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Motoring: Toyota Echo / Vitz / Yaris - 1999

Over the years, some car manufacturers have tended to make their vehicles larger with each new version of a particular model, until inventually, by the 5th or 6th generation model, it is nothing like the original. A prime example of a model's growth from one class size to another is the Toyota Corolla. When it was first released in 1966, the Corolla was a sub-compact 2 door sedan with an 1100 cc motor. Today, it is a 4 door compact with a 2 litre (in Australia) motor, and that is 20% longer that the 1st series. The current Corolla actually has a larger interior than the 1966 Corona, which was the next model up from the original Corolla.

During the 1990s, Toyota began developing a subcompact car with the option of 2 and 4-door models that was larger than the Vitz (sold s the Starlet in Australia) but smaller than the Corolla. The result was the Platz. "Platz" is German for "space" (as defined by "the interior room is spacious"). Only inline-four engines were fitted to the Platz, which was sold in Japan as a four-door sedan only. The vehicle was released into the internstional market in 4 door sedan and 2 door coupe ford. In Australia, as in North America, the vehicle was named the Toyota Echo. In some markets, it was called the Toyota Yaris, a name which is now used for the vehicle across all international markets.

Toyota redesigned the Vitz in early 2005, going on sale in Japan that February. The Toyota Belta sedan shares underpinnings with the Vitz. The European, Australian, Canadian, Mexican, Venezuelan and Puerto Rican markets saw the second generation Vitz near the end of 2005. In the Australian and North American markets, the car was sold as the Yaris for the first time.

The third generation of the Toyota Yaris for the Australian market was revealed at the July 2011 Australian International Motor Show held in Melbourne. The new Yaris has a sportier, more rounded grille and redesigned front bumper. The Australian Yaris comes in either a 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre powered petrol engine. Models sold are the basic YR, the mid-range YRS, YRX and the sportier ZR which features a sporty bumper with bodykit. The basic YR model features 7 SRS airbags and Multi-Information Display as standard.

1999 Toyota Echo

1999 Toyota Yaris

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