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Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, smart fortwo, MINI Cooper
#7409 of 9848 My Yaris Hatchback Experience
Mar 26, 2008 (1:01 pm)
As you regular readers know, I have quite a collection of cars from the extreme exotic car end of the spectrum, Ferrari F50 & Bugatti Veyron to the opposite extreme 2008 Yaris Hatchback S.
I must say that I'm truly shocked at just how much I am enjoying the Yaris. I originally bought it for my daughter, who just had to have what she described as "this cute little red car". Well like most young people that lasted about 3 days until she rode in her girlfriends Saturn Sky. So the following weekend we went down and bought one of those for her.
Now I must admit that I have always loved small 2 dr hatchbacks and other small sporty cars. But I already have my 2006 Mini Cooper S with a serious amount of horsepower and all the John Cooper hop up parts, suspension, body kit etc. So my plan B was to sell the Yaris to a friend who wanted it as a commuter car.
Well, while driving it to his house across town (30 miles) I found that I really liked the high seating position, the funky look, the center stack dash with tachometer and speedometer, the overall simplicity and the fact that my daughter and I both love the color Red, which is the color of this Yaris.
Thus being the complete hopeless car addict I am, I whipped out my cell phone, called my friend and said that I changed my mind and was going to keep the car "at least for a little while". A little while turned into six months yesterday and I find myself zipping all around in this car. Perhaps its the fact that unlike my other daily drivers like my M6, I can simply park this and forget about worrying about door dings. Or always finding "just the right spot to park it far out" or looking for an "end spot in the lot. Or perhaps it's the performance that is so compelling. It's no Mini Cooper S, but it does have great off throttle response, great 0 to 50 performance for a tiny 1.5 liter engine. And the handling isn't half bad either. In fact I have a friend that has a 2007 Yaris Hatch, and I can tell you that Toyota made quite a few tweaks to the 2008 version. After exchanging cars, he and I both agreed that the 2008 is much stiffer around corners and while it still has some body lean, it's nothing compared to the 2007. The chassis feels stiffer and the steering more responsive. Finally the brake pedal is much more firm and does not have the semi mushy feel of the 2007. This was a very fair comparison as well, as his car only had 4,000 miles on it since it's used as a commuter to his office just 3 miles from his residence.
Being another BMW owner, and having done several track days with his M3, over the last 2 years, we were both quite surprised at the value in this "entry level" car. Even the Yaris's sport seats offered a decent amount of support for what they are. Of course this is no sports car, but conversely it certainly does not drive the way one would expect of an entry level car. The car has a bit of character (Very rare for a Toyota) and charm, the funky look is growing on me.
Overall I would suggest this car to anyone who wants the legendary low maintenance cost of a Toyota, combined into a car that is quite fun to drive. In fact I have decided to turn this into a "Keeper" by installing some nice 18" wheels and tires and use it just for a fun car.
#7410 of 9848 Re: My Yaris Hatchback Experience [podred]
Mar 26, 2008 (1:56 pm)
I like the Yaris also, but that 3 star side impact rating keeps me away. The Corolla gives you a 5 star side impact rating.
#7411 of 9848 Re: 2009 Honda Fit [kyfdx]
Mar 26, 2008 (4:57 pm)
Toyota's biggest problem with the Yaris, is that they didn't bring over the much more useful 4-door hatchback... Scion had the nearly identical xA, so I guess they didn't want the overlap..
I saw a Yaris 5 door overseas and the Scion xD IS a Yaris 5 door with most things the same except it has the Corolla engine and a different dash, same mechanicals, different body style.
The 5 door Yaris is an ugly bugly compared to the 3 door. I like the xD much better, too bad they can't put the xD engine into the Honda Fit!
#7412 of 9848 Re: Hmhhh [british_rover]
Mar 26, 2008 (5:24 pm)
have you seen any yet? i have seen the ZAP that has been around town for a few years. other than that, i saw 1 when i was getting onto the ramp to I-84 west near the capitol, one day. the local dealer across the river has a bunch on their lot.
#7413 of 9848 Re: 2009 Honda Fit [thegraduate]
Mar 26, 2008 (5:35 pm)
The cheapest Corolla has an MSRP over $15k. The XR-S model I priced didn't have leather, but cost over $25k. I'll just take a V6 Altima over that one, thankyouverymuch.
If (and that's a big "IF") I decide to get a new car, the Altima is pretty high on my list, although I'd probably just do the 4-cyl. My Mom & stepdad recently bought an '08 4-cyl model with leather and a sunroof, and I think it was only like $24K, out the door.
I sat in the '09 Corolla at the auto show, and didn't find it to be any more roomy or comfy than the previous generation. Still not enough legroom for my tastes. Nice little car otherwise though. I like the new styling, which definitely seems upscale.
#7414 of 9848 Re: 2009 Honda Fit [andre1969]
Mar 26, 2008 (6:08 pm)
I narrowed my new car choice to the new 09 Corolla or the 08 Altima. After waiting to see the new Corolla, and finding out that you couldn/'t get bluetooth and NAV together (and other option limitations), as well as the inside almost the same as previous Corollas, I began looking at other autos.
I looked at the Jetta, but again, no bluetooth, no leather available, etc., so Jetta was out. Considered the Passat, but it was 3-4K higher than a comparable Altima. I kept looking, but each time I came back to the 2.5SL
Drove the Altima with CVT and fell in love with it.
My daughter has an 05 Corolla and loves it, and its been a great car. However, Toyota appears to be adapting GM's marketing philosophies, and refuses to offer many options on the Corolla, hoping the buyer will move up to the Camry.
And, the cost of the Corolla has gone up quite a bit. I still think the Corolla is a good car, but I think Toyota is making a mistake by limiting the Corolla's options and features.
#7415 of 9848 Re: 2009 Honda Fit [busiris]
Mar 27, 2008 (5:22 am)
I think Toyota is expecting people who want customization to go to Scion, relieving them of having to do much in the way of options on Corolla or Yaris. Remember, you can get Nav on the xD too. Of course, that's got even LESS legroom...
Personally I'm looking at the Elantra (either the SE or the upcoming Touring) because I insist on getting ESC....which eliminates Sentra, Altima, the current Fit, Civic, Spectra, Rio, Accent, Aveo, tC....did I miss anyone? Probably lots more
THAT'S the big problem with a lot of smaller/cheaper cars, is lack of safety equipment, and these smaller cars need them more, too. Let's see, Traction and Stability are available on...
Corolla (and hence Matrix)
Cobalt (but why would anyone buy one?)
Not a whole lot else...I don't bother looking into anything Chrysler anymore.
#7417 of 9848 Re: 4 Door Yaris Hatchback [plekto]
Mar 27, 2008 (5:17 pm)
So they stuffed the Corolla engine in a Yaris, stuck 17" alloys on it, and called it the TS, huh?
Sign me up. I hate the looks of the xD.
#7418 of 9848 Re: 4 Door Yaris Hatchback [plekto]
Mar 27, 2008 (5:33 pm)
Well pretty much only the body style is different. It's a 5 door yaris but stretched longer than he 3 door. They sell a lot of them but it's still a Yaris which isn't a bad thing. No idea what engine it has in it. The xD has the corolla engine. No idea about the 5 door yaris.