Oh, and it's got character, too - that little something most observers felt its minuscule predecessor, the Starlet, missed out on until it reached used market maturity and was ready to begin a new, but usually short, life as a stripped-out economy stock racing car. More often, manufacturers expect badge appeal to radiate downwards from their larger volume models. But with Toyota we're talking Corolla and Avensis - both highly commendable, solid and reliable car ranges, but not exactly objects of automotive desire.
Toyoda's implication is, however, that in the Yaris three-door and five-door hatchbacks, with all their chic and compact cleverness, we should see the shape of mid-range and upper-medium cars to come. Whether Yaris has the power to push image uphill remains to be seen, but Toyota's timing couldn't have been better with its launch. It comes when about the only thing agreed upon in Government circles, and by those running round in environment circles, is that cars need to be small and clean.