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New, sportier 2012 Toyota Yaris

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.

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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

Toyota Yaris chin spoiler

In an effort to make the 2012 Yaris look a little sportier, Toyota added a new chin spoiler. It doesn't upgrade the drive significantly, but it tacks on some style.
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Photo by: Toyota

2012 Toyota Yaris tail spoiler

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.
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Photo by: Toyota

2012 Toyota Yaris engine

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.
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Photo by: Toyota

Toyota Yaris instrument panel

Toyota moved the instrument panel from the middle of the dash back into its native position in front of the driver, standardizing the passenger cabin.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

Toyota Yaris' sportier white panel face

Toyota redesigned the details inside the 2012 Toyota Yaris in an effort to make the car more modern and sporty, including the fabric and these white instrument faces.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

2012 Toyota Yaris interior front seats

Though the mix of colors and fabric seems mismatched in places, the interior of the 2012 Yaris is made up of environmentally reclaimed materials.
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Photo by: Toyota

2012 Toyota Yaris back seat

By widening the wheel base, Toyota increased the available space in the passenger compartment by 2 inches.
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Photo by: Toyota

Cargo space of the 2012 Toyota Yaris

By shorting the car's height and extending its wheel base by 2 inches, Toyota increased the available cargo space on the 2012 Toyota Yaris hatchback.
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Photo by: Toyota

2012 Toyota Yaris in its urban habitat

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.
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Photo by: Toyota

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