The 2012 Toyota Yaris. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

The 2012 Toyota Yaris is on the fast track

High mileage vehicles are selling well this summer and the 2012 Toyota Yaris seems to be hitting a sweet spot - sales are up 140 percent in April over last year with a 70 percent increase so far in 2012.

Why is this compact commuter making it big? It has a lot to do with its performance, safety, comfort and fuel efficiency. If all you really need is reliable transportation at a good price point and better mileage than you’re accustomed to, how can you go wrong with a Toyota at a base price of $14,114 that gets up to 38-mpg on the freeway?

Given a choice of three or five-door models, each comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence producing 106-hp in a car weighing only 2295 lbs. – that’s all it takes to make a compact perform.

How safe can such a small car be, you ask? Well first there’s nine airbags and the Toyota Star Safety system, which includes all the modern stability, traction and braking technology. Then the 2012 Yaris also features a impact resistant cabin with front and rear crumple zones plus energy-dampening materials in both the roof and doors.

The airbags include front-row advanced dual-stage front units, front-seat-mounted side, driver knee, front seat-cushion plus side-curtain airbags for both front and back.

Cargo and Passenger Capacity of The 2012 Yaris

Though it’s hard to believe the compact 2012 Toyota Yaris can transport five adults in relative comfort, it features 84.4 cubic feet of passenger space plus an extra 15.3 cubic feet of cargo room.

All three rear seating positions have headrests. The driver is treated to handy controls, and a center-mounted gauge array allows for excellent visibility. A plethora of storage spaces are ready for personal gear and air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, rear defogger and variable speed wipers all come standard in this inexpensive, efficient package.

If additional cargo area is needed, the rear seats fold down, either completely or on a 60/40 basis, creating up to 25.7 cubic feet of space for luggage or other necessities. However, the split seat is available only on the higher trim levels.

Attractive for a small car, the 2012 Yaris has a front end accented by sharp lines flowing into the hood and windshield. Aerodynamics, and the reduction of wind noise, were enhanced by eliminating moldings on the windshield and door glass. In back, the tail lamps have been pushed to the side to frame a wider trunk lid.

If the transition to a compact car is hard to swallow, you can opt for the SE model with five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, 16-inch alloy wheels and tires, a sport-tuned suspension, crisper steering and integrated fog lamps.

The 2012 Toyota Yaris comes with Toyota Care at any trim level, covering normal factory maintenance over the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership.

There are a lot of commuter cars on the market, but few of them provide so many features at such an attractive price point.

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