Toyota Previews 2012 Yaris with JDM Vitz

Toyota’s little Yaris hasn’t exactly set the U.S. market sales charts on fire, but it will soon get some help thanks to a refresh for the 2012 model year. We haven’t seen a U.S.-spec Yaris yet, but Toyota has released images and a little info on the Vitz, which is essentially a Japanese-market Yaris.

With a couple more years beneath its belt, the maturity has earned the Vitz/Yaris a sharper appearance. The front end now sports a version of the current Toyota front grille and a less soft-looking front fascia.

As seen in recent spy shots, the Vitz/Yaris has grown a bit, mainly to provide a bit more accommodation space for passengers. The revised three- and five-door body package is now 153 inches long; the lengthier U.S.-spec sedan will probably  see no change in dimensions.

Inside the liftback and hatch designs, engineers found another 1.4 inches of interior length for some always welcomed legroom. The front seats employ a new frame for improved comfort and the drivers seat was specifically endowed with extra ranges in adjustability for preferred seating positions. The cargo hold is 5.7 inches deeper than before.

Other changes to the Vitz/Yaris include the use of special ultraviolet ray-reducing glass on the front windows that supposedly stops 99 percent of UV light upon contact. The Japanese market Vitz has three small engine options — 1.0-liter, 1.3-liter, and 1.5-liter inline-fours — plus front- or all-wheel drive. The U.S. will likely retain the 1.5-liter four and front-wheel drive arrangement currently in use.

A Smart Stop package is also used overseas to achieve spectacular fuel consumption figures. Based on the Japanese drive cycle, a Vitz fitted with the 1.3-liter engine, continuously variable transmission (standard across the line in Japan), and front-wheel drive is capable of around 62 combined mpg. Once shut off, Toyota says the engine needs just 0.35 second to restart.

Since its launch in 1999, Toyota has sold over 3.5 million Vitz/Yaris models around the world. Back then, we knew it as the Echo. Stateside Yaris fans will have to wait a little while longer for the official confirmation on their favorite subcompact car will arrive here.

Source: Toyota

I can live with the design changes to include the longer car, but want to upgrade to the 1.3, 62mpg version....otherwise I will drive my 2008 2 door hatch until the wheels fall off. The 1.3 can't be that much different in power than the 1.5 version? this about economical/reliable transportation in a small package, not power....bring the 1.3 to the USA... Toyota...are ya listening?
No! I like the "soft" looking one they have right now :D don't like this one
They had better offer the 1.3 litre engine in the US or I will not buy one. I loved my Scion XA so much I bought two. The 1.3 engine with auto transmission got 35 to 37mpg. Nice. Are you paying attention Toyota. I've owned over 25 cars in my lifetime and I know what I like.

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