Filed under: Budget , Japan , Videos , Hatchback , Toyota 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.
Filed under: Budget , Hatchback , Mazda , Toyota As basic transportation goes, there’s not a lot to complain about with the Toyota Yaris . The five-door hatch (not to mention its JDM cousin, the Vitz) are due for upgrades, though, having toddled along in its current form since the 2011 model year. Now, we have what looks to be leaked images of the new Yaris, straight from a Japanese brochure. The next-gen Yaris was previewed in Frankfurt by the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept . Surprisingly, both the standard version and the RS (shown above) share a strong resemblance with the Frankfurt concept. That gaping lower intake remains, while a pointy, sharp front end shares a resemblance with the new Aygo city car (though the Yaris won’t have a giant X on its face like its smaller cousin). The lower intake is flanked by a pair of what we’re guessing are non-functional grilles, which house the fog lights. There are only a few small images of the rear of the car, which looks more like an evolution of the current five-door hatch. The interior looks rather racy, with a small, thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel and black cloth seats with red contrast stitching. There’s a bright red button to the right of the steering wheel on this right-hand-drive JDM model, which could indicate the arrival of pushbutton start.
Filed under: Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Japan , Toyota We know the feeling: you’ve got what seems like your whole bloodline to transport, and maybe not quite two of every living kind, but a household pet or two. So you’re going to need something big to fit them all. Something like a Toyota Sienna ought to do the trick. But if you live on an Asian island that, we’re sorry to say, has been known to flood in what can only be referred to as an Act of God but whose vehicles fall short of such biblical proportions, at least you can get one with a suitably biblical name. (And an awesome one at that, if this writer may say so.) That would be Noah, the name Toyota gives to its JDM minivan. It’s also known as the Voxy, and Toyota has just revealed new versions of both. Previewed in concept form at the recent Tokyo Motor Show , the production Noah and Voxy have been completely redesigned. The boxy form allows for as many as eight seats and a low, flat-folding cargo floor to accommodate your whole clan and all the stuff you could buy from Uniqlo and Muji with the roomiest interior in its class. Toyota is offering both with a variety of gasoline and hybrid powertrain configurations driving the front wheels or all four through a continuously variable transmission in a range of trim levels starting from 2.18 million yen (equivalent to $20,952 at today’s rates) to 3.4 million yen ($32,694). The Voxy is sold through Toyota’s network of Netz dealerships across Japan, and the Noah through its parallel Corolla dealers.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Japan , Toyota Toyota first launched Lexus in the United States back in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2005 that it brought the luxury marque home to roost. But don’t think that Toyota didn’t find a way of selling many of its premium models in the Japanese Domestic Market in the meantime. The Lexus LS was sold as the Toyota Celsion, the ES as the Vista and Camry Prominent, and the SC as the Soarer. (We could go on, but you get the point.) These days Lexus sells in markets around the world, including Japan, but Toyota still spins off its own versions of Lexus models to sell domestically as well. Like the new Sai, for example. Sharing its platform, hybrid propulsion and much more with the Lexus HS (which you may remember as the world’s first dedicated luxury hybrid until it was pulled from the market early last year), the Sai was introduced to Japan at the same time as the HS was rolled out around the world. Now nearly four years on the market, Toyota has given it a bit of a refresh. Boasting a far more aggressive front end and a restyled rear, the revised Sai features LED headlights, 16-inch alloys and a higher-quality interior in which JDM buyers will find a new center console and trim, along with an optional 10-speaker infotainment system. Toyota also boasts that the new Sai is made of 20-percent Ecological Plastic and recycled resin. Power still comes from the same 150-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four and 143-hp electric motor for a combined maximum output of 190 hp.
Filed under: Japan , Crossover , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Japanese site CarWatch has revealed images of the next-generation Toyota Harrier , known to US and European buyers as the Lexus RX . The new model features a considerably more aggressive fascia in keeping with some of the latest Lexus design trends, while the back features a pair of wide, wraparound taillights. The profile features a revised greenhouse, with a rather complex rear window treatment, while a subtle character line connects the front and rear taillights. According to the badging, the model shown features a hybrid powertrain, although there’s little information on which engine is being used. We’d wager it’s an evolution of the same 3.5-liter V6 hybrid found in the current RX450h . This early look doesn’t have a great deal of other info, and there are no images of the interior. We’re not yet clear on how closely the North American RX will adhere to the Harrier seen here, but historically the two models have been quite close. That said, we’d expect a more prominent ‘spindle’ grille on the Lexus version than the baleen strainer on the vehicle shown here. A page on Toyota’s Japanese website says the new Harrier/RX will receive a winter 2013 debut. That makes for a difficult determination of what auto show the new CUV will arrive at.