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Old 10-30-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
littlecarlove
 
Drives: Want a Yaris
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New car shopping - long post

Hello all,

Man, I just got back from a great week. I went Yaris shopping! Woo-HOO!
The closest Toyota dealership is 45 minutes away, but they had only one Yaris sedan so I decided to make a trip to Lexington, KY where there are 4 area Toyota dealerships. My goal was to test drive both the manual and auto LBs.
To make a short story long, I didnít quite meet my goal. One dealership had no LBs or sedans, another had 2 sedans and one manual LB, the third had one LB for sale and no sedans, and the last had one of each. At the 3rd dealership they did have 2 of each model but they were part of some rental fleet and werenít available for test drives. I was bummed about that because they had manuals and autos for both the LBs and sedans.
In the end I ended up getting to drive a red manual LB at one dealership, a bright blue manual LB at another, and a silver auto sedan at yet another.
I did get to see about every color combination - the green sedan with the tan interior is SWEET! It was by far my favorite combo. I only wish it was available in the 2 door model. But as it turns out I liked the LB in just about every color - they look like little Easter eggs. I think a canary yellow would look awesome... except it probably would look a lot like a lemon with wheels.

The manual LB was surprisingly peppy. I zipped around a slow moving truck with no problems. I do finally understand everyoneís comments about the ďgrabbyĒ quality of the clutch. There doesnít seem to be an area where one can ease out the clutch. The gears are either engaged or theyíre not - very strange. However, I got used to the clutch rather quickly and by the second stoplight I didnít notice the quirkiness.
My sister and nephew joined me in Lexington and accompanied me to test drive the auto sedan. At every other dealership they allowed me to take the car out by myself, but the salesman had to ride along at this one. My sister and I are both normal sized people, my nephew is not fat but is still a big guy (6í4Ē 250lbs.) and our salesman was quite stout - Iím guessing 280-300lbs. Needless to say, the sedan was loaded down. The performance was not near as peppy as the manual LB. I did get a chance to overtake a car but needed much more room to do so. Iím not sure if this was due to the packed sedan or the auto transmission - or both, however Iím convinced that an auto LB with just me in it would perform much better. I should note that the automatic shifting was the smoothest of any car I have ever been in.

I then did a little comparison shopping. How did the Yaris stack up?

I drove an auto Chevy Cobalt - good-looking car. The pricing is comparable to the Yaris, but the ride, fuel economy, and value arenít. The Cobalt had more power (173 hp.) and gave a sportier ride. However, 23 mpg is pitiful these days for a 4 cylinder. On top of that Consumer Reports put the Cobalt on their Worst Car list due to itís terrible history of reliability. Scratch the Cobalt.

Next I drove a Hyundai Accent. Now I must say right off that in my opinion this car is the only real competition to the Yaris. The price is almost exact, but you can go even cheaper with a manual 2 door/no ac for under 12 grand and that INCLUDES tax and license. The styling is neither special or ugly. The 100,000 mile powertrain warranty is the longest in the industry, but this car really shines in the safety features. ABS is standard on all models as are side and curtain airbags - for a total of 10 airbags in this car! The 110 hp engine delivered a very similar ride to the Yaris but seemed to work awfully hard to do so. I drove a GLS model that had a tach (standard), ac, auto, a pretty good 6 speaker sound system w/ CD, and height adjustable seat (also standard). It was around $14,000 plus. For $1500 more you get power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, alarm, 16Ē alloy wheels, fog lights, leather covered steering wheel with aux controls, and a sunroof! Mpg is rated 28/36. Reliability ratings by Consumer Reports puts this car a little better than average. There is a lot of bang for the buck here. You could literally get all the bells and whistles and put this car on the road for $16 - 16,500 with a motivated salesman.

My next car was a Ford Focus. I drove the ZX3 SE model - 2 door,130 hp, manual. I have to say that this was the best ride of the bunch. It reminded me of my old Miata, very zippy with great handling. I was shocked to learn that the engine is made by Mazda - can you say zoom, zoom? Consumer Reports gives this car their seal of approval even though their own reliability ratings give it only an average score. The cost is is in the Yaris range but on the high side. The SE model did have ac and keyless entry for just over 15 grand plus. BUT the Focus fails for me mainly due to itís poor 24 mpg rating.

