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Discussion Starter #1
I like everything about my '08 3 door except the steering wheel is too far away (forward). By the time I move the seat forward enough to grasp the top of the wheel, my knees are buckeled under my chin. Is there any way to get the wheel back (closer to me) 2 or 3 inches? A spacer? Will a Prius wheel fit on a Yaris? My wife has a '09 Prius and that wheel would be much better although she may not want to trade. Anybody have an idea on how to resolve this issue? Am I the only one who is annoyed by the wheel to seat to peddles layout? Thanks.
 

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Half a Bubble Off Plumb
2009 Yaris Sedan
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138 Posts
I'm 6'3" and find the wheel uncomfortably distant when it's tilted up. It's much more comfortable if I drop it all the way down when driving. I have to tilt it all the way up to get in and out (and it's still tight on my leg.) It's gotten to be pretty much automatic to flip that wheel up and down.
 

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I have a new 2009 Yaris Sedan, and I also find the steering wheel to be much too far forward when my legs are comfortable. I'm 6', and if I adjust the seat so that my legs are comfortable and I'm also able to comfortably reach the steering wheel, then my head is pressed right into the car ceiling--I mean literally mashed into the roof of the car. So I have to recline slightly, which is how I've driven every car up until now anyway, but as I said the steering wheel is so far away that by the time I've driven 5 miles my shoulders are cramping terribly.

If I drop the steering wheel down so I can reach the top more comfortably, it's mashed right into my legs, with not even enough room to separate my legs a bit. This also renders me unable to operate the cluch since this requires being able to lift my leg up to work the clutch, and I can't even get it up high enough to clear the pedal unless I torture myself with what have to be strange yoga asthetics.

So I'm stuck sitting comfortably, but with tormentously cramped shoulders, which I think gets dangerous since this drops my reaction time considerably.

If I could get the steering wheel out closer to me, and if maybe the steering wheel were a bit smaller in diameter, I'm pretty sure I'd be happy as can be.

Any ideas?
 

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Half a Bubble Off Plumb
2009 Yaris Sedan
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138 Posts
Are you guys sure you have your seat bottoms lowered as far as they'll go? I'm a big guy and my legs are crowded, but I could work a clutch if I had one. (Mine's an AT.)
 

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My seat is as low as it can go, which isn't very low. If I reach down to the floor and touch the floorboard with my fingertips, placing my arm against the seat, the seat presses just below my elbow. That's about 1.5 feet! It's no wonder I'm mashed into the roof of the car! I'm wondering if there isn't a way to get the seats replaced with options that are closer to the floorboard. There is a slight tilt, however, allowing my bottom to be lower than my legs (at its lowest setting), but it's only maybe an inch and a half's difference.

Maybe it's really the seat that's the major design flaw in this model. Wonder if they were changed in the 2009 edition from what you've got? And I wonder if it's possible to get them replaced with something more sensible?
 

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Mine is a 2009. I'd like more room, too.
I'm guessing you've had your Yaris for about a month now. Have you found the comfort factor increasing slightly as the seat springs begin to break in? I was thinking that as the stiffness of the seat springs lessens, I'd eventually be able to sit a little straighter and get my head out of the roof of the car.

I looked at the seat assembly very carefully today, and I came to the conclusion that this seat was really designed for a larger car with more interior room. There's a solid two or three inches of wasted space beneath the driver seat. It would have been simple to design a seat with the same functionality that was lower to the floorboard just by designing a lower-set mounting frame.

I almost bought a hatchback, which was more comfortable to sit in, especially as it has a higher roof. But when I realized how little space there was in the back--not even enough space to set my XPS M1730 laptop carry backpack in upright--I broke down and decided I could get used to the cramped space of the sedan. However, that was before my shoulders started getting sore. A test drive is certainly nothing to be compared to actual life-use driving.

Another problem is that because I have to reach so far to access the distant steering wheel, I end up putting undue pressure on a pressure point under my arm, which causes the sinus tissues on the same side to swell up dramatically, to the point of extreme pain. I've known about these pressure points since adolescence, and I've used them all my life to relieve swelling and discomfort (they relieve swelling on the opposite side) related to my chronic allergies. But if you maintain pressure for too long, especially if that side is already swollen from antigens, then the discomfort becomes unbearable. Driving in this car triggers much sinus pain and drippage (as a result of condensation for lack of air flow in the left sinus).

