Toyota Yaris Sedan Review

On the day the Toyota Yaris sedan was scheduled for delivery, I braced my self for an adventure in minicar-land. My last seat time in a Yaris was in the three-door hatchback (which resembles a rollerskate), and that's about the only Yari found roaming the streets in my neighborhood.

But when the four-door Yaris arrived it was a revelation: This is what we used to call a Corolla.

We probably won't see much more of it, but we've been living with "mission creep" for the last decade or more. Car manufacturers keep taking the cars up the ladder of size and luxury until humble Camrys are the size of Avalons, Corollas become what Camrys were and Yari (at least the 4-door sedan variety) take the place of the Corolla.

Which means the Avalon is probably somewhere between an E-Class and an S-Class these days.

Point is, the 4-door Yaris is actually a quite good conventional compact sedan. There's no sense of cutting-edge this or outside the box that (apart from that center-mounted speedometer, which mainly keeps costs low in building both left-hand and right-hand drive models).

Four people fit comfortably, it moves well and is reasonably quiet (considerably quieter than the more expensive Matrix). $13,765 gets you a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine, with a four-speed automatic transmission (five-speed manuals are available for less money), air conditioning, an "audio prep package" and the usual basics.

The test vehicle added $1500 to that for the Power Package (power door locks, power windows, power outside mirrors, a fold-down 60/40 rear seat, an AM/FM/CD/mp3 player with iPod jack, curise control, nicer interior trim, a rear window defroster and an upgrade to 15 inch wheels (14s are standard) with full wheel covers.

$150 worth of floor mats and cargo mats, $359 for a security system, $230 for remote keyless entry and $720 for delivery and the bottom line is:



Now the problem here is that for that money, you could probably step up to the Corolla or a Honda Civic. So why buy the Yaris?

Two reasons. One: Fuel economy (the EPA says 29 city, 35 highway). Two: Ratchet back the options list (blow your kids' minds by showing them manual window cranks) and you can get a basic but decently-equipped Yaris for $14,000 or so.

Truth is, there's a lot of competition at this price point and the Yaris is far from the hands-down winner. But if you're excluding it because you think it's too small, you should definitely test-drive the four-door.