$18,871.00…That's the sticker on our 2010 Barcelona red metal Yaris model "S" sedan tester.
You have to agree that's a lot of Happy Meals at McDonald's for a small economy car that won't break down.
Now don't get us wrong. The Yaris doesn't feel, drive, or even look cheap. You certainly get what you pay for but in this rapidly expanding segment almost $19K will now get you the new 2011 Ford Fiesta with all of the bells and whistles including stitched leather which is not available on the Yaris.
BTW: You can check out the Fiesta HERE as we drive it first.
For almost $19K you can also get a Honda Fit (albeit the hatchback) which has more usable room and even comes with paddle shifters. You'll soon be able to get a new top of the line Mazda 2 for that same amount, and even have money left over for a gently used dirt bike.
And don't even get us started on the larger "C" segment cars that can be had for $19K and we don't even dare mention the 2011 very base Nissan Versa…which (next year) will still go out the door for under 10K.
To be sure the base price of our test Yaris is a much more reasonable $14,165., but that's without many of the comfort features that we all take for granted these days including fold flat rear seats, remote keyless entry and power door locks.
OK, enough whining about the sticker price.
Basically the Yaris is a fine car that will server you well as a daily driver.
It gets a very frugal 31 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Four tallish adults fit in the car in comfort, and you can even get a fifth person in the back of the car without feeling like you're putting them in the penalty box.
In fact, we suspect that in Europe the Yaris would be considered a roomy family sedan, but unfortunately not in America where Ford F-150s still roam free.
One thing that we did not cotton was the center stack dashboard. Especially at night it's just plain weird and uncomfortable to look straight ahead and look down to check the speed and see a huge black hole where the dash should be.
Also night does seem to bring out the economy car in the Yaris when you notice odd cost-cutting like the fact that only the drivers window control is illuminated. Good luck trying to lock or unlock the car while fumbling in the dark for the correct control switch.
On the plus side the Yaris does drive very well even at (let's say) beyond legal highway speeds. It used to be that economy cars were loud, buzzy and a bit scary when they sped past 75 mph, but the Yaris remains quiet, composed, and comfortable.
On our TFLcar recommendation scale of:
– Buy it
– Lease it
– Rent it or
– Forget it
At $18,871.00 we say…