by Paul Willis:  Toyota latest minivehicle was launched in Japan recently, boasting top level fuel efficiency for a gasoline-powered car.

The Pixis Epoch is the second passenger minivehicle to be launched by the automaker. Toyota said the car, which will be sold through 200 Toyota dealerships across Japan, manages nearly 19 miles to the liter — around 70 mpg.


image via Toyota

The car’s fuel efficiency is helped in part by a new system for saving gas. Fitted as standard on all models of the Pixis Epoch, the eco-IDLE system shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop or else is when it is traveling at approximately 4 mph or less.

Not that this makes the Pixis Epoch a perfect green machine. This is still a gasoline-fueled car after all and its emission rate, though low compared to many other cars in its class, has been calculated at 77 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled.

The car is well within Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s (MLIT) 2015 fuel efficiency standards. Under the MLIT’s approval system for low-emission vehicles, the car has been certified for emissions levels 75 percent lower than the ministry’s 2005 standard.

All this means buyers of the Pixis Epoch can claim a tax reduction since the Japanese government — like the Obama administration — operates a tax incentive program for environment-friendly vehicles.

Toyota has produced a number of environmentally friendly models in recent years, most notably the Prius range of hybrid vehicles. Last year’s tsunami had a serious impact on production, however, and the company was forced to postpone the rollout of a Prius-derivative known as the Prius v.

The company hit further difficulties last June when it had to recall tens of thousands of its cars, many of them Prius models, following a steering problem. Toyota issued a voluntary global safety recall of 106,000 vehicles, including 52,000 Prius models sold in the United States between 2001 and 2003 in order to replace the electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts.

According to Toyota, turning the steering wheel in these Prius models repeatedly to the full-lock position, could result in the nuts securing the pinion shaft in the steering gear box assembly coming loose, and overtime, would make turning left difficult.

image via Toyota

Hoping for no such problems with its latest model, Toyota said the Pixis Epoch’s extremely compact body (length 3.4 meters, width 1.5 meters and height 1.5 meters meant it was a whizz to park in low-clearance parking areas. The interior should still allow plenty of space for four adults, the company said.

In a statement, Toyota added: “Available in eight pleasing colors such as Cotton Ivory, the Pixis Epoch sports a simple form without extraneous elements, giving it an air of sophistication with advanced and vibrant styling.  The simple silhouette features low, flowing lines that hint at outstanding aerodynamic performance, while the logical design of the high-quality interior emphasizes innovation.”