“Yaris. It’s a Car.”
That’s either the best tagline ever or a terrific parody used to describe the ultimate appliance-mobile. Truth be told, it might be both. The tagline is used by Toyota on social networks to introduce the world to the new 2012 Toyota Yaris. To give you an idea of just how “exciting” this car is, the biggest technology upgrade from last year is a single-arm windshield wiper with washer jets aimed to either side of the big blade.
Yeah, the new Yaris is just that dull. Or just that perfect, depending on who you ask.
Enthusiasts will despise the Yaris, as they always have, and poke fun at its 1.5-liter 106-hp engine and antiquated 4-speed auto gearbox. Zero to 60 times in a car like this aren’t even relevant and might be listed with a resounding “eventually.” The Yaris is the car for people one step away from bumming rides from parents or friends. It’s for people who don’t want to drive but have to and need something reliable and cheap. It’s for people who view driving as nothing more than a temporary distraction from texting.
For that reason, the Yaris is brilliant. It holds perfectly to Toyota’s small-car brand experience and will shuttle its owners in boring bliss to wherever they want to go. Reviews on the car are about what we’d expect.
During a time when most other small cars are jumping on the fun-to-drive bandwagon, it’s kind of nice to see Toyota sticking to what it does well. Adhering to the formula will keep the Yaris separate from the Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, MINI Cooper and FIAT 500.
The 500, while we’re on the topic, might be the polar opposite of the Yaris.
The humble Yaris isn’t exactly the type to sport a trim level inspired by a designer fashion label. FIAT’s spritely little 500, though, is tailor made for such an association. Fashionable FIAT fans in the U.S. will finally be able to drive away in the stylish FIAT 500 by Gucci after the car makes its debut during New York Fashion Week, which kicks off on September 8.
The cars, available in only black or white, don’t feature any performance upgrades but are customized by Gucci design boss Frida Giannini and are adorned with a number of trademark Gucci elements including the brand’s famous green-red-green web pattern.
If the Yaris is the appliance for people who don’t care much for cars, the 500 (and especially the 500 by Gucci) is the handbag for people who appreciate at least a little driving zest.
What would you prefer in a small car: basic, economical transportation or a more-expensive fashion statement?