By on December 28, 2011

On the second day of Christmas, Toyota officially launched what will be known as the “Aqua” in Japan, or the “Prius C” in the U.S. and elsewhere. It will also be known as “the world’s most fuel efficient hybrid car.” At least that’s what Reuters calls it.

TTAC’s Best & Brightest have known the car since mid November, personally presented by Toyota’s Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso. What he could not reveal at the time was the price. In Japan, the car will be available at a starting price of 1.69 million yen ($21,600).

Fully decked out, it will cost Japanese buyers 1.85 million yen ($23,800).

The compact hybrid costs less that the bigger Prius, but it costs more than its competitors.

The Nikkei [sub] does the math:

“Honda Motor Co.’s Fit compact hybrid, which runs 26 km/liter, has a starting price of Y1.59 million. Mazda Motor Corp.’s Demio gasoline engine-powered compact runs 25 km/l and has a starting price of Y1.4 million.”

The Japanese government will kick in 210,000 yen ($2,700).

The Aqua boast a fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L in the JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L in the MLIT 10-15 test cycle. That would be 83 mpg, or 94 mpg respectively, if Japan would test like the EPA, which it does not.

The Aqua achieves that fuel efficiency with a  smaller, lighter and more efficient 1.5-liter Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II). Says Toyota:

“A cooled Exhaust-Gas Recirculation (EGR) system improves efficiency in the high-expansion-ratio Atkinson cycle engine.  Also contributing to increased engine efficiency is a battery-powered water pump, a friction-reducing beltless design and precise coolant-water-flow volume control. The hybrid transaxle, which includes the power control unit, the power-generation motor and drive motor, has also been designed to be small and light.”

According to The Nikkei, Toyota has already received orders for 60,000 Aqua, five times the monthly sales target of 12,000 vehicles. If you would order an Aqua today in Japan, it would take four months for the car to arrive.

The car is slated for sale in 50 countries, including the U.S., as the Prius C. In Europe, Toyota will release a new small hybrid based on the Yaris compact. It will use the same hybrid system as the Aqua. Timing for the overseas launch has not been released.

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48 Comments on “„World’s Most Fuel Efficient Hybrid“ Goes On Sale In Japan...”


  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    I will be disappointed if I don’t see 55 MPG out of the Prius C
    BD

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Fuel efficiency isn’t the reason this car is environmentally unfriendly.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Please, enlighten us. And don’t rely on thoroughly disproven internet memes.

    • 0 avatar
      kingofgix

      Fuel efficiency isn’t the reason, nor is anything else the reason. Overall, its about as environmentally friendly as any other similar compact car. The reason Prius haters exist is sort of beyond me, as is their idiocy. If you don’t like the car, I suggest you don’t buy one. If other people like the car they probably will buy one, just like any other vehicle. You shouldn’t let it bother you so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        The haters are the main reason I’d buy a Prius. It would be a stick in the eye to exactly the right people.

        I’d try to resist buying an “I may be slow, but I’m ahead of you” bumper sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      MZ3AUTOXR

      The question/issue for me with hybrids is the savings over an identical car that is not a hybrid. In other words, what would the Prius get if it were just an ICE?

      I suspect (based on comparing the Camry and Fusion against their 4 cyl nin-hybrid equivilants) that the highway would be about the same, maybe a little less. City driving is the big difference.

      Which means if you do very little city driving, you are wasting your money on a hybrid. Even worse, if you buy one for mostly highway, all that energy used to create the battery is now wasted unless the next owner down the line does a lot of city driving.

      Unfortunately, you can’t get a Prius in a non-hybrid version.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Which means if you do very little city driving

        City driving and driving in stop and go traffic are similar. Just because Georgia 400 or the 405 is a highway doesn’t mean you’re a steady 65mph.

      • 0 avatar
        MZ3AUTOXR

        City – stop and go – same thing to me.

        My point is that if your commute is all highway or backroads with little or no stopping, why buy a hybrid when you can get close to the same fuel economy from a non-hybrid equivilant?

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        all highway

        With no traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        Right, the Synergy Drive system isn’t much better at highway cruising than a conventional car system. Fortunately, nobody is forcing everyone to buy the car; those that do a lot of stop-and-go or slow driving can get the Prius and those that do a lot of constant higher-speed driving can get a conventional car. Problem solved!

        As for “environmentally friendly,” these cars pose much less danger to other vehicles than the typical up-armored “light” truck, so they aren’t perpetuating the vehicular arms race of height and mass. A Land Cruiser, in contrast, guzzles gas and also helps convince other people to use their own 5000 trucks for on-road commuting.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        MZ3AUTOXR: “The question/issue for me with hybrids is the savings over an identical car that is not a hybrid. In other words, what would the Prius get if it were just an ICE?”

        With the 1.5L Atkinson engine, a Prius C, sans battery would get pretty good mileage in the city and pretty good mileage on the highway but you would probably not like the performance at all.

        Toyota can get away with the extra-efficient but low-power engine because the electric bits of the HSD system provide additional power.

        If you went ICE-only, you’d need a bigger and/or less efficient motor. The resulting car might eke out a few mpg better at a constant velocity but, overall, probably wouldn’t do as well as the more complicated drivetrain.

        Toyota has had the opportunity to do essentially that, many times over, but likes the HSD system and I’d presume it’s because it really works in comparison to other solutions, not simply because it’s more expensive to build.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        What Kixstart said. I don’t want to imagine what the 1.5 liter 3400 lb Prius would be like in stop and go suburbanish commuting without the extra 150 ft/lbs of torque from the electric side.

