One more addition to the "cool small cars that we don't get in North-America" category (as opposed to small cars that we will get, like this one): the Toyota Ractis. It seems like a great vehicle that could meet the needs of a majority of car buyers and become quite popular if it was available here. Small outside, big inside, the Japanese version is powered by either a 1.3-liter (87hp) or 1.5-liter (110hp) VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) engine that exceeds by 5% the level called for by the 2010 Japanese fuel efficiency standards and achieve emission levels 75% lower than the 2005 standards. The 1.5 model is also available with all wheel drive (AWD), and a panoramic glass roof is also optional. More below, including lots of pictures.The Ractis is built using Toyota's Eco-Vehicle Assessment System (Eco-VAS); "LCA (Life-cycle Assessment) was [...] carried out, aiming at reductions of CO2 and other atmospheric pollutants, not just during the use stage, but also during the entire lifecycle of the Ractis, from manufacture through disposal."
The transmission is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that provides higher fuel economy than a regular automatic, and it has a seven-speed "Sports Sequential Shiftmatic" mode.
We wonder what it will take for Toyota and other companies (including GM/Opel) to bring these cars here in North-America. We know that Mexico is already getting more models than Canada and the US, but still, now is a good time to make a big move and change the automotive landscape for the better (before we can take the next step...).
Here are photos:
::Official Toyota Ractis Website, ::Beyond.ca Forum, ::ToyotaNation Forum, ::2006 Toyota Ractis, ::New Toyota Ractis Launched