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Toyota Prius C lives on in Japan as next-generation Aqua hybrid launches

It's more efficient than ever and chock-full of the latest technology for frugal Japanese drivers.

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Toyota Aqua

A Prius C by another name.

Toyota

The Toyota Prius C didn't catch on here in the US, but in Japan, it's a mighty popular vehicle known as the Aqua. On Monday, Toyota revealed the latest Aqua hybrid for domestic car buyers and it looks like an excellent little machine. 

A 1.5-liter gasoline engine works with Toyota's hybrid system to create a super efficient car. Specifically, the new Aqua rocks a high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery. The new chemistry and construction provides nearly twice the energy of the outgoing Aqua and helps expand the EV-only mode when drivers don't want to flick on the engine at all. Toyota also promised snappier acceleration, thanks to the new battery and the instant torque it helps deliver.

Toyota Aqua

America hates small cars these days, so don't expect this here. Ever.

Toyota

The car is also the first model from Toyota to introduce what it calls the "Comfort Pedal." It's really Toyota's latest version of one-pedal driving, when drivers select the Power Plus driving mode. Drivers only need to release the accelerator while driving, and regenerative braking works to bring the car to a stop. In addition, the Aqua now sports optional all-wheel drive.

Toyota Aqua

This is a really nice looking interior.

Toyota

On the tech side, the latest active safety gear is present and accounted for, and the company's "Teammate" parking system is ready to help drivers squeeze into parking spots without any flick of the wrist from them. Toyota was also keen to point out the new Aqua comes with an accessory 100-volt outlet, so owners can use the car as a generator during an emergency situation.

While the inside looks clean and modern with its 10.5-inch touchscreen display, the outside definitely still looks like a Prius C -- just cleaned up a tad. It's handsome, unassuming and does exactly what a Prius should. Japanese buyers will be able to subscribe to the car, or lease one when it goes on sale shortly.