2001 Toyota WiLL VS

Where there's a WiLL, there's a way. Toyota Motor Corporation is offering Southern California car enthusiasts a unique look at a new styling direction for young new-car buyers in the Japan market. Visitors at the 2001 Los Angeles Auto Show will be able to see the all-new WiLL Concept Car at the Toyota exhibit when the show opens January 6.

The WiLL Concept Car is in Los Angeles to gauge the response of trend-setting California youth, which TMC hopes will provide them with marketing insight they can use in Japan.

The development of the WiLL Concept Car was a joint effort between WiLL, a popular brand name for several products in the Japan marketplace, and the Virtual Venture Company (VVC), an organization within TMC. Established in 1997, VVC is charged with giving Toyota a more youthful image and customer base by identifying future trends, developing marketing plans for vehicles positioned toward younger buyers and creating a youth sub-brand strategy.

The WiLL Concept Car is a sporty five-door specialty vehicle with a coupe-like silhouette that offers fun, practicality and performance. The unique exterior design is composed of a concave surface and sharp character lines. Styling is further enhanced with projector headlamps, and gray privacy glass on the rear doors and hatch. The sleek rear design conveys strength and aggressiveness, while the rear hatch allows for easy cargo access.

The interior offers seating for five and a design that complements its vibrant exterior. Unique features include a special instrument panel with red Optitron gauges, a slanting center console, a fighter-jet-inspired shift lever and high-back front seats. Additional interior features include a three-spoke sport steering wheel, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, and 60/40 folding rear seats for added cargo capacity.

The WiLL's unique styling is complemented with impressive performance capability. Powered by the same 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that is currently available on the popular Celica GT-S here in the U.S., the WiLL Concept Car generates 180 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 130 lbs./ft. of torque at 6,800 rpm. The engine is equipped with variable valve timing and lift, with intelligence control (VVTL-i) to inject an extra dose of performance from 6,000 rpm to the redline at 7,800 rpm. VVTL-i increases the intake/exhaust lift when the engine speed is high to improve output and fuel efficiency.

The engine is linked to a four-speed automatic transmission equipped with sport-shift steering-wheel mounted buttons, similar to a Formula One race car. The sport-shift feature allows "manual" shifting of the automatic transmission via buttons embedded in the steering wheel when the gear shift lever is in the "M" mode position. To upshift, simply press one of the two buttons on the back of the steering wheel spokes then depress one of the two buttons on the front of the spokes to downshift.

Braking performance on the front-wheel drive WiLL Concept Car is enhanced by front and rear discs and excellent ride performance is achieved with 18-inch alloy wheels.

A production version of the WiLL Concept Car is slated to go on sale in the Japan market in the future. The WiLL Concept Car is the second vehicle under the WiLL brand to be built by Toyota. The first WiLL vehicle, the Vi, has been on sale in Japan since January 2000. VVC is currently studying the possibilities of expanding the WiLL vehicle series that would again be aimed at the youth market, but no decisions have been made.

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