would you pick the $16,000 Yaris or the $180,000 Bentley?

Discussion in 'Toyota' started by tigerhonaker, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor



    They're both 4-door sedans that seat 5, and that's where the similarities end -- would you pick the $16,000 Yaris or the $180,000 Bentley?

    Michael Taylor, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Every once in a while, just to clear out the pipes and put things in perspective here at the Auto Desk, we have to do a bit of what we call Extreme Testing by finding a couple of cars that are at opposite ends of that vast spectrum of automania.

    Here are two cars we recently tested. Both are four-door sedans, both have power windows, cruise control and air conditioning and will seat five people. Both will get you where you want to go. The difference?

    The entire price of the Toyota Yaris is less than the tax and license fees for the Bentley Continental Flying Spur. That's right. Including its gas guzzler tax, delivery and $5,840 for a set of gaudy 20-inch chromed alloy wheels, the Bentley has a sticker price of $181,885. The Yaris, including its $435 for "rear spoiler with LED stop lamp," is $16,705. (Tax and license on most new cars sold in California comprise about 10 percent of the selling price.)

    So, it's a puzzlement. Which one to choose?

    The Bentley

    Somehow, Bentley has managed to keep the Continental Flying Spur in the conservative mold Rolls-Royce and Bentley have had for decades. Yes, its innards betray a modern car, with all the electronic gizmos known to chauffeurs (paid or otherwise) worldwide, but the car still retains that air that says, a bit like a judge who has intentionally encouraged the image of having a stern demeanor, "you may approach, but be very careful in what you say."

    The car we drove for a couple of days was so dark a green that most people thought it was black. Bentley calls it "midnight emerald." The Bentley's lines and shape are clean, smooth, rounded and clearly pay attention to the history of this venerable institution. There is nothing out of place in the shape of the car -- from stem to stern, it all blends smoothly into a whole. There are some cars that look like the front came from Assembly Line A and the rear from Assembly Line Z and then the two were welded together, but that didn't happen here. (I have one caveat on this ladling on of the encomiums -- lose the chromed alloy wheels. They're garish and totally out of sync with the rest of the car.)

    The inside of the Flying Spur was tan leather (dubbed "ochre" by Bentley) and it was -- this is the only word -- sumptuous. You wallow in it. It feels old, even though it's new. You expect to see the cracks of aging leather, like crawling into, well, an old Bentley or Jaguar. Bentley encourages you to be atavistic; it's embedded in its DNA, and so it's embedded in what you see. This is, after all, the company that produced the famed supercharged "Blower Bentley" of the 1920s and the race cars that won Le Mans 1927 through 1930 and again in 2003. They've been around, and even in their current design details they want you to know they've been around for quite a while.

    On the "burr walnut-covered dash, for example, the four round air vents can be closed and opened with chrome push-pull knobs -- Bentley calls them "organ stop controls." It's a purposely old design. Between the two center vents is an analogue Breitling clock. The instruments are ringed in chrome and the steering wheel is covered in two-tone (brown and tan) laced-up leather. The feel inside the car is spacious and quiet. The first nitpick: The front cup holder is under the central console armrest so you can either have an arm rest or a place to put the cup. But let us not kid ourselves -- cup holders are beside the point in this car. If the chauffeur has the temerity to bring a cup into the front part of the cabin -- and God forbid he should actually use it -- then he should be terminated forthwith. Right?

    The tendency, in dealing with a Bentley (or a Rolls-Royce, for that matter), is to look at it through the prism of where it sits in the culture -- both the car culture, which is comparatively narrow, and the culture of the world. In the latter, it's the car that is at home parked in front of the Hotel de Paris or the casino in Monte Carlo. It's at home conveying members of the royal family (from Saudi Arabia to England to Brunei, it doesn't really matter) across town for an event. And it's the car that takes the hedge fund guy to his office on Wall Street.

