• Jan 4th 2006 at 8:00PM
  • 18

Joel attend the North American debut of the Yaris, which was first launched in Europe in 1999. It was named the 2000 European “Car of the Year” and has gone on to become Toyota’s bestseller in the European market. This Euro born-and-bred economy car will replace the Echo in the U.S., which means none of us can whine any longer about never getting any good imports from automakers’ European brands.

Styled in Europe, the Yaris comes as either a sedan or liftback, the latter in either a base configuration or as the “sport-themed” Yaris S that includes side rocker panels, front and rear bumper spoilers, and 15-inch steel wheels that are also available in aluminum.

The Yaris will be sold with only one engine, a 1.5L four-cylinder with VVT-I that produces 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. EPA estimates put the Yaris Liftback at 34 city/40 highway (manual) and 34 city/39 highway (automatic).

It’s clear that Toyota intends to keep the price down here, as many safety features are available only as option including ABS, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags.



LOS ANGELES, January 4, 2005 - - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. unveiled the all-new Yaris Sedan at a press conference today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2007 Toyota Yaris will make its U.S. debut when it arrives in showrooms this spring in four-door Sedan and three-door Liftback configurations.

First launched in Europe in 1999, the Yaris was named the 2000 European “Car of the Year” and has become Toyota’s best-selling model in the European market. In fact, Yaris was also named “Japan Car of the Year,” marking the first time the same vehicle captured both honors in the same year. For the U.S., the Yaris will replace the ECHO in the subcompact passenger-car segment.

“As Toyota’s most affordable passenger car, the Yaris will feature contemporary exterior styling and a surprising upscale interior,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “It will be one of the most economic and youthful passenger cars Toyota has built in the subcompact category.”
The Yaris Liftback will be offered in one grade, while the Sedan will offer two grades, adding a sport-themed Yaris S.

Contemporary Styling
Yaris Liftback was styled at Toyota’s European design studio, ED² and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Design Division. Both the Sedan and Liftback feature class-up styling, and a new level of refinement, sophistication, and fun-to-drive experience to the entry subcompact segment. Both Yaris configurations ride on an all-new platform that is longer and wider than its European predecessor, and will be the basis for a wide variety of future vehicles.

Yaris construction includes high-tensile steel, creating a lightweight yet rigid body to help enhance driving control and responsive steering. Reduced NVH is made possible with the application of damping materials in strategic locations throughout the vehicle.

The Liftback features a strong, modern mono-form shape made possible by its short overhangs and a low center of gravity exuding a youthful and proud stance. Color-keyed door handles and rear view mirrors contribute to the Liftback’s consistent profile from front to rear. The front features a chrome-trimmed front grille centered between sharp character lines, which are integrated into its aerodynamic hood and windshield. Outer molding has been eliminated from the windshield and door glass to help enhance aerodynamics and reduce wind noise. The rear portrays a more substantial appearance with large taillights and a wide rear door for easy and ample cargo area access.

The Yaris Sedan has a long stretched cabin with an arched beltline and its tires pushed outward at each corner. Integrated bumpers and headlamps as well as a low center of gravity give the Yaris Sedan a modern and sophisticated look. Like the Liftback, it features a “T” face grille, which emphasizes the Toyota identity. In the rear, the taillights are bookends to a wide trunk that extends down to the bumper molding, which provides a more substantial appearance and allows for easy trunk access. Both the Liftback and Sedan will ride on P175/65 R14 tires with steel wheels and full wheel covers and offer available 15-inch steel or aluminum alloy wheels.

The Yaris S Sedan is designed to appeal to buyers looking for sporty styling. Side rocker panels, front and rear under bumper spoilers, 15-inch steel wheels and available aluminum alloy wheels give the Yaris S a more aggressive appearance.
Spacious and Practical Interior

The Yaris Liftback interior provides unexpected roominess and a comfortable cabin. The upscale interior provides remarkable design with four-way adjustable fabric front seats and reclining rear seating for three with headrests in all seating positions. The rear seats also fold down, providing nearly 13 cubic feet of cargo space.

Simplicity and practicality are built into the Yaris Liftback with easy-to-reach audio and climate controls, an array of storage spaces including a center console with built-in storage, and cupholders in the front and rear. The instrument cluster is center-mounted, high on the dash providing easy reach and visibility.
Standard convenience features on both the Liftback and Sedan include air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, a gated shift lever (automatic transmission only), tinted glass, digital clock, a map light, intermittent windshield wipers with mist control, and dual sunvisors with vanity mirrors.

