|New Toyota Echo/Yaris/Vitz|
Flaunting edgier exterior styling than its predecessor, with distinctive exposed headlamps, larger bumpers and tauter surfacing treatment – all reminiscent of the larger Prius, Toyota says it has placed less emphasis on woman buyers with the design of the new car. Instead, the new Echo has been styled to appeal to a broader market, in particular younger car buyers who have traditionally shunned the small Toyota.
In a bid to improve packaging the new five door supermini has grown by 3.9 inches (100mm) with a length of 152 inches (3885mm) in hatchback form – some 2.0 inche (50mm) of that coming from a longer 98.8 inch (2510mm) wheelbase. Width remains the same at 66.7 inches (1695mm) but height has dropped by 1.2 inches (30mm) on versions running standard suspension settings to 59.1 inches (1500mm). Inside, there’s a completely new interior boasting higher grade materials and an added 1.4 inches (35mm) of rear seat legroom.
When it goes on sale in Japan buyers will get the choice of three four-cylinder gasoline engines: a 68bhp 1.0-litre, 93bhp 1.3-litre and 107bhp 1.5-litre – the latter of which is also set to underpin sales of a new sedan version of the Echo planned to reach North America in late 2011.
Also under development is a hybrid version of the Echo, although at this early stage it remains unclear whether Toyota intends offering the gasoline-electric version of its new small hatchback/sedan outside of Japan.