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August 14, 2006

Ah-ha-ha-ha!

I keep hearing people utter these words: "At least cars are cheaper now with models like the Yaris, Versa, and Fit!"

It's rather funny, because all three of those are ugly as sin, though.

Beyond that, it's all a charade of cheapness: all the manufacturers have in fact done is stripped off what's become standard equipment in the rest of their line to get to those price points.

The Yaris is even stranger among its peers: You have to choose from one of two mandatory "Option Packages" priced at $820 and $2735 (the lower of which is included in the base price). There's no middle ground between the packages; it's whole hog or hand-cranked windows for you! Toyota's tack here looks really trashy when both Honda (of the Fit) and Nissan (of the Versa) still manage to include features as standard that Toyota forces you to buy.

Nissan, for example, does a rather amazing thing by including a full airbag package: driver, passenger, side curtain roof, and side curtain seat. And that's on a vehicle with an MSRP of $12,450, a direct competitor to Toyota's $12,405 Yaris sedan that comes with nothin'.

But wait, it gets better! Buying a Yaris sedan, you get a choice of but one options package—the really crappy one—unless you buy one with an automatic transmission. Apparently nobody who enjoys or doesn't mind driving a stick has ever wanted power windows, power locks, a full airbag package, remote keyless entry, or Anti-Lock Brakes.

Automakers continually amaze me.

Posted by Colin at August 14, 2006 10:49 AM

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