ERNIE SZOTS'S2007 Toyota Yaris2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 5M)

Ernie Szots's 2007 Toyota Yaris 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 5M)
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2007 Toyota Yaris

2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 5M)



Vehicle Summary

Modified base model, 2007 Toyota Yaris hatchback with California Convenience Package in black sand pearl.

Horsepower106 HP
Torque103 LB-FT
Curb Weight2293 LB
Engine Size1.5 L
Transmission TypeManual
MPG (City/Highway)32 MPG

The Story

1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? Back in 2007, just a few weeks after paying it off, I totalled my Honda Civic. Wanting a new car under warranty to commute to work with, but not wanting to break the bank, I purchased this base model Toyota Yaris hatchback from a Toyota dealership in South Orange County, CA. From a looks perspective, the Yaris reminded me a little of the Peugeot 206, which I was fond of from my experience with them when traveling to Europe for work back in 2003. 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? I like mods that make people question whether or not they're factory options, so none of my mods are that far out. More of an aggressive OEM look, although more recent mods have taken me away from that a bit. I started with aftermarket power windows and door locks. Negotiated them as part of the purchase and they were installed by a car audio shop the dealership had a relationship with. Within three months of buying it, the first set of wheels and tires went on, since replaced with my current set of Enkei RPF1's. Next was a few accessory additions followed by the Tein S Tech springs. More recently I finished the audio system and installed a set of sparco R100 tuner seats. 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? This is a tough call but I'd narrow it down to either my Tein S. Tech springs, or Pioneer touchscreen head unit. The springs lowered the car about 2" and provided a huge external visual impact, but the Pioneer touchscreen gave me a ton of interior convenience, which is where we spend the bulk of our time in a car. Coincidentally, they both cost me around the same amount of money. 4. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? The Yaris forum was and continues to be a great resource. 5. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? The biggest challenge with my car has been keeping it looking as clean as it does after 10 years. Things people don't really see, like having a variety of body parts repainted, a couple color sand/buff jobs, and more carwashes than my wallet cares to remember! 6. What are you planning next? Now that the audio system and bucket seats ares in, my short list includes eyelids for the headlights and possibly a body kit, or just front bumper lip. Farther down the road, perhaps after getting a new car, I'd like to swap the stock 1.5L 1NZFE engine for the 1.8L 2ZRFE engine that came in the Toyota Corolla and Scion xB of the same generation. It's a relatively easy swap that mates to the Yaris factory transmission for a 30 horsepower and torque gain without significant weight gain. I don't track the car, but can see myself enjoying the added power and uniqueness that swap would provide.

Comments (40)
11 here now

[]Ben Sampson

Fantastic job, great look!!!

[]Ernie Szots

Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated!

[]Ben Sampson

No problem brother, you went where most people wouldn’t and knocked it out the park!!!

[]Craig Moody

Do the swap!

[]Ernie Szots

That's the longer term plan. I think it would make it so much more of a fun daily. We'll see what happens.

[]Craig Moody

Maybe so. If you re gonna still daily it the 1nz is just fine for what it is. The 2zr is alotta money used for no reason at that point

[]Ernie Szots

Well, I don't commute for work, so the car is basically a toy. Something about doing the swap super clean so it looks factory and just enjoying the added power and torque when driving around sounds awesome to me. Call me crazy, I guess lol.

[]Craig Moody


[]Ricky Macdonald

liken this build man looks good

[]Ernie Szots

Thank you! Hoping to get some Sparco R100 seats in before Toyotafest next month.

[]Ricky Macdonald

I have some sparcos they are great

[]Ernie Szots

Just waiting on the Irvine location to receive a new shipment, which they claim is on the water and on it's way to them, so I can go check them out in person. If they fit and feel good, I'm getting them.

[]Ricky Macdonald

mint yairs are pretty sweet they look good all stanced

[]Joshua C.

That is a clean XP90..

[]Ernie Szots

Thanks! You've had quite the fleet of rides yourself. I liked several of them from the rides page before realizing they all belonged to you lol.

[]Joshua C.

Yeah - I have a passion or an addiction not sure which lol

[]Tom Armstrong

VERY NICE. I love the RPF1's, car looks great!

[]Ernie Szots

Thanks, brotha!

[]Liam Page

Ayyyy, good see other putting work into their econoboxes. Nice ride man, tastefully modded!

[]Ernie Szots

Hey, thanks for the kind words! Tasteful mods is exactly what I was going for. Econoboxes for the win!

[]James Bagguley

Vader helmet is an epic description! Sitting real pretty, a swap would compliment things nicely.

[]Ernie Szots

Ha, thank you! Vader helmet aka Bullet Bill lol. I'd love to eventually get to that swap.

[]James Bagguley

Sure you'll get there bud, forgive my ignorance and spamming your page here, but is it a straight bolt in affair?

[]Ernie Szots

Not spamming at all; that's what all this is for. To the contrary, I appreciate your interest. The swap is basically straight forward. The 1.8L, 2ZRFE engine (typically sourced from Corollas or Scion xB's of the same generation) mates to the OEM Yaris transmission. Some basic harness splicing is needed and one, or two, of the Corolla/xB engine mounts are used, but for the most part it is a straight bolt in affair. There's a gent on that swapped his sedan in his driveway over a weekend and had his first track day with it recently. It's an immediate 30 bhp increase with virtually no weight gain. The most impressive one I've seen so far belongs to Tom Armstrong. You can find his Yaris sedan here on Wheelwell and his YouTube vids on it are interesting, too.

