2012 Toyota Yaris: Up Close at Lollapalooza


YarisGenerally, we don’t get up close with a new model before it is officially announced. But thanks to marketing miracles, we bring you the first look at the 2012 Toyota Yaris from the rock spectacle known as Lollapalooza 2011. The three-day festival in Chicago’s Grant Park was a perfect target market for Toyota. That’s probably why the brand wanted to get the redesigned Yaris in front of those eyeballs ahead of the media. Fortunately, Cars.com editor Joe Bruzek attended Lollapalooza last weekend, and on his day off he filed a full report, including information from spec sheets being handed out to interested concert-goers.

According to the sheet, for the LE model on display, the Yaris comes equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, like the current model. It says 2012 mileage with an automatic is expected to be 30/35 mpg city/highway compared with the 2011’s 29/35 mpg. The manual will get 30/38 mpg versus the 2011’s 29/36 mpg. The four-door hatchback on display also comes with air conditioning, tilt steering wheel with audio controls, power windows with auto-down on the driver’s side, CD stereo with USB input and iPod capability, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, 15-inch steel wheels, and nine airbags. There will be a base L trim level, LE and top of the line SE.

Bruzek noted that the proportions of the car seem a little “off” with the dominant front end overwhelming an otherwise very small car. He also approved of Toyota ridding the Yaris of the center-mounted gauge cluster. It now resides in front of the steering wheel as is typical. And while there may be some traditional traits, Bruzek thought the design is much more interesting than the previous Yaris and is more Scion-like. The interior materials are softer to the touch he says and a big improvement.

The Yaris will go on sale in early September/late October. We’ll have much more information on pricing, trim levels and equipment later this month.