Welcome to Lola the Yaris

The Minty Beast

The Minty Beast (1986 Toyota Tercel)

When I bought the Minty Beast, my ’86 Tercel in January, I expected it would last me 6 to 12 months. I got nine. Toward the end of October, the brake light started going on without the brakes being engaged. Turned out the brake lines were a mess — so had those fixed. While doing that, my mechanic had a look over the rest of the car and came back with an estimate for work that far eclipsed the value of the car. It was time for me to suck it up and buy something better (newer/safer/more efficient).

Lola (2006 Toyota Yaris)

Lola (2006 Toyota Yaris)

I still wanted something flexible — anything but a sedan, basically, but also wanted something that wouldn’t bleed me dry with its gas use. I gave myself a month and started looking.

I found what I wanted on a car lot in View Royal. I puttered out there on Friday and had a look, and kinda fell in love with it. After a test drive, I was done, I took a deep breath and wrote a big cheque, left them the Tercel and came home with a 2006 Yaris who I have named Lola, a showgirl I intend to drive until the feathers in her hair are very faded.

Lola has been a Victoria-area car its whole life and the dealership had what appeared to be all the maintenance records — bonus! Big points to note, front brakes fully replaced and rear brake pads replaced in 2016; new water pump in 2015; minor collision claim (only $1500 — so not big damage) in 2010. There are a few wee scratches that I’ll keep an eye on, and it is missing the little hatchback privacy flap in the back (which I can replace for about $100), but overall it looks pretty damned new.

One of the reasons that Lola had lingered on the lot is that it has 5 speed manual transmission and a lot of people either cannot or will not drive standards. Now, it’s been a few years since I last drove a standard (about 6? I cannot remember when my Mom sold her car but that was the last standard I drove.), so I was a little nervous getting behind the wheel. While doing the test drive I did fine right up to the last manoeuver of getting back to the lot (stalled, ground a gear, stalled again… sigh.). On my way home from View Royal, I stalled it twice. Yesterday running errands, you guessed it, lots of stalls (and one tire-spin on a wet hill). I am still getting used to Lola’s particular clutch/accelerator balance but I’ll get there soon enough.


I appreciate that Lola lacks a couple of the things that break down — no power windows, no AC (though as Lola is a black car, that’s going to make summer a bit challenging, but I will manage), no keyless entry. The stereo is what came with the car, and it’s adequate. The only other odd thing to get used to is that there is a glovebox in front of the steering wheel and the instrument panel is in the centre of the dash. Two days of driving and I am pretty much good with it though. The last big bonus? Fewer people will borrow my car LOL but I can also now teach kiddo how to drive standard, too.


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