I had the pleasure of driving this year’s Toyota Yaris Hatchback XLE all over San Francisco so that I and the (current) love of my life could enjoy the city in ways that public transportation could not fully allow us to do.
The beauty of the Toyota Yaris is that it is a small car that can get you in and out a tight spot easily and economically and still give you plenty of room to do your business and live your life, all while being fabulous in the most fabulous (and most unaffordable) or places.
Here’s the headline: the 2020 Yaris starts at $17,750 for the base L trim and ends at $18,750 for the XLE (without all the add-ons), which I had the pleasure of driving. A manual transmission is standard (do not – repeat – do not get a manual transmission if you will be driving this in San Francisco or Seattle) on the base trim, and across the lineup, the average miles per gallon is 35. Indeed, interior room is a bit pinched, especially if you shop at a Big & Tall store. Acceleration is a bit slow and you won’t be able to get everything from your ‘efficiency’ apartment into the back of the car….
But you will get some impressive handling on those lazy, hazy, crazy roads of the Golden Gate state – and you will be able to move in and out of traffic and all you favorite hot gay spots once you find a place to park.
(This time around, I found a lot more parking in San Francisco than normal, and I attributed that to everyone being more responsible and taking and Uber or Lyft for a night out on the town.)
Standard equipment is, well, pretty standard for the Yaris, which really is one of the smallest cars on the road in America. Forward-collision warning and low-speed automatic braking are standard. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth are standard as well. And well, yeah, there you have it.
The XLE, the top tier trim, offers more and for a little more money, I think it is worth checking out. Automatic transmission is standard, as well as automatic wipers and automatic climate control. Simulated leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are also included, as well as two-drive settings, Normal and Sport.
Most of San Francisco, yes, can be done using public transportation, and indeed, you need to hang off a cable just as Judy Garland (or Renee Zellweger starring as Judy) advised while singing about San Francisco. For many destinations, it really is a lot easier to take a bus, cab or Uber / Lyft to wherever you are going.
But let’s face it: to really take in the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Lombard Street or any number of places like that, you need a car. And you need a small, practical car, because (trust me) there is barely enough room for you to clear your mind much less park your car in San Francisco.
In a case like this, practicality is of the essence – and this is where the Yaris makes its best case. Yeah, sure, you could live in South Dakota and live on the prairie and drive a big truck….
And indeed, some gay men do.