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The search for a family hatchback...



Twenty-20 was a strange year for all of us (with no guarantees and nothing but feelings of optimism of 2021 being better); and it also would happen to be the year we moved back to Japan after 4 years in Vietnam (in just 72 hours’ notice as opposed to a planned departure/move in June). Upon our arrival we went through 5 weeks of self-imposed quarantine due to various internal moves…anyway…enough about that.

As much as we love the Corolla wagon, it was apparent that the car was neither efficient nor safe. As fun as the car is, you can really feel the car’s fragility doing 100+ kmph on the freeway. Thus ensued the hunt for an economical, safe, family friendly hatchback.

The two main contenders were the Yaris and the new Fit. Both are really nice cars and the Fit had a nice feel to its drive but felt a bit too restrained and grandfather-ish compared to the Yaris which was more youthful. Fuel economy wise both offer attractive figures and are quite good in the safety department with active safety features such as 6+ airbags being standard along with driver assist tech like lane depature warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert as standard.

Some might wonder why none of the offerings from Nissan were considered..and why not even the safe Aqua. Well...my view was that at the time of us looking for a car, both the Aqua and eNote (and the March) were very dated cars. the platforms and tech was old..and they looked old.

Thus, a 1.5L Manual transmission Yaris was on the table (sadly there wasn’t a single manual test drive car anywhere in the prefecture thus could drive only a Hybrid CVT). I could not take a photo of the exact car we test drove…but it was a Z grade 1.5L Hybrid CVT much like the one in the following pic but in, might I say rather attractive, Avant-garde bronze metallic.


Edited by iRage

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Why not go a little bit further and go mid-size? Are they noticeably expensive to insure and register? Or perhaps a parking/manoeuvrability concern? 

I presume the speeds and road conditions are not too bad over there? Personally, I wouldn't even consider a small car as a family hauler here in Aus because the risks are a bit too great. Seen some horrible wrecks at salvage auctions. Plus, too many morons driving around in 4WDs with bull bars and 34 inch tires and what not...

But if you live away from lots of traffic and perhaps lucky enough to drive though windy roads, a little car with a manual transmission will be awesome!   😇  Are all the GR Yaris`s sold out yet?  :D



Edited by MrCat
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Well...Japan does not have any large hatchbacks except for the Corolla and the 3. Simply do not like the new 3. The Corolla...just seemed Corolla-ish and the Yaris and Fit were much more interesting under the seat.

Also....the 3 and the Corolla fall in to a slightly higher tax category so shaken, road taxes, etc..are a little bit higher. As for insurance...its most about value of the car and the driving history of the drivers. So 99.9% of the time you would end up paying the same amount in insurance for a an Evo and a hatchback of the same value.

As for safety...trafiic in Japan is quite tame. True you get the bad wreck and the crazy drivers every now and then..but for the most part people say away from each other (just like they do in person). Accidents do tend to happen during winter...winter driving in Japan sucks mainly because in most part of the country people ar enot used to it and snow removal sucks. Also..old people...they have a tendency to accidentally step on the wrong pedal...but they are more deadly within city limits and whilst walking on the sidewalk... (I am serious...not being funny here).

Edited by iRage
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