The Toyota Camry set a standard for the car as appliance, an unexciting machine that got you from point A to point B without hassle, a car for people who don't particularly like cars. The Toyota Yaris can be seen as a stepping-stone to the Camry, an unexciting car that will do its job and do it well, demanding minimal investment from its owner, both in initial and running costs.
The unassuming little Yaris that arrived in our garage was a 2009 sedan model, featuring Toyota's unique design language with the badge pushed out from the hood, over a narrow grille. Inside, the ergonomics are a little weird. Lacking a wide range of adjustment, the steering wheel sat at lap-level. The seat doesn't have height adjustment, either, dictating a somewhat odd driving position.
As a car designed to be easily convertible from right- to left-hand drive at the factory, the instrument cluster sits in a pod at the center of the dashboard, leaving a sweep of empty plastic in front of the driver. The stereo and climate controls also seem unbiased toward the driver or passenger.
Our model came with the optional Power package, equipping it with an upgraded stereo capable of playing MP3 CDs and ready for satellite radio. Suggesting how basic the Yaris can get, the Power package also upgraded the windows to power operation, no cranking required.
Browsing MP3 CDs is made easy by simple controls to sequentially choose folders and tracks, and the stereo display is nice and big. The only other digital music option was an auxiliary input jack, mounted on the side of the console conveniently in a pocket, making a good storage area for an MP3 player.… Read more