I can't just switch arms because my right arm is about an inch and a half shorter due to a car accident in adolescence--and it's also weaker. I can drive comfortably with my right arm if I can hold the bottom of the steering wheel, but this is the very first car (out of about 20 cars) I've ever driven that doesn't have a space right at the bottom of the steering wheel to hold onto. There's this stupid bottom branch of the "Toyota T" there instead.

I could comfortably enough hold onto the left part of that Toyota T and drive, but it's part of the horn, and whenever I turn the car a little the horn goes off. Really, the steering wheel strikes me as the biggest problem. Toyota has turned a key component of ergonomics and safety into a marketing logo. A decisively bad move.

I'm going to see if I can have the steering wheel flipped upside down so the bottom of that that ridiculous Toyota T will be facing in the opposite direction, thereby giving me a place to hold onto the bottom of the steering wheel. This may make it easier for me to drive this thing until the seat springs wear in some. I'll be glad to pay for this. Since the display is in the middle of the car, the upside down bottom branch of the Toyota T won't obstruct any information.

Is someone at Toyota listening?
 

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Half a Bubble Off Plumb
2009 Yaris Sedan
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138 Posts
Steel springs won't "soften up" in normal use. They can take a set from being overstrained.

I've always found the seat comfortable to sit in, and the reason I lean it back a good bit is that I like to wear hats. If I sit up straight, my bare head almost touches the headliner. (If I had hair, it probably wouldn't clear.) The taller roof of the Echo was perfect, and I had plenty of head room even with a hat on. The Echo was more comfortable to drive and easier to climb in and out of than the Yaris sedan. I don't think its seat was lower, but the Yaris seat needs to be. I've adapted successfully to it, though, I'm not suffering.

I had to lean the seat back quite a bit farther to wear a hat in the Volvo 850 Turbo. I couldn't wear one at all in my dad's old Diesel Chevette.
 

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Well tomorrow I'll be taking my first long drive, about 300 miles. Lots of windy mountain roads, and some freeway travel. I'll report back to let you know how it went. Hopefully it won't be as uncomfortable as I've been fearing.

My '97 Geo Metro Sedan, though still drivable, has a bad rod in the #1 cylinder. I telecommute for my employer, and about every two to three months I spend a week or two at his place to catch up on work we can't cover long-distance. No longer able to use my Geo for distance travel, he had to send someone to pick me up this time. While here in Reno he decided to put a sizable down payment on a new car for me, and so I researched and decided the Yaris was the current closest relative to the Geo--designed around similar principles. We went to the Toyota dealership and walked the lot, and there was only one manual transmission Yaris there, and that was the Sedan. Thankfully it has the Convenience package, since I can listen to my MP3 discs of classical and other kinds of music.

They were going to transfer a 4 door hatchback to the lot for me, but I thought about how little storage space there was in those things over night and decided, as I mentioned before, on the sedan. I'll deal with the inconveniences for the sake of maintaining my principles of personal economics. Down the road I might get the seat replaced. I've never customized a car before because I've always been happy enough with the stock components, but this may be where I change that trend.

At the very least a smaller more out-stretched steering wheel is in order. And, hey, I'm now able to get out of my little town. I've been stuck clanking around my little backwater town of Ukiah with my bad cylinder for six full months now--minus two risky runs to Reno. So however much I might be tempted to complain, there's no question that my Gift Horse has teeth good enough to get me around again. My legs may just have to get a little chafed while I break her in.
 

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Half a Bubble Off Plumb
2009 Yaris Sedan
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138 Posts
I just tipped my seat back up a little. Makes the reach more comfortable. I still like the wheel all the way down. I can rest my forearms on my thighs and have good control.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
After putting 800 miles on my Yaris, I took a 6000 mile trip from Tucson AZ to Wisconsin... the long way. I shouldn't say it but I made a tool to help me drive in a relaxed possition. It was a 6" long 1" dowel with a hook on either end that extended out 4 inches. The divice was covered in duct tape. I hooked it at the botton of the wheel and I could move the seat all the way back and straiten out my legs and give my old knees a break. I know it wasn't smart to drive like that but I was I don't know if I could have spent 10 hour days driving with my knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
 

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im an even 5'5 and i found the clutch position kinda upwards like i had to lift my leg up to shift but that was just a test drive for a sub compact it really goes i think i scared the bajeasus out of the salesman when i hit 85 :lol:
 
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