94 miles per gallon and a price $4000 less dear than the current Prius. Those are the numbers Japanese business daily Nikkei reports for a small Toyota hybrid vehicle dubbed the Aqua.
The publication states that the car will use the same powertrain as the current Prius (helping to cut development costs) but will be more compact and thus lighter, allowing it to be more of a fuel miser.
While the 94 MPG figure quoted above is achieved with the Japanese testing cycle and would drop in the U.S. measurement system, consider that the current Prius returns 75 MPG in Japanese tests. By those numbers the Aqua is about 25 percent more efficient than Prius, which could equate to a U.S. combined fuel economy figure in excess of 60 MPG, though that's purely an educated guess at this juncture in time.
Its entirely possible that "Aqua" could simply be the domestic market name for the upcoming Prius C, which is also said to be lighter, cheaper and more efficient than the current Prius. We'll know the truth when the Aqua goes on sale in Japan (before eventually reaching North America) in January of 2012, if not before.
1.'Nikkei: Toyota's new...' view
2.'Toyota's rumored Aqua...' view