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The Toyota Aqua looks like a friendlier Prius

This is technically the second generation of the Prius C

Isn't the Aqua's cartoonish face cute? PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

While most manufacturers in the automotive industry are flocking toward electrifying their entire lineup, Toyota is still sticking to its guns by releasing new hybrid vehicles (even if an EV is on the horizon). The latest iteration of the Aqua hatchback joins the brand’s stable of gasoline-electric cars. This isn’t an entirely new nameplate as it was known as the Prius C in other markets; worldwide sales have totaled approximately 1.87 million units.

The Prius C was also sold here for P1.97 million. However, the price alone is probably one reason why the model wasn’t very popular.

We like this look over the Prius's rakish design. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

The second-generation Aqua is essentially an all-new car. It rides on the new TNGA-B platform. This stretches the wheelbase by 50mm, allowing for more rear-seat legroom and cargo area compared to the older Aqua. The styling is also updated to be in line with Toyota’s newer offerings, but with a friendlier look than the Prius.

The nickel-hydrogen battery generates more juice but is smaller than a lithium-ion cell. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

It also gets a new powertrain and battery tech. With a 1.5-liter Dynamic Force engine and the first high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery ever fitted to a production vehicle, Toyota says that the new Aqua is 20% more efficient than its predecessor with a rated average fuel-economy figure of 35.8km/L (wow!).

Despite its compact size, the Aqua looks spacious. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

The car also has a couple of neat tricks such as a one-pedal driving mode called “Comfort Pedal,” and the full suite of Toyota Safety Sense driver aids. The latter has two new modes called Toyota Teammate Advanced Park and Parking Support Brake, which can safely automate most of the parking process.

You can also fit the Aqua with optional accessibility-related features like a dedicated wheelchair storage device and rotating front seats. It also has a 100V accessory outlet that’s capable of providing up to 1,500W. It can be used to power compatible appliances, which should come in handy during emergencies.

The power outlet should come in handy when you're working on the go. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

In Japan, the Aqua is offered both in front- and all-wheel-drive (E-Four) configurations, with the B base trim priced at ¥1,980,000 (P918,000) and ¥2,178,000 (P1.01 million), respectively. The range-topping Z variant will cost you ¥2,400,000 (P1.11 million) with FWD, and ¥2,598,000 (P1.2 million) with AWD. You can also avail of the car through the Kinto One subscription service from as low as ¥19,580 (P9,000) per month on a seven-year lease plan.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.