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Old 08-19-2021, 09:13 PM   #1
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Overlooked potential light weight TOADs

I am starting this thread because I bought a one owner, manual transmission 2007 Toyota Yaris Hatchback setup with a Roadmaster base plate a couple of weeks ago, and while the Yaris has shown up in the Dinghy Towing guide every year since it was introduced in 2007 as one of only a handful of sub 2,500 pound TOADs built in the last 15 years, and even though the Yaris Hatchback went virtually unchanged for 6 years after being introduced to the US in 2007, and is still flat towable up through at least the 2020 model for manual transmissions. There is not a single message thread on IRV2 that I can find what is dedicated to this little car, the closest it gets is a few mentions of someone towing one, and a handful of threads where people ask should they buy a Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Ford Festiva, Chevy Sonic, etc. of which in replies the Yaris almost never gets mentioned. I have no idea why this is, I have driven this little car about 5 days per week for the last couple of weeks in place of my regular daily driver, a Dodge Challenger SRT-8, to shake the bugs out, and get a feel for it before we take it on a trip,as it had been sitting for a couple of years, and with 215,000 miles it needed a little TLC, though not much, new wiper blades, removal of bubbling window tint, new tail light housing, .... Overall I am fairly impressed with this little, simple basic car, with its manual everything (windows, mirrors, locks, seats, etc.). I don't see why they don't get considered more often for grocery getter TOAD duty, maybe its that they had a higher MSRP than a Honda Fit, or maybe the reviews and reliability reports that complain about the automatic transmission version (which is not flat towable). To sum that up, I think the motto should be, Toyota Yaris Hatchback, Not as bad as I thought it would be.

So do you know of any other often overlooked small, light TOADs out there?

p.s. Note the Yaris 3 door Hatchback and the Yaris 4 door sedan are two very different cars, both built on related XP90 platforms, though the sedan has about 9 inches more wheel base, around the world in most countries they are actually sold under 2 different model names with the Sedan being the Toyota Belta, and the hatchback being the Toyota Vitz, only in the US, Australia, Canada and a few other places are both listed as the Yaris.
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Old 08-19-2021, 11:00 PM   #2
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Mazda Miata with a standard transmission. Great for two, fun to drive and easy to tow.
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Old 08-20-2021, 01:40 AM   #3
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Our friends have a manual transmission Hyundai Tucson. It's a very roomy little car. I came close to buying a used one from a dealership, but they wanted quite a bit more than it was worth, even though it wasn't a popular car with a manual trans.
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Old 08-20-2021, 05:52 AM   #4
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I tow a 14 Nissan Versa Note with manual. Great toad. I just set up my 2020 Blazer so I can have a choice. Long trips the Versa, shorter (under 2,000 rd trip) Blazer
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Old 08-22-2021, 06:54 AM   #5
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We towed a Tracker for several years.... great little car and fun to drive off road.
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Old 08-22-2021, 10:54 AM   #6
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Our toad is a 2016 Fiat 500, very light, and with the sports package a fun car to drive.
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Old 08-22-2021, 07:35 PM   #7
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We towed a Smart Car "just about 2000 lbs" for almost 4.5 years. What I found is the small cars can be used, but found it started to be less useful the more time you're out on the road. They get moved all over the interstate when driving, tight seating or none - for 4 adults, limited room for Costco shopping.

When there are other slightly bigger options, I can see why there are not a lot be towed. Bigger makes life easier.
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Old 08-22-2021, 08:10 PM   #8
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We shopped for a small cheap TOAD off and on for the last year or so, before buying a 2007 Toyota Yaris (2290 pounds curb weight) a couple of weeks ago. Along the way we looked at a number of potential other small cars including a Smart Fortwo, Chevy Spark, Mini Cooper, and a Honda Fit, we also had the Fiat 500 under consideration, but never found one nearby to try in person. Several were strong contenders in one way or another, however the Yaris won out largely due to its price/condition being a 1 owner car that was bought for TOAD duty new in 2006 at $2,400. A couple of things the 3 door hatchback Yaris has going for it is front seat passenger room, and fairly easy access due to large doors that open very wide, and more front passenger shoulder room than many of the others we looked at. Sure the back seat and trunk space is limited, but so is the amount of room we have to store groceries in the motorhome. In the access and shoulder room department it clearly won out over the Smart Fortwo, along with the Spark, with 3 inches more front shoulder room than the Fortwo. I had a Chevy Spark rental car for a bit over a week on a business trip where I had to commute about 20 miles per day a few years back, over all I liked the Spark, though I felt it was very under powered for city driving with the automatic transmission, it had a surprising amount of seating and cargo space, on that trip I fit 4 people in it a few times, dropping fellow attendees off at their hotels, or running to get lunch between seminars. Though one did pay for that rear space with more limited access to the front seat as the Spark is a 4 door car.

p.s. we took the Yaris out for an afternoon circa 100 mile drive today into east Texas, mostly so my wife could get a better feel for driving it, and so I could see how it handled with higher speed limits (Texas has 75 mph speed limits on most rural 2 lane highways). Getting home I had that same feeling as I keep getting with this little car, Yaris-not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure either my wife's 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland edition, or my Dodge Challenger SRT-8 would have been more comfortable to make the drive in, and would have performed better, the Yaris was not bad, just a little rough riding, maybe lacking a bit in handling, and fairly noisy at speeds over 55 mph.
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Old 08-22-2021, 08:39 PM   #9
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Overlooked potential light weight TOADs

We tow a Ford Focus hatch sometimes. Manual transmission.

A manual shift Fiesta would make a good toad also.
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Old 08-22-2021, 10:38 PM   #10
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We're on a 6 month west-to-east-to-west coast trip now. Bought a 2019 Ford Fiesta hatchback with auto transmission. Light weight and super easy to tow. Got the car from Enterprise Rental Sales. Also holds lots of "stuff".
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light, toad, toads, weight

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