Frankfurt Auto ShowToyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday will unveil its all-new European-spec Yaris small car and RAV4 cross/utility models at the Frankfurt auto show.

The Yaris variants include a 3- and 5-door liftback.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. says when the vehicle reaches U.S. shores next spring as an '07 model, it will be sold with a 3-door body style and a yet-to-be-named variant. (See related story: Toyota Debuting RAV4, Yaris at Frankfurt)

The Yaris will make its U.S. debut at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. Show in Las Vegas on Nov. 2.

“The Yaris has been a hit in Europe, and we are looking forward to its debut in the U.S.,” says Jim Lentz, Toyota Div. Group vice president and general manager-TMSUSA.

Yaris 3-door liftback.

“As Toyota's most-affordable passenger car, the Yaris will feature modern exterior styling and a surprising and upscale interior,” he says. “It will be one of the most economic and youthful passenger cars Toyota has built.”

TMSUSA President Jim Press in August told Ward's the vehicle, while appealing to the young, would not tread on the same ground as Toyota's trendy Scion youth brand, sold only in the U.S.

“They are not for trend-setting people,” Press said of the Yaris models, which may or may not get new monikers in the U.S. “They are just mainstream market (vehicles).” (See related story: Toyota to Introduce Two New Small Cars)

The Yaris has been a hit since its 1999 debut in Europe. Sales have increased every year since then. The cars are built at the auto maker's Valenciennes, France, assembly plant, which plans to boost production by 30,000 units early next year. (See related story: Toyota Investing in French Assembly Plant)

The new second-generation Yaris was designed at Toyota's Europeanstudio, and Toyota promises class-up styling, as the vehicle rides on a new platform that is longer and wider than the current Yaris.

In the U.S. the Yaris will sport color-keyed mirrors and door handles as standard features, the auto maker says.

The U.S. market 3-door liftback will be powered by a 1.5L 4-cyl. engine with variable valve timing, rated at 106 hp and 103 lb.-ft. (140 Nm) of torque.

A 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission is offered.

The suspension will be an independent McPherson strut-type, with coil springs in the front, while the rear will employ a torsion beam with coil springs.

Seat-mounted side and front and rear side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes and an MP3-capable stereo system with mini-jack port will be offered as optional equipment.

New RAV4.

The new, larger '06 RAV4 cross/utility vehicle will go on sale in the U.S. in late December, Toyota says.

“Completely re-styled, the new RAV4 is larger and more powerful to provide the necessary utility and performance for active singles and the comfort, versatility and convenience to meet the demands of young couples with and without children,” Lentz says.

As with the Yaris, the RAV4's platform is longer and wider than the previous-generation, creating more interior space for passengers and cargo. Toyota says 14 ins. (36 cm) have been added to RAV4's length.

There is second-row seating for three and an optional third-row seat, a first in the RAV4's compact CUV segment.

For models without the third-row seating, there is under-floor storage space, which Toyota promises allows for cargo space comparable with that of a midsize SUV.

Two engines will be offered: a standard 2.4L 4-cyl. with VVT-i, delivering 166 hp and 165 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) of torque, and an optional 3.5L V-6 with dual VVT-i that Toyota promises will churn out a whopping 268 hp and 246 lb.-ft. (334 Nm) of torque - more powerful than some V-8-equipped SUVs.

A 4-speed automatic transmission is mated to the 4-cyl. engine, while a 5-speed automatic is mated to the V-6. Towing capacity is 3,500 lbs. (1,525 kg) with the V-6 tow prep package, while the 4-cyl. can haul 1,500 lbs. (653 kg). Toyota promises improved fuel economy with the engines.

Although the auto maker aims to roll out a hybrid-electric powertrain for most of its vehicle lineup in the U.S., Press told Ward's in August it was unlikely the RAV4 would get such an engine.

The RAV4 will come equipped with standard vehicle stability control, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

Seat-mounted side airbags for driver and front passenger and front- and second-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags are optional.

The vehicle's suspension is redesigned, with McPherson struts in front, and a double-wishbone, coil-spring setup in the back. Both front and back have stabilizer bars and hydraulic shock absorbers.

Toyota will offer three RAV4 grades: The Base and the all-new Sport and Limited. Two- and 4-wheel drive will be offered. The 4WD comes with Toyota's newest electronically controlled 4WD on-demand system, which has a manual 4WD-locking switch is features.

RAV4 equipment includes over-fenders, privacy glass, roof rack, 18-in. alloy wheels and unique interior seat fabric on the Sport grade. Dual-zone air conditioning, power driver seat and leather-trimmed seats are standard on the Limited.

Toyota says all trims will have an “aerodynamically sleek and sporty shape, with a wider stance and sharp character lines.”

cschweinsberg@primediabusiness.com