Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Small Cars Are Still Here. So Are We.

The Subcompact Culture Toyota Yaris in California.

Hey SCC readers. I know it's been a while. We've still been here, still been doing things, but just not as active on the website. For what it's worth, we still have a very active Subcompact Culture Facebook Group. Please join! So what've we been up to lately?

Toyota Yaris Update

Well we still have the trusty 2007 Toyota Yaris, as seen above. I recently swapped out our orange Konig Daylite wheels for a set of some of my favorite all-time wheels: Votex Larado. These are 14x6 wheels with a +33 offset that were made in Germany. They were originally a factory option on Volkswagen Golfs in the 1990s. I've always loved them, and they came up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and I had to have them. We shod them with new 185/65R14 tires. In fact I wrote a BFGoodrich Advantage Control review for AutoWise if you'd like to read my thoughts. 

The Yaris finally broke the 100,000 mile mark—14 years after buying it. To celebrate, we took the car from Oregon down to California for a vacation. It'd been a long time since we'd piloted the car on a road trip that long. The car continues to be a lot of fun to drive. It is approaching a time in its life where it's going to get some maintenance. I have parts for a full brake job, coolant flush, new serpentine belt, and spark plugs ready to go to keep the Yaris running in tip-top shape. Additionally, new shocks are in the car's future. We may take the car in a different direction; maybe lift it up and make it into the RallYaris? 

For those of you wondering, here's a full rundown of the modifications we have to the Yaris at the moment:

Yaris Modifications

  • 14x7 Votex Larado Wheels (+33 offset)
  • 185/65R14 BFGoodrich Advantage Control tires
  • Tein S-Tech Springs
  • Tokico HP Shocks
  • 10mm Rear Hub Spacers (Old Penguin Garage Units)
  • TRD rear sway bar
  • K&N Typhoon Intake
  • Golden Eagle Intake Manifold
  • DC Sports Header
  • Thunder Axle-Back Exhaust
  • Non Stop Tuning Short Shift Kits
  • Autometer Autogage Tachometer
  • Delrin Shift Knob
  • Bushwacker Rear Bumper Cover

No More Mirage

Modified 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage with a host of accessories.

We bought a new 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES in 2017 for $9,600 cash out the door—a fantastic deal. We threw on some Eibach Pro Kit springs, a custom rear sway bar, an intake, and JDM 5Zigen Pro Racer GN+ wheels along with factory fog lights, side skirts, custom floor mats, and a few other goodies—many of these things are great upgrades for a  Mitsubishi Mirage. The car was a miserly runabout that was very reliable and frugal to say the least. Yes, it was a cheap car. No it wasn't luxurious. But it had a simple, Spartan, no-frills charm.

Of course in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and shortly after returning from our Alcan 5000 run in our JDM Mitsubishi Pajero, I started working from home. This mean very little commuting. Since we already had the Yaris, we didn't really need the Mirage anymore. In summer, 2021, I pulled some of the parts (intake, swaybar, floor mats, cargo mat), and we ended up selling the car to Carmax for $200 less than we bought it brand new in 2017, complete with 18,000 miles on it. You've got to love this crazy used car market!

So this means our subcompact stable is down to just our Yaris. We have three other 4WD JDM Mitsubishis that often appear on our other site, Crankshaft Culture, however. None are as small as the Mirage or Yaris (or the Teal Terror). None are behemoths, however. Have we fallen out of love with small cars? 

Hell no. 

What's Next?

The Subcompact Culture Toyota Yaris in Santa Rosa, California

Subcompact Culture was started about 13 years ago with the idea that some people actually enjoy driving small cars. There are people who prefer subcompact vehicles over full-size trucks, giant sedans, or svelte coupes. We don't have anything against those people who like big vehicles, but we recognized there are people who like to think big and drive small. We still do. 

The subcompact car market is all but gone in the U.S. now, sans some MINIs, the Mitsubishi Mirage, the Chevy Spark, and a couple others. But who knows how long those options will be around. 

While new small cars might be scarce, there will always be small car enthusiasts (including us). 

We're continuing to enjoy our Yaris, and as mentioned, might switch it up just a bit. Heck, we might even campaign it in the 2022 Alcan 5000 summer rally. We haven't officially made a decision yet (we still have 11 months as of this writing). 

We'll continue to update Subcompact Culture, and we still have that great group on Facebook, too. So don't be shy: come join the action in the group. Also stay tuned here. Also follow us over at Crankshaft Culture and a host of the other publications Mercedes Lilienthal and I, Andy Lilienthal, write for. 

And as always, if you have a story idea or want your subcompact vehicle to be featured in a Subcompact Showcase, don't hesitate to contact us


Anonymous said...

Will never get rid of my Yaris. I'm glad to see you still have yours....

Michael said...

Same, looks like ill be keeping my Yaris as there are no suitable replacement cars offered in the US.