Avondale Toyota, who are apparently fans of Vipers, courteously allowed me to test drive both a new and old Toyota while I was down in the area and decided to check it out. To explain what the Viper thing is about, the salesroom greeter made a simple mistake which I am now capitalizing on. The actual salesman I had (Hi Luis! if you find this) recognized it as a Corvette right away, so all is right with the world.

2009 Toyota Yaris “Manuel”

Initial Impressions

I talked about this car in a previous post and this is supposed to be a quick take, so I’ll cover the highlights.

1. About 150k miles on it and a single owner for all that time, who bought it new. No maintenance records to speak of, but the CarFax lists consistent maintenance since about 2014.

2. They got the car in a week ago, and there has been no leaks on the ground, no cracks in hoses I can see, and even the motor mounts look robust and clean. I can stick my arm straight through the engine bay and down to the ground past the engine. The salesman, when I mentioned a PPI, offered to have me go in to the service bay with a tech and go over the car piece by piece. A bit conflict of interest-y but a nice touch.

3. There are paint chips, some tire rash, and some panel fits look a little wide, and the seats are worn enough that foam is coming out. Otherwise really damn clean.

Advertisement

4. Avondale Toyota has a unique sales structure (no sales managers or separate finance people, one sale person end to end - one upfront discount cost, and easy out-the-door quotes with little to no haggling) which brings people from other states in, even. Impressive and the sales guy was super nice about everything and put up with all my dumb questions.

5. THIS CAR IS TOTALLY ADORKABLE.

Driving impressions

TL;DR - The automotive epitome of “Forgiveness”

Edit: Kinja may have eaten the YT video, FYI

As Pouty McPoutersword will tell you in the video clip FF7 Advent Children, he wants to be forgiven, and this is the perfect car for him as it specializes in forgiveness.

Advertisement

The car itself drives well. There is no tach so I did the shifting by ear. The shifter is vague and the clutch pedal is so light and low travel I don’t know if I’m even pushing it half the time. The pedals don’t work for heel toe. The steering is precise enough, but you’re driving a marshmallow pillow around with some horses in it, so you shouldn’t expect miracles.

But it’s a joy. You hammer the gas it just moans somewhat and does nothing. You turn and it’s soft. You brake and it’s soft. It doesn’t matter what you do - like an old pack mule, it’ll just forgive you and do all the things in its own special way. If you steer wrong, you have plenty of time. Drive over a curb? Ok, that’s fine too. Brake too hard? Doesn’t matter. You bathed in the waters of automotive forgiveness as the car ambles on casually. Bumps are so muted you wonder if you really saw them on the road. This car is penance for past automotive mistakes.

It’s hard not to appreciate this car for what it is. A street legal wind up toy with zero pretensions and the forgiving warmth of home-cooked comfort food. Your own personal car Jesus.

Advertisement

I like it a lot.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatch “Manuel”

Initial and Final Impressions

TL;DR Are you a wizard

The car is a technological tour de force. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics of this one as I ran out of time (it was also white, why do they all gotta be white?) but it looks like this. Only white. Capisce?

Advertisement

Of the many things about this car these things stuck out the most:

1. There is so much technology in it that there is no point in getting the stick shift, no matter how pleased I am that they provided it.

Advertisement

2. The ride is stiffer than the Yaris.

3. The XSE trim is the one with the heated seats, take note.

It rides fine, a little firm, but nothing so ostentatious as jarring. The steering is more precise, the engine has near-as-makes-no-difference 170 hp, there’s more room inside, the center dash screen has way more tech stuff than my C7, the A/C works great, and the blind spot mirror stuff works really well. The tech package would put my 2010 Lexus IS-F to shame.

Advertisement

It’s comfortable, it’s quiet, it does the job, gets good gas mileage, audio sounds great, and has decent interior space for size. It’s so damn practical and comfy. And completely invisible.

I could rob a bank and use this as a getaway car. Driving 30 mph in the slow lane would ensure I never get caught no matter how many times the cops sweep for me.

The six speed has a shifter which is a bit vague but shifts without complaint and very smoothly. Clutch progression is soft and wide and built for ease.

Advertisement

There is a button in the center that allows the car to brake for you while you are stopped and idling in neutral.

Let me repeat that.

There is a button in the center that allows the car to brake for you while you are stopped and idling in neutral.

Advertisement

I was blown away by this - we are truly living in the future, as I have found that braking while stopped was the least tedious thing I’d ever had to do while driving. It also auto-releases when you shift into 1 and clutch+gas in, but will re-engage when you stop unintrusively.

It is hands down the most UN-NECESSARY technology I have ever seen for a car.

Advertisement

They’re asking about $24k which is reasonable, but I’m leaning toward the Yaris. I’ve got the out the door price for it and will be discussing it with the wife tonight. I’ve got a hot water heater replacement and entire roof refurbish to think of as well, so I’ve got to make sure the numbers line up.

I highly recommend Avondale Toyota. They’ve got a great setup and really nice folks, and their sales floor greeters are easy to impress and easy on the eyes.