      • 0 avatar
        MZ3AUTOXR

        Kix – based on what I have read, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t like the performance of a Prius period.

        Lectro – According to Toyota’s website, the curb weight of a Prius is 3042. The Battery weighs about 118# (from what I have read.) Take that and the various Hybrid related items from a Prius and you would probably be in the 2800-2900# range. (Difference in curb weight between a 4 cyl Camry and Camry Hybrid is about 250#). It’s also a 1.8 now, not a 1.5L, so you would have less weight to haul.

        Edit: Just noticed that the C will have the 1.5, but reports are that it will be much lighter than the regular Prius. Say it weighs 2800 with all the hybrid stuff. That would put a non-hybrid version in the 2600# range. Certainly not a lot of weight for a 100 HP car.

        So yeah, it would be a little slower, but, based on the Prii that I have been behind, I don’t think most of the owners would ever miss the boost the electric motor provides.

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        @LectroByte

        The base Prius C weighs 1050-1070kgs, which is 2,314lbs, based on what its loaded with. Its not that far from the Yaris in terms of weight.

      • 0 avatar
        MZ3AUTOXR

        Thanks for the info L’avventura.

        Real info is much better than my wild assed guess.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yep, apparently it’s a little bit bigger all around than the Yaris hatch.

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        @MZ3AUTOXR

        NP, I noticed I didn’t put a source for my data. Its Toyota’s official Aqua/Prius C site:

        http://toyota.jp/aqua/001_p_001/dynamism/outline/index.html

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The actual cost difference has been small. As gas engines have gotten much better mpg in the last couple years, that difference is even smaller (or negative). That is why Ford has discontinued the Escape hybrid.

        I have no problem with hybrids & EVs, and I’d certainly consider buying one, but IMO, if you want to save the environment or save on gas money, the best thing to do is move closer to work.

  • avatar
    Littlecarrot

    I know it’s just me, but I’m having a hard time with Toyota’s new front end styling. You see the same treatment on their new sports car.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    You can take the Bertel out of Germany, but you can’t take the German out of „Bertel” :)

    As for the car, I really like compact cars, but dislike hybrids as a whole, but I like this combination of the two. I’m not sure why either.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve checked the Prius prices for Germany. They start with close to 26K Euros for the basic version, up to 29K for the “Executive” one. This is quite high (in the price range of a fully featured VW Golf GTI or GTD). Although the new Prius looks quite OK I doubt I’d buy it, given my driving patterns (almost no stop-and-go traffic). Would make no sense, no fun, I presume.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    1.69 million yen starting price is surprisingly cheaper than I originally expected. For comparison, the current Prius starts at 2.17 million yen (which is $27,841), topping out at around 3.34million yen (~$43k) for the G-series Prius with leather.

    Given this, for the US I would expect something in the range of $18-20k starting price.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The Reuters article indicates the Prius C is about 10% more fuel efficient than the regular Prius. So, the Prius C should get about 55 mpg on the EPA cycle. I want one.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    what is the “atkinson cycle?”

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    Expect the Prius C to start just under $20k
    BD

  • avatar
    jaron

    What’s the fuel usage like with the giant roof box shown in the picture?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A little worse, but not as much as you might think. I did ME-OH two summers ago in my Saab 9-3 Combi, four adults plus all thier worldly needs for a long weekend of Saab Owner’s Conventioning. We had a HUGE square roof box on the car and I was expecting the worst. Ended up being ~2mpg penalty. ~28mpg vs. ~30mpg that I would have otherwise expected. Probably a little more on this Toyota as it is likely more aerodynamic than a Saab 9-3 to start with

      I think it is kinda cute – just the ticket if you have a stop-and-go commute. I’d move first though.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        In my experience, it would severely reduce the hwy mpg.

        As a general rule, the larger & more powerful the engine, the less mpg are affected by aerodynamics or higher speeds. But the smaller the engine, the lower the optimal mpg speed is and the more negative effects are caused by drag.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Would be lucky to get 40 mpg highway, I suspect.

  • avatar
    probert

    They put the steering wheel on the wrong side. That’s a deal killer for me.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Looks like it has a fairly conventional shifter between the seats as opposed to the ‘dashboard nubbin’ on the Prius.

    Hopefully they’ve fitted a more athletic suspension system than the Prius. If it does offer a 10%++ fuel economy benefit over the regular Prius (50/60 real-world MPG) and offers decent driving dynamics, this could be the final nail in the coffin for the 5-door Insight.

    A 60 MPG Yaris-sized 5-door? Pretty impressive IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Ain’tgonnahappen. The Prius is marketed to: a. Eco-freaks, b. Techno-freaks, and/or c. Cars-as-appliance types. Handling don’t mean diddly squat to them.

      You want a hybrid that handles, get a CR-Z. You’ll also have the fun of having a unique car in your town.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Looks good. Reminds me the Aygo (which I like).

    Is it Corolla/Auris or Yaris size?

  • avatar
    Sketch

    Except if it’s Yaris-sized, it’s a much smaller car than the Insight, so unlikely to have much of an effect on Insight sales. Fit Hybrid sales, maybe, if it ever makes it to market in the US.

    Side note: I’m skeptical of the “most fuel efficient hybrid” claim. If the mileage is as good as the original Insight, then I’ll be impressed…

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Going by the current EPA numbers, the original manual-only Insight was 49/61, 53 combined. The highway number is probably out of reach since the Prius c is simply too large and bulky, but the city and combined figures should be attainable.


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