Back in March I spent a week in Maryland on a business trip. I drove down in a rental car provided by my employer. When I picked the car up I was a bit disappointed to see it was a Yaris hatchback since the only things I knew about the Yaris were that it was a low end Toyota and that Consumer Reports didn't like it. Given these low expectations the car was a bit of a pleasant surprise although it did have some features that might explain why Consumer Reports didn't rate it highly. The trunk was tiny (although adequate for my single suitcase) and the engine was noisy (although not in a way that bothered me). On the plus side the car has plenty of headroom, a couple of inches more than my Toyota Solara which has barely enough for me. It also felt more responsive and agile than my Solara. I was also impressed that the radio continued to receive my favorite New York City stations. This isn't really an endorsement, like Consumer Reports I might well like competitive small cars more and there is no reason to buy a good product if excellent ones are available at a similar price. But it wasn't as bad as I expected.
Incidentally I could have used my personal car and received a mileage reimbursement. This probably was the better option but I was deterred by the fact that my employer's insurance would not cover any damage to my personal vehicle. But given the low value of my car and average driving ability the expected value of such damage was likely under $20 which would have been covered by the generous mileage allowance. Also using my personal car would have meant I could have left from and returned to my house instead of from my work location (where I picked up and dropped off the rental) saving some time and hassle. And I could have paid the tolls with EZ Pass instead of with cash again saving a bit of time and trouble. And finally although I liked the Yaris well enough as with driving any unfamiliar vehicle there was a bit of a learning curve which meant I was probably at a bit higher risk of getting into an accident.
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