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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota has unveiled the first official images of the third-generation 2011 Toyota Yaris (Vitz in Japan), revealing a restyled city hatch with a sharper exterior, improved technology and reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

The new Yaris will arrive in Australia in the second half of 2011, and is expected to feature a similar mechanical line-up to current model, with a 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engine range.

Toyota Japan says the new 1.3-litre Yaris will be able to achieve combined cycle fuel consumption of 3.8 litres/100km – although under Australian standards that figure is likely to rise to around 5.0 litres/100km.

The Yaris achieves those tidy numbers thanks to the implementation of Toyota’s Stop & Start idling-stop system, which kills the engine at idle and restarts it within 0.35 seconds. In Japan, the engine will be accompanied by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) only.

It is not clear whether the models destined for Australia will feature either Stop & Start or CVT. Neither is available on the current model.

The new Yaris will also be offered with a 1.5-litre engine, which in Japan is paired to both a CVT and a five-speed manual transmission.

Overall vehicle length has grown by 60mm to 3885mm, and Toyota says this has translated to 35mm extra legroom for back-row passengers.

The front seats use a new frame and the driver’s seat is now considerably more functional, with a greater range of motion and more precise settings.

The boot is 145mm deeper and features an adjustable deck board that can be set at two places depending on what you’re carrying.

The Japanese version is full of gadgets as usual, although Australia will get a less well-equipped version. Toyota says it is the first vehicle in the world to use UV-reducing glass in the front doors, which cuts 99 percent of UV light, apparently providing the same level of protection as wearing gloves.

The vehicle also features a single windscreen wiper with an integrated washer nozzle, automatic headlights, a colour monitor with HDD navigation and reversing camera, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. In its domestic market it will be offered with a choice of 17 different exterior colours and four interior trim options.

The Japanese-spec Yaris will come with front, side and curtain airbags but misses out on standard electronic stability control.

Japanese pricing starts from 1,060,000 yen ($12,680) for the entry-level 1.0-litre model and tops out at 1,790,000 yen ($21,410) for the top-spec 1.5-litre CVT.

More details on the Australian launch, specifications, and pricing of the 2011 Toyota Yaris will be revealed in the coming months.




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