This week it was learned that Toyota will launch a Japanese-market compact member of the Prius family in January that could be the most fuel efficient hybrid yet produced.
The 2012 Toyota Aqua hybrid will receive a 94 mpg (40 km/liter) rating in Japan according to Reuters, which got the information in turn from a Nikkei business report.
The Aqua will reportedly use the same powertrain as the standard Prius, but Reuters noted its source did not say where it got this information from.
Toyota offered no comment, so the automotive world is parsing what knowledge it has to put together the pieces of this puzzle.
One thing for certain is the mid-sized Prius gets about 75 mpg on the Japanese test cycle, so this new car will beat its efficiency by 25 percent.
As the Japanese fuel efficiency tests tend to produce higher numbered results than the U.S. EPA test cycles, real world economy might be in the 60 mpg range.
For now, this could be moot for American buyers, as this is a car intended for Japan’s home market.
The Aqua will reportedly be targeted at younger and female drivers, although we have no photos as of yet (so we posted a picture of the Prius C concept from this year’s Detroit Auto Show which may be a precursor to this production C-class Prius).
Its price will be 1.7 million yen, Reuters said, or about $22,100. In Japan, that will mean it sells for about $3,900 (300,000 yen) less than the regular Prius.
Rumors are yet stirring among various media outlets and chat forums.
It could be this Aqua is merely a version of the pending Prius C with a different name for the home market. The C is also expected to undercut the regular Prius in price and efficiency.
If so, now we know by how much. Stay tuned.