With the longest wheelbase among key competitors, the Yaris Sedan interior conveys a feeling of spaciousness and unexpected refinement not usually found in a subcompact. The front dash is designed with center-mounted instrumentation, which is integrated with a stylish silver-painted center console. Storage and cupholders are in abundance, front and rear. Like the Liftback, the Sedan has rear seating for three with headrests in each seating position. Standard on the Yaris S and available on the Sedan are 60/40 fold down rear seats with a fold-down center armrest and cupholder. Folding the 60/40 split rear seats enlarges the trunk capacity, providing nearly 14 cubic feet of total cargo space.

Fun-To-Drive Performance and Handling
Powering both the Yaris Liftback and Sedan will be a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that will produce 106 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 RPM. Both the Liftback and Sedan will be mated to either a five-speed manual or available four-speed automatic transmission. All Yaris models with an automatic transmission will be equipped with uphill/downhill shift logic to help reduce the frequency of gear shifting caused by the operation of the accelerator pedal during winding uphill and downhill driving.

Yaris fuel efficiency will be among the highest in the subcompact segment. A preliminary EPA fuel economy mpg rating for the Liftback is estimated at 34 city/40 highway for the five-speed manual and 34 city/39 highway for models equipped with the four-speed automatic. Fuel efficiency ratings for the Yaris Sedan are equally impressive with preliminary EPA mpg estimates of 34 city/40 highway for the five-speed manual and 34 city/39 highway for the automatic.
In addition to its exceptional fuel efficiency, Yaris will be EPA-certified as an Ultra-Low Emission vehicle (ULEV II).

Yaris will ride on a strong, stiffer chassis thanks to a newly developed suspension that includes a rigid L-arm MacPherson strut front and rear torsion beams. The stiff suspension and retuned steering gear ratios help to deliver fun-to-drive handling and excellent maneuverability with a class leading turning radius. As one example of Toyota’s focus on continually improved production techniques, a new hydroformed torsion beam in the rear suspension provides necessary anti-roll stabilization, eliminating the need for a separate anti-roll bar.

The new Yaris helps protect its occupants with a reinforced cabin using front and rear crumple zones and energy-absorbing materials on the roof and doors. Yaris will be equipped with height adjustable headrests and three-point seatbelts in all five seating positions. The front seatbelts include pretensioners and force limiters. The rear seat will be equipped with the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) uniform child restrain anchorage system.

Safety is also addressed with standard driver and passenger advanced dual-stage front airbags that inflate at a higher or lower speed, according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor is designed to determine if there is a person in the seat as well as the person’s weight category to determine whether the airbag should inflate and at the correct inflation power. Front-seat-mounted side airbags with first and second row roll-sensing side curtain airbags will also be available.
All Yaris models will also offer anti-lock brakes (ABS) as an option.

In addition to the array of standard convenience, performance, and safety features, Yaris will offer additional options to provide variety and enhance the customer’s overall driving experience.

Yaris options include ABS, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags and cold area package. A convenience package is standard on all Yaris S and available on the Sedan and Liftback. The convenience package adds an AM/FM CD player with MP3 readability and universal mini-jack port, a rear defogger, 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, a 60/40 folding rear seat (Sedan only) and a rear wiper (Liftback only).

Also available on Liftback, Sedan and S Sedan is a Power Package offering power locks, windows, and mirrors. For the Sedan, it also includes a tachometer, upgraded trim with integrated audio, cruise control, and ABS. For the Liftback, it adds a 60/40 split rear seat that slides, reclines, and folds completely flat.
With the Power Package consumers can also add 15-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, rear spoiler, remote keyless entry, or immobilizer (Sedan only) as stand alone options.

Yaris will offer a choice of 13 different exterior colors with only two, Polar White and Black Sand Pearl, shared by both the Liftback and Sedan. Additional available exterior colors for the Liftback include Blazing Blue, Meteorite Metallic, Absolutely Red, and Bayou Blue. All Liftback exterior colors are matched with a Dark Charcoal interior fabric.

Additional exterior colors for the Yaris Sedan include Pacific Blue Metallic, Flint Mica, Silver Streak Mica, Barcelona Red Metallic, Olive Mist, Jade Sea Metallic, and Nautical Blue Metallic. Yaris Sedan exterior colors will be complemented with a choice of two interior fabric colors, Dark Charcoal and Beige.

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle limited warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60 months/60,000 miles and corrosion perforation for 60 months with no mileage limitation.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've had the Yaris for about 6 months now. I like the whole car - dashboard and all. I have the 1.3L 4-door auto version.

