Several reviewers pointed out that side and side curtain airbags—standard in many rival models—are optional in the 2008 Toyota Yaris Liftback. “Anti-lock brakes are a stand-alone $300 option,” explains MSN Autos, “and front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags cost $650 for all Yaris versions.”
In track testing, Consumer Reports calls the Yaris’s handling “sloppy” at its limits and highlights as a safety issue the tendency in the hatchback for the rear end to slide out. “The Yaris would greatly benefit from stability control,” Consumer Reports comments in its road test, “but like most cars in this class, it's not available.
The 2008 Toyota Yaris Liftback has unimpressive safety ratings—even when equipped with the optional side airbags. As such, the Yaris achieves only three-star ratings—the lowest mark typically awarded—for side impact, along with four- and five-star ratings for frontal impact. With the side bags, the IIHS rated the Yaris "good" for side impact but "poor" without.