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Toyota launches Aqua compact hybrid in Japan; targeting 12,000 units per month in sales

The Aqua hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) launched the Aqua gasoline-electric compact hybrid—to be marketed as the Prius c in the US—in Japan. The Aqua features a small 1.5-liter Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with reduction gear, which achieves fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L (83.3 mpg US, 2.8 L/100km) under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s (MLIT’s) JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L (94 mpg US, 2.5 L/100km) under the MLIT 10-15 test cycle.

Toyota’s starting price for the Aqua is ¥1.69 million (US$21,685); the monthly sales target for Japan is 12,000 units.

Key Hybrid System Specifications
Engine model 1NZ-FXE
Displacement 1,496 cc
Maximum engine output 54 kW (72 hp)/4,800 rpm
Maximum engine torque 111 N·m (82 lb-ft)/3,600—4,400 rpm
Maximum motor output 45 kW (60 hp)
Maximum motor torque 169 N·m (125 lb-ft)
Combined maximum output 73 kW (98 hp)
Battery NiMH

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.

A selectable electric-vehicle mode (EV Mode) enables driving with only the electric motor.

The hybrid battery has been sized for placement under the rear seat, resulting in a cargo area of 305 liters (10.8 ft3).

Engine and motor power combine to provide smooth acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 10.7 seconds and also at mid-range speeds, such as from 40 km/h to 70 km/h in 3.6 seconds (all measurements according to TMC). With a minimum turning radius of 4.8 meters, the Aqua also offers excellent maneuverability.

The Hybrid System Indicator on the instrument panel offers information concerning eco-driving, such as effective accelerator use. In addition to the standard display, an optional high-resolution thin-film-transistor liquid crystal multi-information display provides a variety of eco-driving information. Eco Judge ranks eco-driving on a 100-point scale, and Eco Wallet shows money saved as compared with other levels of fuel efficiency.

ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) maximizes braking performance, with the EBD appropriately distributing braking force between the front and rear wheels according to driving conditions. Also, a brake assist function generates extra braking force to assist the driver in emergency braking situations.

Vehicle Stability Control controls brake and engine output to maintain vehicle stability if skidding occurs. Traction Control controls wheel spin to simplify acceleration operation. Hill-start Assist Control reduces anxiety about the vehicle rolling backwards when starting on a steep incline.

Automatic air conditioning comes standard on all models and is equipped with an electric inverter compressor run by the electric motor, enabling a comfortably air-conditioned interior even when the engine is off.

In addition to seat heaters, the exhaust heat recirculation system draws heat from the engine directly into the cooling water, enhancing heating performance and fuel efficiency in the winter.



83 MPG... Looks like the introduction of ultra low cost electricity is rattling the cages out there. Who said a little disruptive technology ain't good for the soul?

Question is, how long can combustion hang on in the face of far superior clean, non-radiative, far less expensive technology??


Looks a lot like the excellent Yaris but about 40% more efficient at an affordable price? This may be a real winner.


83 mpg JA08 is going to be what in the newer US cycle? 65 mpg? Or more? The Prius gets 63 on the JA08 so if the Aqua got 83, it sounds like 65 mpg might be doable for the Aqua on the new EPA test cycle. I had thought that it was going to come in just under 60 mpg based on earlier comments but this is pretty impressive.


I think the question is how big is the market for extremely efficient, quite expensive small vehicles.
Th larger prius clearly has a market as it is much more efficient than petrol cars, and competitive with diesels.
However, the margin over smaller cars (Fiesta, Polo, Yaris etc) is less, and this part of the market is more price sensitive.
The Prius mainly sells as being a "Green badge" car for people who care about the environment, GW etc.
And taxis, very good taxis with all the stop - start work.
So are there enough people who want a smaller, very efficient car?
Could be - it would work very well as a city car where the smallness would be a positive benefit, and the mpg bragging rights would exceed the existing prius's.
We will know in a year or so.


83 mpg on the JC08 is only about 52 mpg combined EPA label. This means about 2 mpg better than the Prius. (EPA label numbers are rightfully discounted from test conditions to yield numbers that are 60%tile drivers in the US)

Blog journalists need to do more homework before re-broadcasting manufacturer-reported "translations" of NEDC mpg numbers from Europe, or Japan JC08 or especially Japan 10-15 cycle, which yield numbers far, far beyond the real world in the US. Foreign maker press releases, like this one from Toyota, attempt to generate US pre-release "green buzz" a year ahead of US introduction with disingenuous translations.

Blog journalists would be wise not to fall for this, over and over.


Thanks for the clarification! Consequently, this is no real improvement, just a Prius offspring in new clothes. However, probably good enough for many buyers… To fit my needs, I would like to have a bigger trunk than the mailbox of 300 liters at the rear end of this car.


NiMH?!?! Come on Toyota get with it - even Honda is using Lithium batteries in the Civic Hybrid.


Auto....there must be a good reason why Toyota has not yet moved over to Li-On batteries. Wonder where they are at with their solid states batteries?


The good reason is proven reliability.



I read here the following:

"while the Japanese fuel cycle tests are notoriously more optimistic than the EPA’s own fuel cycle tests, the 2012 Toyota Aqua Hybrid is given a rating by Toyota which is 16% more than the official Japanese JC08 fuel economy ratings for the 2012 Toyota Prius Hybrid. Bearing that in mind, we’d expect a U.S. EPA rating of between 58 and 64 mpg."

We'll have to wait until the car has been subjected to the EPA test to see what numbers com in.


An average of 60 to 61 mph would make it a winner. A mere 5 gal/tank could go 300 miles.


this is really competitive and eco friendly. it also nice to note that it can lower dow fuel consumption. great job! dc motor

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