Cars for Frugalistas

Written by
Peter Dunn

Guest Blog by Jon F. Thompson, Editor, Toyota Open Road Blog

You know what a frugalista is, right? It's a person who manages to be stylish and hip, but who has learned to spend money very frugally and wisely and who, as a result, manages to eat, dress and live well in spite of tough times.

And now it strikes us that members of this disciplined set, the frugalistas, have presaged today's new reality, a reality imposed on us all by difficult financial straits. The frugalista model suggests, in fact, that austerity or at least very careful spending - is the new extravagance.

So we were more than a little interested to find a story on listing what it calls the "Top 10 Cheapest Cars to Own."

But nobody wants a cheap car. Do they? You're darned right they do. These days, cheap actually, inexpensive is a much better and more accurate word, since "cheap" suggests poor quality - is good.

But never mind the semantics at least this top-10 list contains three Toyota products the Scion xB, the Corolla and the Yaris.

Of the xB, the story says, "the xB is a wise buy and one of the less [sic] expensive cars to own. A 2009 xB, with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, earns [an EPA rating of] 22/28 mpg (city/hwy) with [an MSRP] of $16,420. But offsetting its higher sticker price is its place in Kelley Blue Book's top 10 for best resale value."

The praise for the Corolla and Yaris is equally effusive. The story says of the Corolla, "This old faithful could make any accountant smile. Fully rehashed for 2009 with a 1.4-liter engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission, the Corolla earns an EPA fuel-economy sticker of 27/35 mpg (city/hwy). The 2008 Corolla was IntelliChoice's pick for highest retained value and lowest ownership costs in the compact category, and the 2009 model earns a place in this year's Kelley Blue Book awards for best retail value."

And of the Yaris, this: "The Yaris is a paragon of thrift while still delivering the sass factor. Trips to the pump will be few and far between: A 2-door Yaris with a 5-speed manual gearbox and a 1.5-liter engine earns an EPA fuel-economy rating of 29/36 mpg (city/hwy). The Yaris was among Kelley Blue Book's 2009 Best Resale Value Award winners, and took the IntelliChoice awards for lowest ownership cost, lowest fuel cost and lowest operating cost in the subcompact category."

There's just one thing we'd like to point out, here. Austerity may well be the new extravagance, but these three cars are anything but austere. In fact, they're nicely equipped and downright comfortable. If you're a frugalista, or interested in getting the best value for money in these tough times, one of them just might be right for you.

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