8. July 2013
“I didn’t know that they made cars with crank windows anymore.”
So a friend of mine said to me in the context of the 2013 Toyota Yaris 3 Door.
Yes, 2013. Toyota.
That’s all true.
And remarkable. Not necessarily good or bad. But worth talking about. Because it is so unusual.
My friend, incidentally, drives a different car every week, so it’s not like he doesn’t have a wide-ranging understanding of the state of contemporary automotive technology.
Like many cars, the Yaris operates with a key. But unlike many cars, the Yaris unlocks with a key. Not a fob. You insert the key in the slot in the door and turn. I had to remind myself: “Left, lock; right, release.”
Now, maybe it’s just that we’re getting spoiled here in America. Maybe it is an issue of certainly not understanding what costs what. Like power windows and keyfobs. The base MSRP for the Yaris 3 Door is $15,095. The car I drove had a handful of options: mats, $180; cargo net, $49; rear spoiler, $329; first aid kit, $29. Add the destination and handling ($795) and lo and behold you are at $16,477.
According to TrueCar, the average transaction price for a car in the U.S. in June was $31,125—almost twice the sticker for that Yaris.
I’m guessing that most of those other cars had the aforementioned amenities.
And speaking of June and sales, according to Toyota, it sold 747 Yaris models in the month of June. That’s fewer than any other Toyota-brand car. (It sold fewer Land Cruisers, 259, but the base MSRP for a Land Cruiser is $78,555, or the price of five Yarises.)
Looking for that little switch to adjust the side-view mirrors? Keep looking.
(Higher trim levels have the goods. But this one doesn’t.)
About the $329 for the spoiler. Sure, it may make the arc-shaped hatch seem a little—what?—jauntier, but when you have a 1.5-liter, 106-hp engine matched up to a four-speed automatic, you’re not exactly in the sport performance zone.
Clearly, this is a car for reliable transportation. Period. So I checked with the experts on reliability, Consumer Reports, and was surprised to discover: “We do not have enough data to predict reliability.” Oops.
Still, CR criticizes the car’s interior as having “hard, cheap-looking plastic” components, and while the plastics are certainly hard, it is my assessment that the plastics actually look like what they are, not grained to appear as though they are something they aren’t, so I give almost full points on that score (with the Honda Fit being the car that uses plastics and plastics better than any car in this category).
I drove the car on the freeway and (1) didn’t feel as though the engine was going to explode from excessively high speeds (I did drive the limit, 70 mph), nor (2) that I was in a tiny car that was going to be a smudge on the grille of a Mack. That said, I did find driving around town to be much more comfortable, both from the standpoint of fuel efficiency (I was in the 33-34 mpg range) and parking (it is only 153.5 in. long, so it allows parallel parking even if you’re not versed in parallel parking).
The base MSRP for a Corolla, according to Toyota.com, is $16,230. I think that if I was looking, I’d try to scrape up the additional $1,200. It has all of that stuff that the Yaris doesn’t.
Engine: 1.5 liter DOHC, I4
Horsepower: 106 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 103 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 98.8 in.
Length: 153.5 in.
Width: 66.7 in.
Height: 59.4 in.
EPA: 30/35/32 city/highway/combined mpg