CULVER CITY, Calif.--Toyota gathered the media here recently to test-drive the new Yaris, a car aimed wholeheartedly at the young crowd. As the 2012 model year arrives, the Toyota Yaris sedan fades away in favor of three hatchback designs. The entry-level L and the "value-packaged LE" come in both three- and five-door liftback setups. The sport-tuned SE is available only as a five-door.
All three variations of the 2012 Toyota Yaris include a rear-end spoiler. Added to a slightly shorter profile and a wider wheel base, the entire package looks to make the little hatch more stable at speed.
Both the three-door and five-door 2012 Yaris models are powered by a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine capable of 106 hp. It sits vertically in the front end of the car, shortening the vehicle's nose.
Toyota is promoting the 2012 Yaris as its urban transportation answer. The automaker hopes the Yaris' 38 highway mpg and tight turning radius make it popular with folks who need to zip in and out of traffic and park in tight spots.