2009 Toyota Yaris

The Yaris is Toyota’s attempt to get the key “I can’t afford a real car” demographic. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a fun car that will get you from Point A to Point B and do it without annoying you more than absolutely necessary.yaris.jpg

Our test vehicle was the three-door hatchback model, but we’d spring for the five-door. The extra grand gets you a second set of doors and makes the rear seats accessible; the increase in trunk space (seats up or down) makes it a legitimate weekend hauler, so long as you’re toting small dogs or a few cases of beer back to your frat house and not, as the Generalissimo is apt to do, lug fifty gallon drums of God-knows-what to his “bunker

He also complained that the suspension wouldn’t take the weight of a fifty-caliber machine gun, the mount, and enough ammunition to play twenty-questions with a band of Somali pirates. He also didn’t appreciate the vibration coming from the exhaust pipe under hard acceleration. I’d agree with that last part, though it’s entirely possible that was the poor car’s way of begging the sunglassed one for mercy.

“It’s cute!” he yelled at one point. “Like a horny Labrador eating a pie!”

“Um…” Yeah, we try not to ask questions when he’s like that.

The interior is what you’d expect in a car with a base price of $12,205. Think plastic. Think cheap plastic. Think ten-year-old television casing plastic, surrounded by seats whose fabric wouldn’t be out of place in a doctor’s waiting room.

Headroom is good front and back, but rear legroom is much better in the five-door hatchback and four-door sedan models. The steering position is good, and with its low weight, compact packaging, and good turning radius, makes for a peppy little car that pleases and offends in such small quantities as to make it completely benign.

If you don’t care about what you drive, if gas mileage matters, and if you spend money only when you absolutely have to, the Toyota Yaris might be for you.

“Let’s test the airbags!” he cried near the end of our trip. Take a wild guess how close to the end…


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