There are many things in my daily life that absolutely require a bit of green: groceries and fuel - both the vehicular and Chai tea varieties - top my list. I do what I can to cut costs. I hunt for deals at the grocery store, I try to limit unnecessary driving and I cut back on my Starbucks visits. Well, I haven't really done that last thing on my list, but I have thought about it, and it is the thought that counts (at least that's what I keep telling myself). One additional way I've been able to save over the past two weeks is by driving the 2007 Toyota Yaris, Toyota's Energizer bunny of a car. With EPA-estimated gas mileage of 34 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, I've been toting around town for weeks and still have three-quarters of a tank of gas left. It just keeps on going and going and going...
I'm sure you're wondering what a Yaris is and why you haven't heard of it before. The Yaris is Toyota's newest entry into the subcompact division here in the states, although it's been quite popular in both Europe and Japan over the past few years. It's a very European-esque vehicle. I mean that in the most simplistic, economical terms (like French bread and cheese for lunch), not in the shi-shi-poo-poo European manner (like escargot and sweetbreads).
In today's world of upgrades, options and extras, relatively speaking, the Yaris is just one step up, evolutionarily, from the Flintstones' car. Although the inside of the vehicle is fairly nice and not bad aesthetically, I would have to pay extra for such modern conveniences as antilock brakes, power windows and locks, side airbags, folding rear seats (in the sedan), and a rear windshield wiper (in the hatchback).
It's the Yaris' uber-affordable price tag that has me overlooking many features that would otherwise be required equipment for me. The hatchback version starts at just $10,950, while the sedan begins at a whopping $11,825. Who knew it was even possible to buy a brand-pking-new car in the 21st century for as little as $10,000? In a world full of luxury vehicles costing more than my college education, the Yaris is suddenly looking very appealing. After all, I have two young daughters not yet in elementary school, yet I already feel behind in saving for their college tuition.
Price aside, the Yaris is a goofy little car that I have to admit is fun to tool around in - for short trips and errands. Anything much longer than that has me yearning for an automatic transmission. The simple interior has everything you need and nothing extra. The digital fuel gauge takes some getting used to. Somehow it's easier to trust a little dial showing me how much gas I have left than a computer-generated digital one. Call me antiquated. However, in the midst of a very hectic summer with the kids home, I appreciate functional simplicity wherever I can get it. In this case, it's the radio and thermostat controls. The cupholder that folds down from the left side of the steering wheel is a bit awkward, but it works nonetheless.
Driving enthusiasts would boast that the bucket-style seats in the Yaris help the driver feel kinesthetically connected to the road - I say they just feel good. Car seats and booster seats fit snuggly in the backseat of the Yaris, and install simply. The cloth upholstery feels very thin, however, a little like those "fabric" swatches that used to Velcro to the back of airplane seats to keep passengers from sharing head germs. It has me worried that a stray shoe buckle might just cause a little tear.
In doing my research for this review, I decided to take to the streets, or the internet highway, anyhow, and listen in on what actual owners of the Yaris think. Across the board, Yaris owners seem to love the fuel mileage, the Toyota reliability and the simple yet modern styling. All in all a great choice for the young and budget-strapped sector. I may even point my 20-year-old brother toward it.
*For more information on the Toyota Yaris and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair - Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some- Good Times
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||May 26, 2006|
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||March 2, 2006|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||March 21, 2007|
|Bob Golfen||AZCentral.com||February 21, 2007|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||October 13, 2006|
|Kristin Varela||Mother Proof||July 6, 2006|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||June 15, 2006|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||June 11, 2006|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||June 7, 2006|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||May 14, 2006|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||March 5, 2006|
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