#5 – 2012(?) Toyota Yaris

Time for another edition of “Drive that rental car!”

2012 Yaris

Except I didn’t really drive it, I was just a passenger. Liability and all that, it wasn’t my rental. But I spent more than the usual 5 minutes in the car and there isn’t a whole lot of surprises so I’m declaring myself qualified enough to write about it.

As you’ve already seen from the title, this week we had a 2012 Yaris.

Actually, I’m looking this up and it might’ve been a 2011. They keytag from the rental place said 2012, but I don’t believe them.

When I think of the Yaris my mind immediately assumes hatchback, and therefore thinks either “Cute!” or “Awesome!” But it was the 4-Door sedan version. Boo.

From the back...

First impressions: It’s small. I like small cars, if I lived in a city I would want a small car. I just wish more cars were small but had some style and didn’t feel all plasticky like this poor Yaris did. I’m sure there are some out there, I just haven’t gotten to them yet.

Wait, I'm supposed to manually adjust my mirrors?
Manual mirror adjustments…haven’t seen that in awhile.

Knobs and stuff.

No, not that kind of shifter, anything but that!
Have I mentioned yet how much I dislike these? And yes, D and 3 are a side-to-side shift, not front-to-back.

I imagine someone, somewhere likes how simple this wheel is...
Most simple steering wheel ever…

iPod! And...sticky traction control.
Gratuitous “ew, why is my rental car sticky” picture.

I did like how the dash was in the center. I was informed that apparently they use this car on both sides of the pond (and maybe the Japanese side too? I don’t know) and this made it easier to build a car in both LHD and RHD configurations. (Maybe? Looking for references on this.)

radio, gauges, etc.

(I’m just going to put a quick disclaimer here. I’m on migraine medicine while writing this. It’s fun. But if this review is a little incoherent, blame the drugs. I’m actually pondering how I can use this to my advantage. Something like My Drunk Kitchen. My Triptan-Addled-Brain Car Reviews? Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? I’ll keep working on it. Also, all pictures were taken with my usually cooperative phone, but the Yaris apparently needed to be overexposed so they aren’t the best.)

So as a passenger, I could easily see the speedometer, tach, gas gauge, etc. This was cool, because one of the things that bothers me most being a passenger in a car is not being able to watch all the needles. Yes, I know I’m weird. It was also easy to read, no complaints. I’ve been told it is not so ideal from the driver’s standpoint, the information you need is not right in your view so it tends to be ignored. Also the woman at the car rental place said that it was really strange at night, it’s not normal to have your field of view be so dark.

Up close, can you feel the excitement?

In case you haven’t noticed, the location of the gauges was the most novel part of this car. And it’s a shame, because apparently for 2012 they changed it to a more traditional layout, thus removing one of the few things that made this car stand out in my mind. (This is why I don’t believe the keytag when it says it was a 2012 model. Also apparently for 2012, the Yaris only came in 2-door and 4-door hatchbacks, no sedan styling.)

Anyway. The seats. Gah. I know, it’s a cheap car, and some people want that, but I think they just grabbed flat pieces of foam and glued them in and said “Here! Sit!” I hope, for the sake of people that own this car, that it molds to their butt after awhile. I also could not adjust the back part of the seat so that it would be comfortable. Again, hopefully that would break in after awhile.

Those non-ergonomic flat foam pieces were also strangely placed. I’m all of 5’2”, but the seats were uncomfortably high with no height adjustment option. Is this some compromise for those people who enjoy being up high while driving (like they would be in an SUV)? My 5’10” boyfriend was almost hitting his head on the ceiling. Crazy.

But it wasn’t horrible. Even after all of this, I still liked the smallness. If I drove only in cities for short trips it wouldn’t be bad. I know Toyota has had some issues lately, but I’m under the impression that they still have a reputation for being reliable and this seems like a good, cheap car that wouldn’t drink fuel or rack up the repair costs.

Also, if you did get it for city driving but still had to take it out on the highway, it’s surprisingly not horrible. Sure it’s not fast, but it had some punch to it. (Surprising for a 1.5L, 4 cylinder, 4-speed(!) car.) I would’ve felt comfortable merging into traffic with it.

Here, have a silly short video of the Yaris making some noise as it merges with all the scary traffic at rush hour:

What else…Oh, the back seat was nice. I would argue that it was significantly more comfortable than the front seats, and legroom was surprising for such a tiny car.

Surprising legroom

And lastly, cupholders. Cupholders everywhere, hidden away so as to conserve space when you did not have a beverage, but hold your drink snugly when you did. They’re like the murphy beds of cupholders. Two thumbs up for drink containment.

This bottle isn't going anywhere

Now you see it..

Now you don't!

So in conclusion, I rate this car a solid: “OK”. Exterior styling was nothing to write home about, it’s a 4-door car, yippie. Interior was the same, uninspiring but not bad. And um. I really don’t have anything else to say. It was just that kind of car. Anyone have any recommendations for small, economical cars that won’t immediately fade from my memory?

(I just wanted to check some things on Wikipedia before I published this review, and wow, ok. Apparently the internet at large agrees with me on this car in that no one ever took the time to add more than minimal details about this model. Just not worth their time? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Yaris)

One thought on “#5 – 2012(?) Toyota Yaris

  1. Within the last few days, I got my first look at the dashboard of a Beemer Mini Cooper. Its speedometer was in the center of the dash (which was not the case with the original Minis that I have seen), and the tachometer occupied the spot in which I would have expected to see the speedometer.

    I’m far from sure that it’s a Good Thing for the passenger to be made so aware of the speed. It may cause operators to be more cautious, but it may also cause them to be drawn into distracting discourse.

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