      My only gripe is the fuel economy... i'm getting about 9 litres per 100km !

      Anyone else have the same issue?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Love at first sight( "Yaris S" version)! I love the exterior of this car! Beautiful! Only draw back, is the layout of the speedo. I guess it's just different and change scares people; learn to live a little! I'm sure it would take some getting used to but I wouldn't mind.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Whining Americans, did you forget why you should buy a vehicle? how about save gas, cheap and what the hell..it looks great! Who cares about the dashboard, I think its innovative and don't see a problem, many friends have actually compleminted me on the new look. What do you expect for the price? if you want to save money on gas and still get to where you need to in one piece...I recommend this car.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Great article. If anyone else is interested in the Toyota Yaris, be sure to check out the Toyota Yaris Forums at:

      • 9 Years Ago
      I bought one of these cars last month, though I believe the model I bought is unavailable in the US. Marketers there figure the 4-dr hatch is a non-starter in the US. In that case, all I can say is too bad for the US customer.

      USA Today's mean-spirited carman tainted this vehicle with faint praise. I do believe he will come to eat his words. I get lots of interest with this Yaris, and not only from other Toyota owners. Additionally, this so-called writer didn't need to fudge on the fuel mileage figures as part of his argument against buying this obviously cute, well-balanced car. I got 500 km out of the break-im tank provided by the dealership. I didn't want (and wouldn't buy) a Corolla. A guy I know just bought a 2-y/o 50K km Corolla for almost the same money as I bought my Yaris. Clearly, I got the better deal - and brand new.

      There are two other cars in the family: a Saab 9-3 (4-dr hatch) and a Subaru Legacy GT driven by the nursing school student/upscale restaurent waitress, so take it from there.

      1st thing I did, as I live in Canada, was change out the tires for Nokian WRs (perhaps the only true all-season radial in the world), having previously owned Nokian Hakkapellitta winters.

      Oh - and on the centre-placed instrument pod? If the tradeoff is for the handy glove compartment directly ahead of me, and Toyota and other research confirms instrument placement to the side is technically better than directly ahead, I'll take the side placement, thank you.

      Did I mention? The standard sound system is better than the one that came with the Saab. And how about that rear seat space? ECHO ran ads trying to get across to the buyer what was available in there. Looks alone will sell plenty of Yarises and you get MORE interior space to boot.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I am confused on how the 4 door sedan fits considering we have the Corolla here in North America. As far as I can tell, the Corolla is available with better engine configurations, and seems to get better fuel economy (41 highway) to boot.
      • 9 Years Ago
      i don't know why you people get so bent out of shape with the center instrument cluster on the yaris. i have an xA and it takes 5 minutes to adjust to it. another advantage of the center cluster is that you can tilt the steering wheel to where you want without it getting in the way of the speedometer (which was a problem for me when the speedometer was in front of the driver)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I just bought a Blazing Blue Liftback last night. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It's definitely a lot quicker than my '06 Scion xA. It actually has slightly more horsepower. The xA also had the center mounted speedo and I love the fact that Toyota has decided to keep it. You never really take your eyes off the road! The AC gauges will take some getting used to, but that's nothing compared to the money I'll be saving on gas. I plan on having it for a very long time!
      • 9 Years Ago
      UM seriously...

      the Corolla is billed as 40mpg

      the Yaris is also 40mpg

      how the F*** can that be? the car is like half the weight and size and gets the same MPG?

      Total proof the EPA MPG is a bullshi* archaic tool that needs revamping.
      • 9 Years Ago
      i just bought the yaris sedan just over a week ago, and i couldn't be happier with my purchase. not only is cool to have one of the first ones in my area around here, but i love the space i have.

      and the whole center console thing, it took only a few minutes to get used to, and now i can't think of how i drove with the spedometer in front of me. not to mention i got the power package, so i got the cool aux input for my mp3 player...i'm one happy girl.

      this car beats the corolla in every way

      (my opinion of course)
      • 9 Years Ago
      To everyone complaining about the center console: IT GIVES YOU BETTER VISIBILITY!! Im sure half of you dont even look at at it when its infront of you. I just bought a yaris liftback as a my commuter car a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE IT, the gas mileage is insane:400 miles to the tank, the ride is smooth, the car actually has some power... totally surprised me on the test drive. Sure, its a bit plasticky on the inside but that was expected with the price tag. Now go get one! =)
      • 9 Years Ago
      Why does toyota put the speedo and tach in the center of the freaking console!?!?!? Once I saw that I knew wasnt going to buy it. It's the same reason why I didnt buy the Scion xA.
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