or PT Cruiser before a Yaris, but that’s personal taste. I see quite a few PTs running around town here

Did we have someone who bought a Yaris of that vintage a couple years back post incessantly about how lackluster the Yaris was compared to her previous car?

@FoDaddy - Yes, we had a very unhappy Yaris owner. As I remember, she bought a cheap small car and expected it to be a Camry or Avalon. It wasn’t about breaking down, she was just uncomfortable in the car and hated the choppy ride and being pounded when hitting bumps in the road.

I tried out the newest version and they have improved significantly in many ways. Unfortunately, they kept the same motor/transmisdin which limits it’s performance compared to just about every other car in their class. Driving position mostly was improved. They are now not terrible and worth a look if it were cheap enough. If you really want a Toyota, I would recomend the Scion xd which has a bigger more economical motor, handles better, has much more standard equipment and is a worthwhile rival for the highly regarded Fit.