Toyota Yaris II, is a car that can be driven by ladies, octogenarians, but also by hooligans who make donuts in supermarket parking lots. A more fun car than you would imagine.

If the first generation Yaris was more of a wheeled blender for those who want a simple city car, debuting in the supermini zone like the first generation Rav4 entered the SUV zone, the Toyota Yaris II has become the official star of the ladies who want a feminine city car that’s reliable enough to last even with no oil changes. Like the second generation Rav4, the Toyota Yaris II appeals to a wide range of people, from car enthusiasts to people who don’t know that the engine needs a battery in order to start or that a car has regular maintenance intervals. And so the Toyota Yaris II has crawled from oil change to oil change once every 3-4 years and has become one of the most reliable cars in recent history. It just has one big concern. 

And so comes the real problem – The Toyota Yaris II, because it’s such a reliable car, suffers from the “Toyota tax”. All used Toyota cars are extremely expensive, almost as expensive as new cars. Toyota cars simply don’t depreciate.

Furthermore, if you want a compact city car, simple, reliable and with low purchase and running costs, there is the Dacia Sandero I. 

Why am I comparing the Dacia Sandero I to the Toyota Yaris II?

  • The Dacia Sandero costs half as much as a Toyota Yaris II. For half the money you get a bigger and more practical car than the Yaris.
  • Dacia’s legendary 1.4 NA petrol is on the same level of reliability as Toyota’s legendary 1.33 NA, even more reliable when it comes to astronomical mileage.
  • The Toyota Yaris II on the other hand wins on brand, equipment, and safety. The Sandero’s main drawback is the toilet paper grade metal used on the bodywork that doesn’t help you in case of a bad crash. But if you don’t plan on ever going out of town because you also have a car for the long haul, that argument is thinner than the thong worn by a dancer in a summer band at the beach, however to some people that “Toyota” is worth the extra money simply because they don’t want to drive a mere “Dacia”, even if that Dacia is a better car around town.


Toyota Yaris II Engines


  • 1.0 1KR-FE of 67 horsepower – No more ancient Daihatsu engine, this engine is 100% Toyota, made in Poland. This is the official engine in the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1, and Peugeot 107, the official pizza and takeaway delivery cars. Unfortunately, the engine generally suffers from oil pump issues, and on the Toyota Yaris II is simply too anemic. I wouldn’t brag to anyone that I bought a 1.0 petrol Yaris.
  • 1.33 1NR-FE of 85 and 100 horsepower – The famous 1.33 that I also talked about in the Auris article, this is one of Toyota’s core engines. The version until 2008 is the ancient 2NZ-FE 85 horsepower, an absolutely indestructible engine, but which was retired in 2008 by the 1NR-FE because of Euro 5. An equally impressive engine, but suffering from oil consumption. Not quite like the German cars do, but that may be its biggest issue.
  • 1.5 of 1NZ-FE of 109 horsepower  – Same 1NZ-FE as the 1.33, but bumped up to 1.5 and 109 horsepower. Likewise, a legendary engine for reliability, retired in 2008 because it was Euro 4 and couldn’t make it to Euro 5.
  • 1.6 4ZR-FE of 120 horsepower  – Arrived in 2008 to replace the old 1.5, this one has a decent appetite for oil. Like an alcoholic who never increases his dosage and is always content with the same two cans of beer every day. 
  • 1.8 of 133 horsepower  – Toyota Yaris II TS is meant to be Toyota’s answer to the Polo GTI and Fiesta ST. A comically fast car that appeals to car enthusiasts. A comically fast engine on a lightweight, fuel-efficient body that’s known for reliability. This is one of the best Toyota cars you’ve never heard of. 


1.4 1ND-TV of 87 horsepower  – The same mechanical failure carried over from the previous generation, this 1.4 D-4D is proof in cylinders that the Japanese can’t into diesel. Turbo issues, oil seals, oil consumption, and every possible and impossible issue. 


Toyota Yaris II General Issues

  • The Multimatic MMT semi-automatic gearbox which is not communicating with you, just like a girlfriend who got mad at you for going out for a beer with the guys instead of staying home with her. Serious actuator and clutch issues, lack of power, electronics issues, and so on. Completely avoidable. This is for Europe though were we only got this gearbox, on other places they got either an CVT or an proper Aisin 4 speed automatic (North America model does), both of which are fine.
  • Windshield drain, a trivial issue that can seriously damage the car. Don’t be a lazy goverment worker, clean the leaves from there so you don’t have issues with the car.
  • The shock absorbers from the tailgate have forgotten to hit the gym and are as strong as Graham Norton. Considering that the bootlid of a Toyota Yaris II weighs 2 grams, that says something about the quality of the shock absorbers.
  • The sensor next to the clutch pedal can break and the pedal gets stuck. You’ll have to manually (or heel) pull the pedal to get to the service. Or call someone to come and replace the sensor.

Toyota Yaris II Verdict

If it weren’t so expensive used, I might recommend the Toyota Yaris II in Europe. However, considering you have so many cheaper alternatives that are almost as good or even as good (Dacia Sandero), I find it hard to recommend this car. However, if the wife insists she wants a Yaris, then at least you know you’re making a good choice for a city car. If you’re talking outside EU however, the 2nd generation Yaris is a fine chapter as ever. Sure, there are cheaper alternatives out there, but atleast this one is worth the money. 

Which engine do you recommend? Clearly, by far and without a doubt, the 1.33 petrol engine paired with a manual gearbox. It’s the only engine that makes sense for the typical Toyota Yaris II owner. Of course, there’s also the delicious 133-horsepower 1.8 VVT-i, but that one already caters to those two people who want a sports car and are looking at Toyota.