Toyota has launched the company’s first minicar, called the Pixis Space, for the Japanese market. The tiny vehicle is designed to meet Japan’s kei car rules, which permit drastically lower taxes for tiny vehicles with small engines.
According to The Detroit News, kei cars must measure no more than 133.8 inches long, 58.3 inches wide, 78.7 inches tall, and can have engines displacing no more than 660 cc (0.66 liters). Minicars of this ilk now account for about a third of all cars on Japanese roads; Toyota hopes to sell about 60,000 copies of the Pixis Space annually.
For comparison, a 2012 Fiat 500 measures 139.6 inches long and 64.1 inches wide. Fittingly, the Toyota’s name was inspired by the English word “pixy”, denoting a tiny elflike creature.
The Pixis Space is not a unique Toyota design, but a car supplied by subsidiary Daihatsu as part of an agreement between the two companies reached in September 2010. The Pixis Space, which is essentially a badge-engineered Daihatsu Move Conte, will be offered in the basic L and X trims, along with the fancier Custom X, Custom G, and Custom RS models. The basic models get a naturally aspirated 660-cc engine with dual variable valve timing, while the Custom RS receives a turbocharged version of the same mill. All models have a continuously variable transmission and front- or four-wheel drive.
Toyota says front-wheel-drive Pixis models return the equivalent of 60 mpg in Japanese testing, qualifying them for 75 percent less vehicle registration tax in Japan. The Pixis Space can seat four adults and has “sufficient” cargo space. The bench front seat is said to be “reminiscent of a sofa.” The Custom X, G, and RS models are differentiated mostly by HID headlights, more sporty-looking fascias, and interior accent lighting.
Pricing for the front-drive Toyota Pixis Space L starts at 1.12 million yen, about $14,607; the Custom RS commands the equivalent of $21,015. It’s safe to say that the car will not be making an appearance in the American marketplace.
Sources: Toyota, The Detroit News