toyota ractis 290 pr photo

Targeted at the Japanese domestic market, the 4-seater Ractis features "high-speed, high-capacity styling," according to Toyota. The compact people-mover comes in FWD or 4WD versions, powered by 1.3- or 1.5-liter VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing - Intelligent) engines, operating through either an active CVT-i transmission (an intelligent CVT), or a seven-speed Sports Sequential Shiftmatic transmission with paddle shift controls.

The Ractis is available with a panoramic glass roof (pictured), and an upscale (by compact standards) interior package. Most models will sell for less than $15,000, including Japanese market consumption tax. JDM products are built to very stringent fuel economy, safety and environmental regulations - it's interesting to see the impact on product design. As regulations tighten up in the rest of the world, cars like the Ractis may well be a preview of future products elsewhere.