    Image aside, it is essentially a big (209 inches long), comfortable, quiet and spacious car that, in its performance, competes with few others. It has a 6-liter, twin-turbocharged 552-horsepower 12-cylinder engine that will take this nearly 3-ton block of aluminum and steel from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds, Bentley says, and will propel it to a top speed of 195 mph, faster than any other production four-door sedan.

    The car, derived from its two-door stablemate, the Continental GT, has all-wheel-drive and, because high rollers (as opposed to Rollers) seem to love it, the Flying Spur has paddle shifters for that quick-quick up-and-down stick shift feeling. For me, it's totally out of character. Why not stick a high wing on the trunk, too? You don't really need paddle shifters in a car like this. Just step on the pedal that is just to the right of the brake pedal and the car will go. And go. And go.

    The Yaris

    The Yaris is Toyota's new entry in the hot subcompact field. The name comes from the Greek word charis, which connotes, among other traits, innate giftedness, splendour, inner grace and charm, according to the www.wellhost.com/charis Web site, but I don't think that esoterica is going to be the cornerstone of Toyota's marketing drive.

    The Yaris' closest competitors, for now, are the Nissan Versa and the Honda Fit. The reason we're getting these small cars is because every time the carmakers turn out a small car, it evolves over the years into a bigger car.

    That means they have to come up with another small car to satisfy that part of the market. Toyota's traditional small car, the perennial Corolla, has grown to the extent that it's now as big as one of the early Camrys. It happens, and it happens routinely. The cars start out simple, then get upgrades, then get a bit longer. Honda has grown the Civic out to the size of early Accords.

    So the new niche of subcompact takes these cars back to the world of really small. (The Yaris three-door hatchback is a scant 150 inches long, only 7 inches longer than a Mini; and the sedan we tested is only 169 inches in length.) That's 40 inches shorter than the Bentley.

    The Yaris level of price and model starts with a stick shift hatchback and a base price of $10,950. The four-door "S" sedan we had for a few days was the top of the line, with a base of $14,050 and, optioned up and delivered, a total of $16,705.

    What you get for that is a car that will hold five people, but the three in the rear seat better know each other really well. Nonetheless, it's a seemingly adult sedan with Toyota's typically high quality of fit and finish. You can buy the "stripper" version of a Yaris sedan for just under $12,000 and while it has basic crank windows and pretty plain interior, it still comes with air conditioning as standard. The top-of-the-line car, the S-model sedan, starts at $14,050 and crests at $16,000 with a few options. But you're getting the kind of car most buyers seem to want these days, and it's not a stripper. Consider that the Yaris sedan, with its $1,425 power package, provided all the amenities we're now used to (windows, door locks, outside mirrors), cruise control, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, alloy wheels and a few other doo-dads.

    But you don't get a lot of the things you'll find on incrementally higher-priced cars -- for example, four-wheel disk brakes (the small rear brake drums on the Yaris, looking like soup bowls, seem so anachronistic). As for leather, I don't think a cow has been within 20 miles of the Yaris. It's cloth or cloth, and I'd bet that 20 years from now it'll probably look pretty tatty.

    Inside, the car was more comfortable, I found, than the Honda Fit I tried a few weeks ago, and it didn't have the Fit's upright boxy feel or its bouncy ride. If anything, the Yaris feels like a scaled-down Corolla, which brings up the question of why not spend a couple of thousand dollars more and get a Corolla, a bigger and certainly heftier car (Corolla's base prices run from $14,105 to $17,880). Why not? Well, fuel mileage for one. The Corolla, with automatic, has an EPA miles per gallon figure of 30/38 (city/highway); the Yaris we had does 34/39.

    For some reason, Toyota's designers have done another one of their center dashboard numbers. The instrument cluster is well designed and complete, but it reminds me of the dashboard of the lumpen-looking Prius, with its Cyclops-like digital speedometer down there, way down there at the base of the windshield, plop in center dash territory. Mercifully, the Yaris has an analog speedometer, albeit in the middle of the dash. It seems to me that any distraction of the eye from straight ahead is asking for an eventual accident, but the Yaris instrument cluster is complete and the heating/air conditioning controls are particularly well-designed with clearly labeled big round knobs. Simple to operate.

