Ace of Base – 2017 Toyota Yaris 3-Door L

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Last week, my Ace of Base selection was met with loud derision from certain corners of the web. My intent was to prove how it’s possible for one to get into a comfortable, well-equipped, diesel-powered Canyon pickup without springing for an SLT or Denali trim. Nevertheless, my efforts were met with a chorus of WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO AN ACE OF BASE ON A ROLLS-ROYCE RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.

Well then, without further delay…

Nah, dear reader. I wouldn’t do that to ya. Not today, anyway.

Instead, we have a sampling from the folks who are bringing us a new Supra. For every Supra though, there is a C-HR, a vehicular oddity so searing to the eyeballs that even the Aztek went on record as saying “Dude! Wait until it’s dark out!” Few can accuse Toyota of being totally beige these days, though, and I do think that is s a very good thing.

With that in mind, let’s examine what Toyota has to offer the base-model shopper, pointing our build-and-price tools to the Yaris. No, not the fish-faced, gawping Yaris iA sedan, but rather the Yaris hatchback.

The base model 3-Door L starts at $15,250, which definitely inhabits the upper financial limits of the small-car marketplace. It’s a funky looking but not wholly offensive little hatch, with a single windshield wiper continuing the Toyota tradition of affixing odd-numbers of wipers to its panes of glass. (Remember the dual wiper setup on the rear of the Camry wagon?)

Under the hood of the Yaris 3-Door L, drivers will find a 1.5-liter inline-four making 106 horsepower. A five-speed manual is standard equipment and is, in fact, the only way to row-your-own Yaris as all the other trims, save for the top-rung 5-door SE, are solely slushbox affairs. Weighing in at 2315 pounds, the Yaris L may not be blazingly fast, but at least it’s efficient; this driveline pair is good for a near-as-makes-no-difference 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Fifteen-inch steelies are found at all four corners, shod with 175/65 rubber. There are two advantages to the diminutive donuts. First, their replacement cost will be about the same as a the price of a Starbucks Mocha Venti Extreme Chai Soy Latte. Secondly, the elitist 5-Door Yaris SE has a five foot wider turning circle thanks to being fitted with 16-inch rims. Better to make any hasty U-turns with the base model, then.

Nine airbags are an amount of pillowy safety once only experienced in the fanciest of luxury cars. The steering wheel tilts, and calls can be made via Bluetooth and Toyota’s Entune system. Critically, A/C is standard on the base model. Satellite radio is a $379 stand-alone option, but at least you can get it on a base trim — *ahem* Honda *ahem*.

Are there cheaper base model hatchbacks than the 3-Door Yaris L? Definitely, but I do think the Toyota stands a better chance than some other brands of hanging on to some of its value come trade-in time. It’s list of standard equipment earns it a spot on this list, too.

Now, which way to the nearest Rolls dealer?

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in American dollars absent of freight and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 65 comments
  • Menloguy Menloguy on May 11, 2017

    Despite the shortcomings of power as stated in the comments, I'm still attracted to this car's Euro poverty look with wheel covers and blacked out trim. The fact that it's built in France and has a Euro license plate bracket in the grille increases its Euro-quotient. Put a French license plate on the front license plate bracket (for states that only issue one license plate) and an oval "F" on the rear hatch and you're driving in Normandy!

  • Jstert Jstert on May 12, 2017

    i got a french-built used 2014 yaris L ex-rental as a snowbird car, $9k, 42k miles. used is the yaris' sweet spot, no way is it worth $15k new. it is utterly reliable & tossable second hand. it is parked on a battery tender for 4 months then starts right up. yes, it is simple and low tech but that means just a $20 annual oil change at walmart. southeast asian taxicabs are mostly thai-built yaris, like timex watches they "take a licking but keep on ticking." adding cruise control is $50 parts, plug and play. crank windows are my fountain of youth.

  • VoGhost Love this collective clutching of pearls over a vehicle name not a single commenter will ever see, drive or buy.
  • 28-Cars-Later "Here's why" edition_cnn_com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html
  • 28-Cars-Later Seriously, $85. GM Delta I is burning hot garbage to the point where the 1990 Saturn Z-body is leagues better. My mother inherited an '07 Ion with 30Kish otc which was destroyed in 2014 by a tipsy driver with a suspended license (driver's license enforcement is a joke in Pennsyltucky). Insurance paid out $6,400 when it was only worth about $5,800 IIRC, but sure 10 year later the "hipo" Delta I can fetch how much?
  • Buickman styling does not overcome powertrain, follow the money. labor/materials.
  • VoGhost It's funny, until CDK raises their prices to cover the cost. And then the stealerships do even more stealing because they're certainly not taking the hit - why do you think they make all those political donations? So who pays in the end?