Finally, I drove the Honda Civic. My model was a manual LX, 140 hp. , steering wheel had aux controls, height adjustable driverís seat, and power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, ac, cruise control, 6 speaker sound system w/ CD - all for about $16,500 plus tax/license. Like the Accent this car has side and curtain airbags as well as ABS standard. Consumer Reports gives their seal of approval here too as well as their highest marks in their reliability ratings. This was also the most expensive car I drove. There is a DX version that has everything except power mirrors, keyless entry, ac, cruise control - not sure about the sound system - for 15 grand. Anyway, the ride wasnít as sporty as I thought it would be but it was adequate. The engine was on the loud side. The interior seemed cheap - a lot of plastic is expected on entry level cars but the inside of this one felt like it wouldnít hold up. The 28 mpg rating isnít going to break any records either. To get the features I want price knocked this car out of the running for me.

I didnít choose to drive the Honda Fit or the Nissan Versa because neither of these cars come in a 2 door version. I also didnít drive any Scions. Only the TC comes in a 2 door version but like the Honda Civic it climbed quickly out of my price range.

Why did I tell you all of this? Well, there might be some people here that havenít decided which car they want and there are options for people to look at when they are shopping for an entry level car. I think the Yaris is a GREAT automobile but it might not be for everyone.
By all means check out a Yaris BUT:
If fuel economy isnít a big concern and you are mainly looking for a sporty ride at this price level you should do yourself a favor and check out the Ford Focus too.
If you want the cheapest car you can buy with a lot of safety features and respectable mpgs you really should consider the Hyundai Accent.
OR if you have a few extra bucks to spend and want a car with a proven record of reliability and all the safety features I think you should take a look at the Honda Civic.
It canít hurt to see what else is out there and you will be more pleased with your purchase if you do your homework.

What did I finally choose? A YARIS BABY!! I plunked a couple of hundred bucks down as a deposit on an auto LB with the power package! I told the dealer I would take any color except black or white. Honestly, I donít care that much about the color. I just donít want black because they only look clean when they are just washed and I think white cars are harder for other divers to see.

Now Iím playing the waiting game.

The Hyundai Accent was tempting but only slightly so. For the same cash I spent on my Yaris there are more standard features in the GLS Accent - like center arm rests for driver and passenger, center console, tach, ABS and all those airbags. I also got the distinct feeling that the salesman was willing to offer some real savings too. If the reliability ratings were just a bit higher I might be searching for accentworld.com right now. :)

In the end it all came down to reliability and the costs to maintain and operate. Consumer Reports gives their recommendation to every single car in the Toyota line - no other car manufacturer comes close. I will admit that the Yaris and the FJ Cruiser were NOT eligible for consideration because they are first year models, but I figure that Toyota has proven that they know how to build reliable cars consistently. The Yaris also beats the pants off everyone else in fuel efficiency and the styling is, in my opinion, the most pleasing, funky, and futuristic of all the cars I saw.

My Yaris:

Color - ???
Auto
2 door LB
All-weather
guard package
Power package
w/ 15Ē steel wheels
Floor mats

Wait time...???

I already found a place that will do the leather interior for me. They are a little on the expensive side - $1250 - but they are THE place in town for car interiors. They will also do custom embroidery, stitching, or add an extra color of leather for just 50 bucks more.
Now all I need is directions to Violinís house to put in the sunroof, then Iíll tackle the performance mods!

Sorry for the LONG post, but it was a very full week!

Hays
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:58 PM   #2
ECHOKnight2000
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You should be a car reviewer...anyway great write up glad you picked Yaris or else
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:08 PM   #3
littlecarlove
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECHOKnight2000
You should be a car reviewer...anyway great write up glad you picked Yaris or else

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Old 10-31-2006, 02:23 AM   #4
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I have just finished reading the whole post .
Congratulations on your choice!
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:08 AM   #5
vodkalush
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how about a quick summary for the lazy.....
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:14 AM   #6
eTiMaGo
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yaris good!
all other cars too expensive/worse mileage/not reliable

there ya go, all that in two lines
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:21 AM   #7
littlecarlove
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eTiMaGo
yaris good!
all other cars too expensive/worse mileage/not reliable

there ya go, all that in two lines
Ha-ha, THANKS eTiMaGo... I do tend to be wordy.

