Saturday, May 22, 2010

Toyota Yaris Drivers' Club

What it thinks it is

I have joined the masses who pound the E11 highway twice a day between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Taking advice from this blog, friends and family, I'm now renting a car so that the Goatmobile doesn't collect too many excessive kilometres. The best deal I found was through Hertz, for unlimited kilometres. Cheaper deals generally involved limited annual mileage (am I allowed to call it 'mileage' when only the US and UK measure road distances in those units?) that would jack the total cost beyond what I'm willing to pay.

So like most of the other UAE rent boys, I'm piloting a Yaris. It always happens: you acquire a new vehicle and then notice everyone else has one too. There are dozens of Yarii - or possibly Yares - on Sheikh Zayed Road every day. Mine came new-ish with about 1000km on it, and I'm sticking the thick end of 1600km on it every week, so of course it needs gassing up virtually every day. Ah, the dubious delights of minuscule fuel tanks. Good gas mileage though: around 7 litres/100km whilst thrashing along at an overall average door-to-door speed of above 100kph.

To my surprise, I'm actually quite enjoying driving the car. I estimate that I'll get a new one in six months or so, before my colossal kilometres makes the Yaris impossible for Hertz to sell at a reasonable price.

It wasn't worth an extra Dh1000 a month just for cruise control, so I've had to re-learn holding the throttle at a constant opening for an hour at a time. I have been surprised at how well the 1300cc engine and auto box perform once the vehicle is wound up to over 100kph. For the first couple of days I used Clarissa the GPS to calibrate the Yaris' speedo. Now I know precisely how fast I can go without triggering the legions of speed cameras. This is of course not nearly fast enough to avoid being flashed out of the fast lane by the pilots of 160kph (and the rest) missiles.

The Yaris is apparently rated at five stars for crash safety, which is some comfort for someone who's used to being surrounded by a couple of tonnes of Goatmobile. Not that I'm planning on testing this claim any time soon.

Parking in Abu Dhabi is unbelievable. The only way I've found to get a space is to leave Dubai before the crack of sparrow-fart. Still learning the route options, I have resolved never, ever again to use the Eastern Ring Road. Wednesday last week it added nearly an hour to the journey for the same distance, which inevitably meant that by the time I'd arrived all parking spaces, aisles and footways were already full of parked cars.



Keefieboy said...

'Kilometrage' sounds horrible, though, doesn't it? I had the only major driving accident of my life (so far, touchwood, sacrifice chicken, etc) in a rented Yaris, and came out of it only slightly scathed.

samuraisam said...

Take the yas island shortcut if possible. I got to Abu Dhabi in about 1 hour and 20 minutes using it.

Mme Cyn said...

Keefie -- that wasn't the one where you went into the back of a truck, was it?

Grumpy Goat said...

Sam: Indeed. Take a straightish five-lane highway, apply only one speed camera (and I know where it is), locate the road immediately downwind of the Yas Marina F1 circuit and you can guess the likely consequences.

I suspect nobody drives that section at below the laughably implausible 100kph posted limit.

Stephanie said...

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Sirrah said...

Have you got a literary agent, Goat? My charges are reasonable
(90% of all earnings +expenses).

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Anonymous said...

My goodness goat! I had planned on commenting about how cute your Yaris is....but after all the great comments about your literary qualities, I'll just say "hooray". t-m-i-l

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