2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback

2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback

2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback

The 2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback is so cute is should be sold at the Hello Kitty website. It’s not a twin for the Japanese, uh, novelty character that’s so popular with little girls of all ages, but it has the same wide-eyed innocence and giggly-sweet personality. It’s teddy bear huggable and puppy dog playful.

And if you think that makes it difficult for a moderately mature-looking American male to drive a Toyota Yaris Liftback for a week, you’re durn tootin’ right. “Uh, yeah, it’s my daughter’s car” is a lie one can tell only so many times.

To be fair, the two-door Toyota Yaris Liftback, along with its four-door Toyota Yaris Sedan partner, is the most economical model in the Toyota lineup. With a base price of $11,850 and a stingy 1.5-liter engine EPA rated at 34/39 mpg with an automatic transmission, it rivals the Toyota Prius for affordability, particularly when purchase price is factored in. It may not be a hybrid but its financial footprint is small, particularly so considering the absence of a battery pack and the manufacture and disposal of same.

But if the Yaris Liftback is cute, it’s cute very well done. The overall profile would be “one box” if it were at all boxy. Instead the silhouette of the Yaris Liftback was drawn with a French curve, then the windows and wheels were drawn in. The kitten nose is stubby with a compact “T” grille and a hood so short it’s really more of an access panel.

2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback center stack

Placing the 2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback's speedometer at the top of the center stack makes configuring for sales in right-hand and left-hand drive easier.

The styling inventiveness continues inside with armrests the sweep up to the A-pillar and the center stack that forms a T, with horizontal radio controls across the top and simple HVAC dials aligned vertically below it. The instrument panel is contained in a single pod centered atop the dash, like that of the Toyota Echo that the Yaris replaces, because that makes it easier to sell in countries with right and left-hand drive. There’s a just a speedometer on the i.p. Like, what would anyone do with a tachometer, whatever that is, anyway? It’s an option with the manual transmission on the Sedan, so like, whatever.

Cup holders fold down at either end of the dash, inconvenient but there’s little other real estate for them, particularly with all the bins and cubbies, more than in a pink backpack, actually. The Toyota Yaris Liftback has big double-decker gloveboxes, there are bins either side of the center stack, another at the driver’s shin and a flat open tray ahead of the shifter for the automatic transmission. There’s a lidded bin above the steering wheel where the instrument panel normally would be, and a pencil-sized tray is alongside the lift-up handbrake lever.

A couple of oddities: The Yaris’ central locking system includes a door lock-unlock button on the driver’s door, and there’s one on the center console, but none on the passenger’s door. There’s also a power window lockout on the driver’s door but the only other window that opens is the passenger door’s. The hatchback isn’t included in the power locking system. It unlocks, and locks, with the key only.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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