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Toyota has released the first official photographs of the successor to its successful light car, the Yaris.

The company catch cry for the Yaris has always been “compact outside, spacious inside” and while that might be ‘marketing speak’ it’s pretty much on the money, as far as the overall design of the car goes.

It’s a vitally important model for Toyota and the 2012 Yaris will need to improve on the current design significantly, given the class of competition around in the light car category these days.

The big news is ‘affordable multimedia connectivity’ through what Toyota calls ‘Toyota Touch & Go’. According to Toyota in the UK, it will be standard kit on nearly 95 percent of sales. At the heart of the system is a 6.1-inch touch screen display, although details of what exactly its functionality will be are unknown at this stage, but let’s hope it includes speech texting.

Toyota also says the car will be built to the highest engineering standards, and quality materials and soft touch surfaces will feature strongly in the car’s interior.

Engine-wise, the Yaris will be available with three fuel-efficient, low emission powertrains; 1.0-litre VVTi, 1.33 dual VVTi and a diesel variant in the 1.4 D-4D, which Toyota Australia has confirmed this morning, is being looked at for this market.

There will be a new Toyota Yaris show car at this year’s Melbourne Motor Show, but the car won’t be released in Australia until the fourth quarter of 2011.