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Melbourne show: Toyota's sporting chance

Beefed up: The Echo Sportivo gains a gutsy 1.5-litre engine, as well as a host of other upgrades.

Toyota's exhibits at the Melbourne motor show include sporting variants of the Echo and Corolla

1 Mar 2001

TOYOTA aims to capture a greater share of the youth market with its new Sportivo variants of the Echo and Corolla - both of which were unveiled today at the Melbourne motor show.

The limited edition Corolla Sportivo features a turbocharged, 1.8-litre twin cam multi-valve engine as well as an assortment of other mechanical and cosmetic upgrades.

Similarly, the Echo Sportivo gets a performance boost from a 1.5-litre, twin cam VVT-I engine, full body kit, sports-styled interior and other enhancements.

The new Echo model goes on sale soon after the Melbourne motor show, with the Corolla Sportivo becoming available in April.

The two new models will be the first production vehicles to carry Toyota Australia's new Sportivo performance brand.

Toyota is also showing its Prius model - the world's first mass-produced hybrid-engined production car - at Melbourne. The car-maker is working with the Federal Government to gain approval to introduce the petrol-electric vehicle to the Australian market later this year.

The Prius combines petrol and electric motors to significantly lower fuel consumption and pollution.

Toyota is also using the Melbourne show to display the bB - a small multi-purpose wagon based on the same floorpan as Toyota's award-winning Echo small car, but featuring a tall, square body configuration to create more interior space.

The WiLL Vi - another car based on the Echo - is also on show on Toyota's stand.

The WiLL's 1940s-inspired styling and innovative interior have made it a hit with young Japanese buyers - particularly women - since it was released last year.

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