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Hatin' on the Yaris

(Cross posted from General Discussion forum.)

Okay, someone suggested removing the factory springs and shocks in order to mitigate yet another feature of this car which I hate yet neglected to mention in my rant above, which is its “bounciness”; I feel like I’m riding a Hippity-Hop (anyone remember those?). Also hard for my elderly mother to climb into and out of since the seat curve UP and you have to climb a little to get in. The tall factor, I mentioned (and hate; too tall!), so this would lower it, as well, wouldn’t it? How does one go about doing this, what’s the cost, what are the ramifications?

Changing a car’s springs will change the handling characteristics of the car. Racers do it and then track test the car to see how the handling was affected. You do not want to do this. In the end you will still have ample reason to hate your Yaris but be even more reluctant to sell it because of the money you invested in it.

The only solution for you is to sell the car and buy something else. You cannot remake and remodel a car that you hate so profoundly.

Changing the springs may in fact make it worse than before. Instead of bouncing you may feel like you are riding on a flat board. Imagine the joy of feeling every expansion strip up and down your spine.

Sell it and move on!

The ramifications include possible voiding of the warranty and probable worsening of the car’s handling. As Consumer Reports noted, the Yaris has sloppy handling (one of the reasons why I advised against buying it), and if you allow an after-market shop to fiddle with it the handling may become worse.

An aftermarket shop can likely improve the handling, but only if you allow them to put “rock hard” springs and struts in it, and I seriously doubt if your mother would enjoy that kind of ride. Essentially, you can choose from an improved ride with worse handling, or you can opt for a really stiff ride with improved handling. On a very short wheelbase car like the Yaris, you cannot achieve both. As the old saying tells us, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

But, even if you manage to improve the ride, you would still have that interior that you really dislike. Since you really hate this car so much, I strongly suggest that you continue to shop around for something that fits your needs much better, rather than trying to remake this car.

Oh, I wouldn’t say I hate it PROFOUNDLY… That’s going a bit far… ; / I guess altering it so drastically, though, would impact resale… but the springs really do seem ridiculous (you can see them from behind the car); it’s comically bouncy!

If the car is “comically bouncy”, then that just means that you did not do your “due diligence” prior to buying it, simply because an extended test drive would have revealed that characteristic, as well as the interior design that you dislike so much.

Instead, when people tried to point out the shortcomings of the Yaris, you insisted that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and summarily dismissed our caveats. I am really starting to wonder if you used any criteria other than a low purchase price before deciding that this was the ideal car for you. Please give these observations some thought before buying your next car.

Yeah, yeah, okay, okay; mea culpa! I admit I DID insist on getting the smallest AND cheapest car I could find, and truly I though the Toyota brand would ensure satisfaction… I am frankly surprised Toyota had turned out such a relatively shoddy design, here. Also, my cardinal sin was NOT test-driving this particular car – or even model – at all; there weren’t any hatchbacks, so I test-drove a sedan only, and that just around the block; it seemed quite satisfactory but, again, that was a sedan, and not the hatchback. Also was an '09, and I ended up buying the best deal I could find anywhere, which was an '08 in another state.

Want to add “penny-wise, pound-foolish” to your list of adages?

Toyota sells a sport set of shocks/struts/springs for the Yaris (under the TRD name) that’ll make it handle better, ride a little lower (I think about 1") but ride a bit rougher. They aren’t cheap, and you would need to drive a Yaris with them installed before deciding if it’s an improvement. A better idea might be to get a different car.

Find yourself a used Suzuki Swift and, if necessary, have it fixed up. The Swift fit you like a glove and nothing else will measure up.

That sounds familiar…

The cost will be far more than you would be willing to pay(given you fretted about paying $200 more at a dealer).

Also you bought a lilliputian car. Guess what tiny cars have terrible rides.

The good thing if you can tolerate this car the suspension will wear down and ride will soften up after 7yrs/100k miles.

You bought a cheapo new car what do you expect? A used Camry or Corolla for the same price would be universes apart from this car. I don’t understand the economics of buying these tiny cars new.

I keep repeating myself, but my former car – Suzuki Swift – was a cheap little econobox, and it had NONE of these issues… It’s quite likely just that quality has gone down the tubes; maybe even the pricey cars aren’t designed or built as well as they used to be. Is anything? I’ve had nothing BUT econoboxes: Nissan Senta, Toyota Corolla (back when both of these were cute little boxy things; not boring sedans), the original VW bug, and then the Geo Metro hatch and Swift hatch.

All great little cars; no complaints. As I say, just disappointing for a Toyota.

Good to know I’ll get relief from the bounce in seven years (won’t last that long)!

Make certain that your tires aren’t over-inflated. The proper tire pressure is on the left door pillar. I have found that a good tire gauge is worth the $10 investment. Sometimes service departments over-inflate tires and this could cause the bounding ride.

I had elderly parents and owned a Ford Aerostar minivan. I had running boards installed that helped them get into the van. A little portable step would also work. Once my parents were in the van, they liked the higher seating position.

Well changing springs is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s done all the time. I don’t know if aftermarket springs are available for your car (yet) but if done right, a suspension upgrade can improve the ride and handling of your car. I did spring, strut, sway bar and wheel/tire upgrades on my Acura and I love how my car looks, rides and handles - to me it’s much improved over stock. Just do your research (like I did) and go from there.

There is no quality issue involved.

Your Yaris is an engineering compromise as all cars are to produce a product for a certain price tag that hopefully appeals to enough consumers.

Obviously this compromise does not appeal to you.

How long did you test drive the car after laboring over it? Typically a good dealer will let you borrow at car for a few hours even half day if you prearrange. You will find if you love or hate it in that period likely vs 15-20 mins of quick ride.

That’s because I think you are wasting your time with these discussions when there is only one solution that will make you truly happy.

Conversing ad nauseum about the perspective Yaris purchase didn’t help, and I don’t think discussing your dislike of the Yaris ad nauseum is going to help either.

Hey, it’s not like they’re are lots of Suzuki Swifts out there for sale, and the buyer is pretty happy with my old one and not particularly inclined to sell unless I make it worth their while. If I can find a way to live with this car, I will.

If they brought back the exact same Suzuki Swift new? I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

As others have point out you can try the TRD springs offered by Toyota. They will lower your car a little, but really firm up the ride. On my car I had adjustable Koni shocks installed, Basically you can control the stiffness of the shock. Mine have 5 settings. I generally run the fronts on 4 or 5 and rears on 3. At the drag strip, I’ll knock it down to maybe 3 up front and 1 on the rear shocks to help put more power down and help with wheelspin. At VIR I played around with them throught the day, ultimately settling on 5 up front and 4 in the back. I also have Eibach Sportline springs which lower the car a good 2 inches and offer sharp handling, but the ride quality is very stiff.

I’m making a specific inquiry about the possibility of switching out the springs and shocks, Whitey, if you’ll reread the question; not just whining aimlessly…

But thanks!

Why? You already had your mind made up that there was nothing that could be done to this Yaris to make it bearable.

You are right that there aren’t that many Swifts available, but my belief is that finding one should be easier than making the modifications you are considering.

I think I am beginning to see a pattern here. You waffled and pondered the Yaris purchase but skipped the test drive. Now you are waffling and agonizing about what to do with your hated Yaris. Take a decisive step towards a solution that you know will make you happy. Consider what will happen if you still hate the Yaris after you make your modifications. How will you feel then? You will have gone through considerable effort and expense for nothing, when all along there was a perfect solution staring you in the face.

Okay, but remember that I tried to give you sound advice when this all blows up in your face.