    On the road, the Yaris has the same peppy, off-the-line feel of the Honda Fit -- strong first gear -- as its 1.5-liter transverse-mounted four-cylinder motor, sending out 106 horsepower, starts revving blithely away, a bit like a tiny fan that has been switched on to high and is breathing just as hard as it can. At speed, though, when you slam down the gas pedal for a passing maneuver, you get a lot of high-RPM revving but little high-speed going, especially with three people in the car.

    The two of them

    Both of these cars will get the job done, the Bentley in its own fashion and the Yaris in its. It's likely that a lot more Yarises will be out there than Bentleys, and it's not up to us to say whether that's a good thing. But there might be some solace in the headline AutoWeek magazine ran on its cover recently, "Cars No One Needs," the magazine's headline said about its test of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz S600 sedan ($143,675) and the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom ($351,100). "But Oh How Good They Make You Feel," the headline added.

    So you can opt for the Bentley, a worthy and stylish contender in this rarefied field, or you can opt for the Yaris, an equally worthy combatant in a different and far more crowded arena, and have $165,000 left over, enough to buy 10 more Yarises.

    2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur
    Type: four-door sedan; front engine, rear wheel drive

    Price: test model, $181,885 (base price $164,990)

    Power train: 6-liter, 12-cylinder, 552-horsepower engine; 6-speed automatic transmission. All wheel drive

    Curb weight: 5,456 pounds

    Seating capacity: five

    Mileage: 11 city; 18 highway

    Fuel tank capacity: 23.8 gallons

    Length: 208.9 inches; width, 83.4 inches, height, 58.2 inches; wheelbase, 120.7 inches

    Warranty: three years/unlimited miles

    2007 Toyota Yaris S
    Type: four-door sedan; front engine, front wheel drive

    Price: test model, $16,705 (base price $14,050)

    Power train: 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 106-horsepower engine; four-speed automatic transmission

    Curb weight: 2,293 pounds

    Seating capacity: five

    Mileage: 34 city; 39 highway

    Fuel tank capacity: 11.1 gallons

    Length: 169.3 inches; width, 66.5 inches; height, 57.5 inches; wheelbase, 100.4 inches

    Warranty: general, three years/36,000 miles; power train, five years/60,000 miles

    E-mail Michael Taylor at mtaylor@sfchronicle.com.

  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Terry:

    ___Let me think about this for a sec … Thinking is over. I would like to have an Insight 5-speed exactly like Billy’s, HCH-II w/ NAVI and loaded like yours, Civic EX w/ NAVI and a stick loaded similarly, Prius II loaded up to the nine’s, TCH loaded up to the nine’s, Yaris and Corolla (both w/ sticks) and loaded to the max, and a FWD FEH loaded similarly “Instead”! I would call that an even trade off for the Bentley ;)

    ___Good Luck

  3. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor


    Sounds reasonable to me. Oh, great choice of vehicles for the (Even-Swap). :p

  4. Sledge

    Sledge I like owls with captions

    I would take the Bentley...

    And then I would sell it, get an HCH2 and put the remaining cash in a mutual fund. :)
  5. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    air conditioning? power windows and locks? cruise control? CUP HOLDERS?! Oh the amenities I'm missing...
  6. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    i would get 11 yarises and use the other 4g to duct tape them together, then who will have a luxury car, take that bentley
    the specs
    55 passenger capacity
    gigantenourmous luggage capacity
    44 cylinders (like 1122 hp or something)

    or i could play car soccer with them
    either way a bunch of yarises beats the crap out of a bentley
    i could also probably use the gas savings from the yaris over the bentley to by a few more yarises
    i could get them in different colors to match my tie
  7. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I'd pick the Yaris, and with the other $164k, maybe buy that Tesla sedan I've seen promoted (when/if it ever comes to market) or if not, four Volts. I wonder if you can plug them all in off one of those cheesy 18-gage extension cords with the four sockets on one end that you use for the Christmas lights? :D

    battery (noun)
    5. A number of similar machines or devices in position; an apparatus consisting of a set of similar parts; as, a battery of boilers, of retorts, condensers, etc. (1913 Webster)

