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The Tiny, Subcompact Yaris Not As Tiny in 2012

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On: Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 9:45AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Tiny, Subcompact Yaris Not As Tiny in 2012

Though the auto media has seemed to exaggerate the growth of small cars in light of this year's record-tickling gas prices—small car sales actually dropped last month—there are undoubtedly many consumers looking closer at subcompacts, possibly for the first time. Well, for those looking at the Toyota Yaris, the transition to tiny subcompact could be slightly easier. Toyota has increased the size of the Yaris for the 2012 model year, adding passenger and cargo space, along with making a few other notable revisions.

The Yaris gets stretched by three inches. In a world where we tend to deal in miles and feet, three inches doesn't sound like much, but according to Automotive News it's enough to seat a six-foot driver-side rear passenger comfortably behind a six-foot driver. If you fold the rear seats, storage increases up to 68 percent over the outgoing Yaris.

The Yaris also gets bigger in an indirect way: Toyota will offer only the hatchback version for 2012. Both three- and five-door models will continue to be offered.

Toyota has also made several former options standard equipment. Gear-like 15-inch wheels, power door locks, a CD player and USB port now come standard on all Yaris models. The interior has been redesigned with upgraded fabrics, sound-absorbing materials that make for a quieter ride, relocated, driver-side instrument panel and new, three-spoke tilt steering wheel.

The new Yaris will keep the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Transmission options are a four-speed automatic, and a five-speed manual (L and SE trim levels only).

Of course, you don't typically get something for nothing and the 2012 Yaris is no exception. The car will base at $14,115–$1,000 more than the 2011 model

Toyota will eschew traditional television and print ads in marketing the new Yaris, relying on viral videos. Hinting that the videos should be fun and tongue and cheek, Toyota revealed the new tagline will be "Yaris... It's a Car!"

Toyota will build the Yaris in Iwate, Japan. It will go on sale in early October and Toyota expects to sell 24,000 units per year.

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