• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday launched a redesigned Passo hatchback that it says is the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car in Japan.

The new compact, which gets 27.6 kilometers per liter, is the first vehicle to carry the automaker’s state-of-the-art 1-liter engine, which has improved thermal efficiency.

The Passo’s fuel economy topped the 27.2 km attained by Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s Mirage subcompact and is the most efficient domestic model excluding hybrid cars and minivehicles among cars with engines no larger than 660cc.

The vehicle also has an improved no-idling function that turns off the engine when it slows to less than about 9 kph.

A Toyota official told a press conference in Tokyo that it “uncompromisingly focused on how to improve fuel efficiency amid fierce competition in the compact vehicle market.”

The retail prices range from ¥1,098,655 to ¥1,707,000, and Toyota is aiming to sell 5,000 per month.

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