    Would that be a good time to call the driveway the Four Volt Battery?
  8. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

    To make it interesting the rules should be:

    you have no way to gain money in this deal
    you can pick either the Bentley or the Toyota and you cannot sell either after.
    you do not get to keep the extra money save if you pick the Toyota, it's straight up, one or the other and you have to keep it for at least 4 years.

    I'd pick the Yaris.
  9. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Me too.
  10. WoodyWoodchuck

    WoodyWoodchuck Sophomore Hypermiler

    Would the difference in insurance and repair costs be included or do I actually have to pay them? But thinking on it, if you can afford to throw $180,000 on a vehicle why would something like that even be considered.

    I have a Yaris and love it but have never driven or ridden in any vehicle that costs more than my doublewide. Maybe it is worth it? I’m single and the Yaris hasn’t exactly had dates knocking down my door to come in and watch NASCAR. Maybe the Bentley would help there? I’m happy with my career but the Yaris hasn’t gotten me any invites to the club for a quick 9 before that afternoon meeting. Perhaps the Bentley would even shave a few strokes off my handicap?

    What do I have to lose! Does the Bentley come in Absolute Red with manual windows and a 5-speed manual transmission?
  11. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I'd take the Yaris even if insurance/repair/fuel costs were pre-paid on the Bentley. It's easier to park in urban traffic and it doesn't have the Bentley's stigma of ridiculous overconsumption. A Bentley and a Yaris - side by side in rush hour traffic - are both serving the same purpose. While the Bentley has more creature comforts, do those extras amount to over $160k in 'value'? Judging from annual sales numbers for the Bentley, it seems that only a very small minority of people would answer that in the affirmative.
  12. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    Hmm, I can't decide.....can't decide why i would take the bentley. My principles and appeals would tell me that the bentley would be parked right next to my neighbor's hummer..We'll see which one gathers rust faster.

    After 3 yrs, it's safe to assume that finding parts for your car and paying for them wont be the easiest thing to do.
  13. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    one could choose the yaris
    then for comfort sit in a forest and let the nature one helped save comfort one with the wood, space, fine natural materials, aesthetics, ergonomics (the bentely may have been made to fit the human body but the human body was made to fit nature) and good feeling the bentely has, except no guilt and nature has much more of all of these

    also i think the yaris is better looking than the bentely
    and a point, more money was probably spent designing the yaris than was the bentely, given that toyota has vast resources and designed it to produce lots of them, so thay had that luxury
  14. ATL

    ATL Well-Known Member

    I already have a yaris, so I would take the bentley and tell everyone that I'm the newest hip skinny white rapper
  15. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

  16. 93Hatch

    93Hatch Well-Known Member

    I'll take a Yaris hatchback, used. Buying a brand new car seems excessively extravagant to me. Plus the used Yaris might have some blingy chrome alloy aftermarket rims, lol.
  17. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

    I would rather buy used as well, but used cars in Canada are not much cheaper, then throw the high percentage of totaled or severely damaged cars sold here under the false pretenses of a clean CarFAX etc. I don't know a mechanic I trust enough to take a used car to them and rely on their judgment that the car was taken care of. That's why I buy new.

    Here are a couple links which give good reasons to buy new:


  18. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    yeah here in panama is the exact same thing, that´s why i had to get my car new
    you cant trust anyone and people really abuse cars here so you pretty much have to buy a new one if not you are gambling
  19. Kurz

    Kurz Well-Known Member

    Problem is you wont be able to sell it to those who are interested in it.
    Why would a person with that much disposable income buy used?
  20. MateriaPanama

    MateriaPanama Well-Known Member

    because you would sell it much cheaper

Share This Page