With considerable manufacturing capacity here in the United States and even a NASCAR program, it'd be all too easy to categorize Toyota as an American automaker. Only it's not. It's Japanese, of course. And back in the Japanese Domestic Market, it offers a whole range of models we'll never see in North America. Models like the Crown sedan, Noah minivan and this, the new Passo hatchback.

Sold in various markets as the Daihatsu Boon, Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi and (for a time) the Subaru Justy, the Toyota Passo is a compact hatchback that slots in size-wise between the Yaris sold in America and the Aygo offered in Europe (except the Passo is taller than either).

Power comes from a 1.0-liter engine with 69 horsepower that can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, or a 1.3 driving 95 horses to the front wheels alone. A continuously variable transmission is on duty regardless of engine choice. Front-drive models get a stop/start system, but even all-wheel-drive versions are eligible for government tax credits. That's because, though the new Passo only appears to be mildly updated, the engines have been thoroughly reworked to deliver 30-percent better fuel economy than the previous model, coming in 20-percent better than the standards being enacted by the Japanese government for next year.

Powertrain configurations aside, Toyota is offering JDM customers a wide array of trim and equipment levels, all of which you can read about in the press release (and scope out in the video) below.
Show full PR text
Redesigned 'Passo' Compact Hatchback Launched in Japan

Toyota City, Japan, April 14, 2014―Toyota Motor Corporation today launched the partially redesigned "Passo" compact hatchback in Japan1. The redesigned vehicle achieves fuel efficiency of 27.6 km/L2, the best for registered gasoline vehicles in Japan3.

The Passo's fuel efficiency of 27.6 km/L represents an improvement of approximately 30 percent over the previous design and exceeds the fuel efficiency standards for 2015 set by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) by 20 percent. Additionally, with CO2 emissions of 84 g/km, the Passo now achieves emissions levels 75 percent lower than the 2005 standards established under MLIT's Approval System for Low-Emission Vehicles, making it eligible for full tax reductions under the Japanese government's tax incentive program. Thanks to their improved fuel efficiency, the four-wheel drive models are also eligible for tax reductions.

The Passo uses a newly-developed, more efficient 1.0-liter engine with a maximum thermal efficiency4 of 37 percent. This superior level of thermal efficiency was achieved by raising the engine's compression ratio, optimizing valve timing, lowering friction, and using cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and an integrated exhaust manifold and cylinder head. In addition to improved aerodynamic performance and an enhanced regeneration system (which turns the energy of deceleration into stored battery power), the 1.0-liter two-wheel drive models5 also feature the Toyota Stop & Start System (which cuts off the engine at approximately 9 km/h when slowing to a stop) as standard.

In addition to the safety and security features common to all Passo models (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and Emergency Brake Signal system), high comfort specifications are also available, including automatic retractable side mirrors and front door windows with glass that reduces ultraviolet and infrared light.
Toyota aims to sell 5,000 units of the Passo per month.

Specially equipped Welcab models, with factory-installed features for the disabled and elderly, offer the same improvements6 as the base model, but also feature a new memory function that records lowered seat height, seat sliding positions and reclining angles when storing the seat. These models will go on sale in Japan in July.

The vehicle comes in two distinct designs: one for the "Passo X"7 and "Passo G"8 models, and another for the "Passo + Hana" model. The elongated headlamps and front bumpers on the Passo X and Passo G models emphasize the vehicle's width and low center of gravity. The Passo + Hana models present a softer front profile: the upper grille and fog lamps are designed with round motifs and perfectly match the lower grille. Customizability is further enhanced through the availability of high-specification "G packages" for both the Passo X and Passo + Hana models.

Passo X and Passo G

Ten exterior colors are available, including Ruri Mica Metallic, a new color. The interior is colored primarily in mocha, while the heater control panel and gauge dials are coordinated in brown. Overall, the interior gives a laid-back, calming impression. The Passo X L package, Passo X G package and Passo G model feature the popular bench seat. Adding an extra touch of sophistication, the Passo X G package and Passo G model have a plated finish on the interior door handles, center air vent knobs and shift knob.

Passo + Hana

The rear combination lamps feature vibrant pink inner lenses. Door mirrors, exterior door handles and fog lamp bezels come with Shinju Pearl Mica accents. Nine exterior colors are available, including the Sakura Pearl Mica, a new color. In addition, there are three exclusive two-tone color options9 featuring Shinju Pearl Mica hub caps10, roof, and rear emblem.

