Over the course of the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a total of three weeks with two Toyota Yaris and one Prius. After spending seven days with a 2009 Yaris five-door last month, I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes down to pure dollars and cents, Y > P.

I’ve been witness to the remarkable fuel economy delivered not just by the Prius, but by the Yaris, as well. If one looks at an automobile purely from the standpoint of transportation, the costs involved with hybridization have a rather lengthy payoff period when compared to a fuel-efficient sub-compact conventional car.

When driven with a light foot, little Yari can deliver results that rival those of their far more expensive and technologically kin. Is it technology for technology’s sake when the base price of one car is roughly half the price of a modestly equipped version of the other?

Toyota’s diminutive entry-level model is quite fun (as well as thrifty) to drive, once you’ve become accustomed to its unique attributes. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, if you’re stretching a budget it just might be the most cost-effective way to go…

Reference: Toyota Yaris Sedan Review, Toyota Yaris Five-Door Review