>> Below the Matrix, below the Corolla, you'll find the Yaris. It's where Toyota starts. Let's see if it delivers and check the tech.
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Now, inside the cabin, the pickings are slim. In fact, this is one of those few cars still made where, if you get it totally base, there's no radio. There's just a hole in the dash -- well, a blank plate, and you have to add your own after market, which might not be a bad thing because the stereo that you can get in an option package has another rare distinction. It sounds like living hell. Awful. Four speakers around the cabin, they sound like they're made of cardboard. I have no idea what the amplification is, but everything shreds when you turn it up. And I'm even using a standard audio CD, nothing compressed, and yuck. We have kind of a middle system, so there's no iPod adaptor. What we do have; the world's most inconveniently placed aux jack, down here in a bin where you can't see it, can barely reach it, and once you get a cable in there, glue it in. Never take it out because it's a pain in the ass to get it back in. You've also got a single-slot CD player that reads MP3 and WMA discs, except it won't read my MP3 disc. SAT radio prep is here. You can option that up additionally, but it's not included in the head unit. Other than that, it's AM, FM, no HD radio. And as I mentioned, not true iPod adaptor available except in the absolute high-end system, which isn't that high-end. Bluetooth? Yes, kind of. It's a dealer-installed accessory as opposed to an option. Navigation? Forget that, unless you put a suction cup on your glass. And of course, Toyota's doing this whole central cluster thing in this vehicle, kind of like a Prius. Nothing in front of the wheel except padded dash, all of your gauges are up there, analog gauges, and then of course, the head unit here, climate control. It's kind of a futuristic look, but not enough to be that engaging. The only other annoying thing in this car is, at least for me; I couldn't get this wheel away from knees. I mean, just the seat won't go down far enough, or the wheel won't go up high enough. Check the ergonomics if you're relatively tall.
Now, our Yaris is a base sedan, traditional four-door layout. And it's got kind of a Stewart Liddley [assumed spelling] looking face. It's not my idea of the prettiest little car out there. I give that kudos to, like, a Nissan Versa. This is also available in what they call a "liftback" because hatchback's a dirty word in the car industry these days, either a three-door or a five-door liftback.
Economy is the message here, from the MSRP of the Yaris to its minimal fuel consumption. It's got a one and a half liter inline four doing a106 measly horsepower, and a 103 foot-pounds of torque. Our car has the optional, and I would say regrettable, four-speed automatic. Not the happiest gearbox I've ever driven, but we're looking at an MPG of 29/36. The standard five-speed manual is bound to be more precise and more than likely to be in the right gear more often. I think I'd go that way. Beyond that, the driving and handling of this car is unremarkable, as you might imagine, but nothing about it is ponderous. This base four-door sedan is only about 13-something. But of course, that includes no radio or any other creature comforts. S-trim models are about 15 grand and have audio and a bunch of other niceties. But either way, this is low-dollar motoring. I'd consider getting the manual transmission. Although you can get the automatic for 800 bucks, pretty good for the convenience, but it's not a great one. And in terms of the tech, roll your own Bluetooth, nav, audio.
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