[]James Bagguley

Awesome! Appreciate the detail of your reply too man, 30 hp out of the box is not to be sneezed at in a light car. Gotta get looking around on here.

[]Deanry Dupit

Haha, I bought my Yaris to replace my EG Civic hatch similar to your story. Only that my civic was stolen and stripped leaving me stranded. Nice work!

[]Ernie Szots

Thanks, and funny coincidence! Another is that I've had my eye on the Focus RS since learning they were coming stateside. Yours is a glorious example.

[]Deanry Dupit

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. Sometimes I fantasize building a Rally Yaris. I'm sure it'll still get 32mpg without trying just like stock.

[]Ernie Szots

Rally Yaris would be sweet! There are some interesting builds on the Yaris forum, Some include off-road Yaris' and even an amazing dump truck/snow plow Yaris. Some folks have talked about building a rally Yaris and even added some light bars, but I don't recall seeing a fully fleshed out one yet. Some folks are following the official Toyota rally Yaris, which is Toyota's return to rally after some number of years.

[]Deanry Dupit

I've see that official one you are referring to and that is exactly what i was thinking of!

[]Ryan GTT

Nice Machines! DAT MPG dough!

[]Ernie Szots

Thanks! Can't complain about MPG, that's for sure lol. Having said that, it's fascinating how the tech is catching up. My sister's boyfriend just bought a 2017 Chevy Silverado and they claim 25 MPG from it's 5.3 liter engine!

[]Ryan GTT

Truly I only care about HP to Weight LOL see for context ;)

[]Ernie Szots

No doubt lol. I checked out your channel after you posted the Ferrari vid. As I commented on the post, the Griswold edit was brilliant.

[]Ryan GTT

Right! Silly me, well I just saw a sweet Tiny Toyota I want to swap a 3S-GTE into, so "We meet again". Keep checking in, hoping to snag a Yaris soon.

[]Ernie Szots

No doubt, will do!

[]Nate Beyer

32mpg!!! Wow! A little better than 77 Monte's 6mpg. Thanks for the comment and like on it btw...

[]Ernie Szots

32 mpg - 106 hp LOL! Far cry from the 500 you're working with. No problem for the comment/like; your car is gorgeous.

[]David Katrandzhyan

I love what you did whith this yaris. Nice 1.

[]Ernie Szots

Thank you, David! I appreciate the kind words.

Ernie Szots7 days ago

My mobile detail guy came through this week to really put the shine on the Vader helmet. It didn't look it's best coming out of the body shop. Snapped a couple pics because as we all know, pics are fun. #TeamWheelwell #ForTheBuild

[]Chris Martinez

Oooo shiny

Ernie Szots52 days ago

So, this happened last night... Drove out to Palos Verdes Estates to visit a friend and his neighbor backed into my car while pulling out of his garage. Said he didn't see it because it's black. It definitely put a damper on our hang session, but i'm trying to be positive about it by thinking about how no one was hurt, the damage isn't terrible and at least the brain surgeon had the decency to come knock on my


[]Craig Moody

So borrow my white yari?

[]Ernie Szots

Ha, that would be fun but thankfully, they're providing a rental.

Ernie Szots113 days ago

Made a trip down to Sparco today. Picked up a few necessary pieces for my next mod... #Sparco #TeamWheelwell #ForTheBuild


[]Sebastian Nounou

Aaaaye, can’t go wrong there....

[]Wilson Oberholzer

I don't think I could ever go to a high performance automotive parts store like that. Id end up going broke, lol. What did you get while you were there?

[]Ernie Szots

Man, you said it. There were quite a few goodies on display. I picked up left and right seat brackets specific to my car, along with a couple sliders and all necessary hardware. If all goes as planned, I should have some new Sparco R100 Tuner seats in very soon.

Ernie Szots142 days ago

For regular maintenance 😁🔧 Just in time for Toyotafest, coincidentally.


[]Tom Armstrong

Glad to see you at the Dealer, what did ya get done?

[]Ernie Szots

Intermediate service, MAF sensor cleaning, cabin air filter and injection cleaning/flush were the recommendations this time. I like the dealer for regular maintenance but would have taken it to an independent shop for any bigger repairs. Dealer rates on labor seem a bit excessive.

[]Tom Armstrong

Depends on where you go. A shop with REAL certified master techs will charge just as much since they have to pay the guys more

[]Ernie Szots

Fair enough however, I've found several highly rated (Yelp) shops that seem to do quality work for nearly half the labor. For example, this same Toyota dealership wanted around $900 to do my water pump. One of the local shops did it for $400 and offered a better warranty. Certified master tech or not, I don't think anyone would agree that $900 is fair for a water pump job on a Yaris. I'd watch a YouTube video and try doing it myself before paying that. Some of my wrench turning friends thought $400 was too much!

[]Tom Armstrong

Holy crap $900?! I can do it in an hour and the one pump was $60

[]Ernie Szots

There you go lol. So again, I HIGHLY respect guys like you that really know their stuff, but my feeling is the dealership rapes and that money doesn't always see it's way down the line.

[]Tom Armstrong

That’s true, they do everything possible to pay us the least as possible

Ernie Szots166 days ago

Still waiting for a shipment of Sparco seats to arrive but in the meantime, this little touch is ready to go...

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