The interior is primarily Ebony Brown, while the manual air-conditioning and dial-type heater control panel and gauge dials are Silky Gold and Brown, creating a distinctive color scheme. The interior has been designed down to the finest detail, with a Pink Gold finish added to the gauge dials and around the air-conditioning vents on both sides.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices
Model Package Engine Driveline Transmission Price*
V 1KR-FE (1.0 L) Front-wheel drive CVT 1,098,655
X 1,257,709
L 1,293,055
G 1,356,873
X 4WD 1,398,109
L 1,433,455
G 1,497,273
G 1NR-FE (1.3 L) Front-wheel drive 1,471,745
C 1KR-FE (1.0 L) Front-wheel drive CVT 1,355,891
+ Hana 1,444,255
G 1,501,200
+ Hana 4WD 1,595,455
G 1,652,400
+ Hana 1NR-FE (1.3 L) Front-wheel drive 1,605,273
*Includes consumption tax; does not include recycling fees; differs in Hokkaido


Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices for Welcab Variants
Model Engine Driveline Transmission Price*
Package
Lift-up
front passenger seat
(Type A)
X 1KR-FE (1.0 L) Front-wheel drive CVT 1,447,000
L 1,468,000
X 4WD 1,577,000
L 1,598,000
G 1NR-FE (1.3 L) Front-wheel drive 1,633,000
Lift-up
front passenger seat
(Type B)
X 1KR-FE (1.0 L) Front-wheel drive CVT 1,521,000
L 1,542,000
X 4WD 1,651,000
L 1,672,000
G 1NR-FE (1.3 L) Front-wheel drive 1,707,000
*Does not include consumption tax; does not include recycling fees; differs in Hokkaido and Okinawa


Key Specifications
1.0L(FF) 1.0L
(4WD)
1.3
(FF)
"V" package
Length/Width/Height (mm) 3,650/1,665/1,535
Wheelbase (mm) 2,440
Engine Model 1KR-FE 1NR-FE
Displacement (cc) 996 1,329
Maximum
output
(kW[PS]/rpm) 51[69]/6,000 70[95]/
6,000
Maximum
torque
(N・m[kgf m]/rpm) 92[9.4]/4,400 121[12.3]/
4,000
Fuel
efficiency
Under JC08
test cycle
(km/L) 27.6 23.4 21.0 19.0


1Through the "Toyota Corolla" dealer channel
2Under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's JC08 test cycle; applies to 1.0-liter two-wheel drive models except the "Passo X" V package
3As of April 2014 (based on in-house research); does not include hybrid vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles
4Numerical expression showing how much of the thermal energy generated by burning fuel is converted into effective power. The higher the thermal efficiency, the lower the fuel consumption.
5Excluding the Passo X V package
6Front seats are standard separate seats rather than a bench seat.
7"X" denotes a 1.0-liter engine
8"G" denotes a 1.3-liter engine
9Sakura Mix, Uguisu Mix and Sumire Mix
10Except on vehicles with aluminum wheels


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      Tom Janowski
      • 8 Months Ago
      Start rebuilding the Scion brand with this car
      danfred311
      • 8 Months Ago
      not green
      Aaron
      • 8 Months Ago
      The front bench-style seat confuses me. Is that for a child to sit between two adults? That would enable you, in theory, to squeeze 6 people (4 adults, 2 children) into this tiny car! Is it me, or does the front end look a lot like the VW eUP?
        Haji
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        it s just for five passengers. only for two in the front.
        GR
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        The car does look like a VW Up! but the Up! was a knock-off of small Japanese cars that have been running around Japan and other parts of Asia for decades. I believe the front bench seat is not just for convenience, but to lower costs. I'm sure it's cheaper to produce than two bucket seats. The video clearly shows how the car was made to be cheap. I think it's geared for city people who don't really want an expensive car with a lot of features. This is like a basic city run-about. It's rather common for the Japanese to make cars like these and gear them for women. As the design and colors show, they definitely considered female buyers. Women typically care more about convenience and affordability than performance and features in a car so this is better suited for the woman who'd rather spend her money elsewhere than her car. That being said, I'm not sure why someone would buy this over a kei-car. These days, keis are nicer and fall into the tax bracket of being the cheapest cars to own in Japan. This car's engine offerings show that it's not a kei-car. This car would be suitable for other markets like Europe, but I'm not sure why it would be better than a kei.
        bK
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Aaron
        The other way around...