Toyota Yaris Review

About a month ago, Courtney and I decided we needed a new car. She had previously driven a Toyota RAV4, which was not only old and falling apart, it did not get the kind of fuel economy we were looking for given the current price of gasoline. We settled on the Toyota Yaris, and headed over to the dealership to see what we could find.

The first thing they told us what that the Yaris was so popular they could not keep them in stock, and there was absolutely nothing they could to about the price. Furthermore, they indicated that they MIGHT be able to give us $500 for Courtney’s old RAV4, a car that blue booked for trade in at $3,000. I told them that I would sell the car private party and most not likely come back because they had insulted me. The deal-making was on and 5 hours later, we had agreed on a deal that not only got us the whole $3,000 trade in, but a nicely discounted Yaris as well.

We’ve been driving the car for about a month now, and overall, it is actually quite nice. Some people complain about the road noise, but it does not bother me much. The gauge console being directly in the center of the dash took about a day to get used to, but it’s really no big deal either. The seats are comfortable, and 3,000 miles later, we are starting to see the 40 miles-per-gallon fuel economy we had expected. There is even some indication that it will continue to improve until the engine is fully broken in at 10,000 miles. With gas prices continuing to soar, I sure hope so!

There are really only a few things that I don’t like about the Yaris. First, the front of the car is, in my opinion, far too low to the ground, and you have to be constantly be on the lookout for curbs when you are parking. It can also be a problem when you are going over larger dips in the road. It would have been nice for the car to be lifted another inch or so off the ground to keep from having to worry about it so much.

Secondly, the knobs controlling the heater / air conditioning / environmental system seem to be very cheaply made. It’s not big deal, but they feel flimsy, which sucks when you just dropped $12,000 on a new car.

Finally, Toyota’s warranty is absolutely miserable! 3 years or 30,000 miles is still a brand-new car and it sucks that they don’t offer the 100,000 mile warranty that is becoming more popular these days. They seem to be banking entirely on the fact that the company has developed a good reputation for reliability.

Aside from the couple of complaints, however, it’s a good car that seems to be worth having, but not made out of solid gold as Toyota seems to think it is. How it holds up over the long haul remains to be seem, as does the vehicle’s ability to handle in the snow. It would seem, however, that you could certainly do worse.

VMware Fusion Evaluation

Since much of my job involves rolling out Linux solutions I’ve been experimenting with VMware Fusion Beta for the Macintosh in my development environment. Given that the product is still in beta, I have very few complaints about its actual stability. Most of the features work reliably as advertised, but there are some basic points of functionality that I feel the software is lacking. More on that later.

First, let’s take a look at exactly what VMware Fusion is. At its core, the package allows the user to create and run virtual machines on the Macintosh. For those who are new to virtualization, it is a way to run multiple virtual computers on one actual computer. The hardware resources are abstracted and shared to the virtual machines through the virtualization software — in this case VMware Fusion. A complete description on virtualization can be found here.

Previous to Fusion, only VMware player was available to Macintosh users, so it is nice to actually be able to create virtual machines locally. The snapshot feature is also very nice for development purposes since you can instantly roll back to a previous working state should you corrupt the software on the virtual machine.

Perhaps the problem that annoyed me most, however, was the fact that there is no clear way to delete virtual machines from within the software. I actually tried to get rid of one by deleting this folder:

/Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/myaccount/Documents/Virtual Machines/Mymachine.vmwarevm

But I just ended up breaking the “Virtual Machine Library” application and having to uninstall and reinstall everything from scratch. The process detailing how to delete a virtual machine did not exist anywhere in the VMware Fusion FAQ or documentation as far as I could tell. Granted, it’s beta software, but I would think this should be a core feature of any virtualization product. At least they provide an “Uninstaller” script.

VMware Fusion is a basic piece of software that succeeds in fulfilling the most fundamental of virtualization requirements. If all you want to do is be able to run a virtual machine or two on your Mac, it will most likely work for you. If you are looking to deploy it as part of an enterprise solution, I would suggest letting the product mature a while and using something like Parallels instead.