THE VERDICT: While Yaris doesn't get a bunch of style points - it lacks the pizzazz of the Fit and the cute factor of the Smart Fortwo- it is the most comfortable, and somehow it inspired me to feel that I would get a whole lot done if I owned it. It doesn't say "go out and have fun," but it does say "your life will be easier." Not such a bad thing.
THE VEHICLE: SEGWAY PERSONALTRANSPORTER
THE LENGTH: 19 INCHES
THE PERSONALITY: A STAND-UP GUY WHO LOVES SUNSHINE
I named my Segway "Zeb." Yes, of all the wheeled things I tested, this was the only one that inspired me to give it a name. I have yet to figure out why I chose a name better suited to a Mennonite farmer than to a piece of technology, but so be it.
And I'm pleased to report that Zeb proved my initial fears wrong - I did not in any way feel foolish standing tall and zipping through the neighborhood in search of the best price on tofu. Instead, I ended up talking to more people in the course of the three days I had the thing than I had in the two years I lived in there pre-Segway. Both young and old -and just about everybody I passed - had a comment about good old Zeb: "I love that thing!" "I want one!" I felt the same way. To be fair, there was one naysayer - a cranky lady who chided me for riding it on the incredibly wide sidewalks down the main street of my neighborhood. (I took to the streets when traffic wouldn't threaten my life.) But the Segway stopped and turned so fluidly that I didn't get in anybody's way. Take that, cranky lady! The only problem: the cold. In winter, traveling at 12.5 mph can be a chilly ride. The