The Toyota Passo compact hatchback has been given a facelift in Japan. You may recognise the shape – it’s the very car our Perodua Myvi was based on (but of course that was not a simple rebadge job). So what’s new here, then? Quite a bit, actually: other than a slightly revised face, it also debuts Toyota’s new engine series.

As is the norm for Japanese Domestic Models (JDM), the Toyota Passo facelift is available in two distinct flavours – the standard Passo and the more feminine Passo + Hana variant. Each has its own unique headlamp and front bumper assembly, as well as matching interior colour combinations.

Under the hood lies a newly-developed, highly efficient 1KR-FE 1.0 litre motor, which offers 69 PS at 6,000 rpm, 92 Nm at 4,400 rpm and as much as 27.6 km per litre (under the JC08 test cycle). Fuel consumption is now 30% less than before, while its 84 grammes of CO2 per kilometre-rating makes it eligible for full tax reductions in Japan.

Among the changes that contribute to the engine’s improved efficiency include a higher compression ratio (11.5:1 instead of 10.5:1), optimised valve timing and the inclusion of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and an integrated exhaust manifold and cylinder head.

Also integral to the new engine are Toyota Stop & Start System (which cuts off the engine at approximately 9 km/h when slowing to a stop) and an enhanced regeneration system (which turns the energy of deceleration into stored battery power). With all these additions, Toyota claims that the motor achieves a maximum thermal efficiency of 37%.

A more powerful but far less efficient 1.3 litre variant is also offered as before. Here, the familiar 1NR-FE engine is carried over unchanged, making 95 PS at 6,000 rpm and 121 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Positioned as a more premium offering, the Passo 1.3 averages 19.0 km per litre. A CVT transmission is a standard fit across both engine variants.

Safety wise, this JDM pair offers electronic stability control, traction control and Emergency Brake Signal as standard. Airbag count is just two, but side and curtains airbags are available as options (six total). As always, all the usual JDM eccentricities are present, so four-wheel drive and disabled-friendly welcab versions are also available, as well as various customisation options.