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July 23, 2008

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Toyota Expands Yaris Line for 2009 With Third Model and New Safety Features

TORRANCE, Calif. - Toyota is adding a five-door Liftback to its popular, fuel-efficient Yaris subcompact model line for 2009. The versatile new five-door Yaris joins the three-door Liftback and four-door Sedan, making Yaris the only model line in its segment to offer a full complement of three body styles. Toyota projects 130,000 Yaris sales for calendar year 2009, with the new five-door accounting for about a third of those. Yaris five-door will begin arriving in dealerships in August.

Also new for 2009, all Yaris models feature as standard equipment an anti-lock brake system (ABS), front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear curtain side airbags. Cruise control is now available on Liftback models, and audio systems are satellite ready/capable. Yaris delivers outstanding fuel economy and for 2008 was awarded the lowest cost of ownership in its segment according to Intellichoice(R).

The Toyota Yaris brings a high level of balanced value, safety and a fun-to-drive experience to the entry subcompact segment. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and produces 106 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 RPM. The optional four-speed automatic transmission features uphill/downhill shift logic to reduce gear "hunting" for smooth performance when driving in hills. A five-speed manual is the standard transmission.

The Yaris Sedan rides on a 100.4-inch wheelbase versus 96.9 inches for both Liftback models. The Yaris Sedan has an overall length of 169.3 inches compared to 150.6 inches for the Liftback models, and the Sedan is 2.5 inches lower than the Liftbacks, as well.

The Yaris is built around a highly rigid yet lightweight structure incorporating strategic use of high-tensile steel. Damping materials strategically located throughout the body structure reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) to help give Yaris a comfortable, quiet ride. Suspension and steering are tuned to deliver responsive handling, a smooth ride and excellent maneuverability, including a remarkably tight 32.6-ft. turning radius. Both the Yaris Liftback and Sedan ride on standard P175/65 R14 tires with steel wheels and full wheel covers (Sedan and Liftback S have standard P185/60R15) and offer available newly-styled 15-inch steel or aluminum-alloy wheels.

The instrument cluster is center-mounted and high on the dash to enhance forward visibility. Generous standard convenience features on Yaris Liftback and Sedan models include air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; digital clock; a map light; intermittent windshield wipers with mist control; and dual sunvisors with vanity mirrors. All models offer 60/40 split rear seating for three with headrests in each seating position.

Sporty S models have a newly designed front and rear underbody spoiler and a new interior color scheme distinguishes Yaris Sport models for 2009. The sport-themed Liftback and Sedan S models feature color-keyed front and rear under-bumper spoilers, sporty interior trim, rear deck spoiler, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA capability, satellite ready, integrated iPod audio unit, universal mini-jack port and "S" badging. Aluminum-alloy wheels are available.

Pricing for the all-new five-door model will be announced later this month.

Photos: Toyota

(July 22, 2008)

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