Hays
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:41 AM   #8
fred812
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Not to be rude, ( great write up) but all of us are already fans and want a yaris period. You don't subscribe to a site called yaris WORLD because you think you like them. These things have a CULT following! Even children know about them. A 12 year old at the paperwork of her fathers new tundra, when asked if you had your choice of all the cars here what would you choose. She snapped back a YARIS, I'm getting a yaris! they have 1.5 liter engine that makes it quick and a lot of gas mileage. (out of the mouths of babes).
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:57 AM   #9
littlecarlove
 
Drives: Want a Yaris
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I know that most people here are already Yaris fans/owners, but I guess
this post was intended for those on the fence. I was one of those when
I joined. I came here looking for insight from owners. I liked the look of
the Yaris but wasnít willing to buy on looks alone. I also thought it might
be fun to personally compare the Yaris with what is out there. Now that
I have done it Iím an even BIGGER fan of the Yaris as well as a soon-to-be-owner!

Hays
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:59 AM   #10
eTiMaGo
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hahaha that's a cute story!
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:52 AM   #11
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I love the Yaris for the technology and design that went into them. High Tensile strenth steel, drive by wire, the 'pumpless" power steering, the rear suspension, the glove boxes, the cup holders under the vents, etc... Not to mention the thing is serious eye candy. I would LOVE a yellow Yaris LB. It would be the cutest car in the world! A couple of 4" black racing stripes, and you've got a "Killer Bee"! How friggin AWESOME would that bee???!!!
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vodkalush
how about a quick summary for the lazy.....

He got a Yaris...
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Old 10-31-2006, 06:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred812
Not to be rude, ( great write up) but all of us are already fans and want a yaris period. You don't subscribe to a site called yaris WORLD because you think you like them. These things have a CULT following! Even children know about them. A 12 year old at the paperwork of her fathers new tundra, when asked if you had your choice of all the cars here what would you choose. She snapped back a YARIS, I'm getting a yaris! they have 1.5 liter engine that makes it quick and a lot of gas mileage. (out of the mouths of babes).
You make a good point, fred. I have pretty much succumbed to Yaris fever and am about to make the leap, but in my "insecurity" or whatever, I wanted to hear how other buyers had rationally or otherwise come to their decision to buy a Yaris.
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Old 10-31-2006, 06:52 PM   #14
foober
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyYaris
You make a good point, fred. I have pretty much succumbed to Yaris fever and am about to make the leap, but in my "insecurity" or whatever, I wanted to hear how other buyers had rationally or otherwise come to their decision to buy a Yaris.
My main reason was the toyota reliability and long life of the car. Toyota just makes a solid well made car. Then I'd read that the echo which is basically the yaris except for improvements was the best built car in the world the last 10 years or so. They're well built and cost the least to maintain. Add in the great gas milage, Great looks. And it is very comfortable to sit in. Just very glad I got one. One of the first off the boat in April was mine.

As we all know. One glitch in the oil industry and gas will shoot up big time. There's a waiting list of 3 months now for the yaris from what I've read. If something odd happens with the oil industry that waiting list will shoot to the moon I'm guessing.

Last edited by foober; 11-01-2006 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 10-31-2006, 07:52 PM   #15
littlecarlove
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyYaris
You make a good point, fred. I have pretty much succumbed to Yaris fever and am about to make the leap, but in my "insecurity" or whatever, I wanted to hear how other buyers had rationally or otherwise come to their decision to buy a Yaris.
I think you should get out there and test drive the competition - it will
make you appreciate the Yaris that much more. If youíre like me
then reliability will play a major factor in your decision-making. Toyota
canít be beat right now, no matter how much you spend. The mpg the
Yaris gets doesnít hurt - neither does the styling!

Go ahead pull the trigger!

Hays
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:23 PM   #16
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Hi all,

Bought Yaris because of reliability, efficiency and engineering. May not be as good as others in some areas, but will still be a Yaris after 10 years(I plan to keep it).
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Old 11-01-2006, 01:24 AM   #17
Pars
 
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Congrats on your Yaris!

I got black, cause I didn't want to pay extra to get color coordinated side-view mirrors. It might not be painted, but it's still black.

Here in Toronto, White seems to be a rarity compared to all the other color (silver and black being the most common). At night, the white seems to be the most noticeable and best looking of the bunch (assuming side-mirror has matching color). If you have day-time running lights, I wouldn't worry about getting noticed, based on body color.
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecarlove
I think you should get out there and test drive the competition - it will
make you appreciate the Yaris that much more. If youíre like me
then reliability will play a major factor in your decision-making. Toyota
canít be beat right now, no matter how much you spend. The mpg the
Yaris gets doesnít hurt - neither does the styling!

Go ahead pull the trigger!

Hays
Amen! If testdriving other car makes you feel even better about the car you bought, you must have bought the right car!
I want to test drive a Versa or an Aveo now!
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