The new Daihatsu Mira e:S has been launched in Japan – the frugal kei car has been revised with added convenience and safety features that lift it slightly above its bargain basement status, as well as an even lighter body and more efficient powertrain.

A new, more angular look can be seen on the outside, with the front end featuring new headlights and a large trapezoidal grille with upper and lower openings. Along the sides, there are larger wheel arch bulges, a deeper surface cut along the lower surface of the doors as well as squared-off side window openings, while the rear features bolder three-dimensional LED tail lights. Air resistance has also been reduced by 3%.

The interior has remained largely the same as before, with a Myvi-style high-mounted gearlever sited next to the air-conditioning controls. There have been a few additions that were made, however, including a storage shelf on the dashboard and cupholders under the side air-con vents – handy for keeping drinks chilled.

As before, the new Mira e:S is powered by a KF 658 cc naturally-aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine, although outputs have dropped 3 PS and 3 Nm to 49 PS at 6,800 rpm and 57 Nm of torque at 5,200 rpm. However, the mill has been optimised for better efficiency with the adoption of a cooled ion-controlled exhaust gas recirculation system, along with a delayed closing of the intake port to reduce compression pressure.

Other additions include twin injectors per cylinder for better fuel atomisation and a more stable combustion, as well as individual ignition timing control on each cylinder to optimise combustion. The standard-fit CVT has been improved too, with low-viscosity CVT fluid and a thermal controller that uses the CVT fluid to cool the engine coolant – this increases the efficiency of both engine combustion and the transmission.

Elsewhere, rolling resistance has been reduced through improvements on the drive components, including low-viscosity oil in the rear differential on all-wheel drive models. The Eco Idle auto engine start/stop system also now shuts the mill off at 11 km/h rather than 7 km/h on the original Mira e:S, while a scroll-type air-con compressor saps less power from the engine.

Under the skin, the monocoque has been made lighter and stiffer, and resin is now used on the front fenders, tailgate and fuel tank (on two-wheel drive models) to save even more weight. The outgoing model wasn’t exactly porky to begin with, weighing as little as 730 kg in 2WD form, but the new model now slips under the 700 kg mark with a frankly astonishing kerb weight of just 650 kg (720 kg with AWD).

As such, the Mira e:S is now capable of achieving an impressive fuel consumption figure of 34.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle, or 32.2 km per litre with AWD. The base B and L variants receive smaller 13-inch steel wheels and score even higher, travelling as far as 35.2 km per litre of fuel.

Safety-wise, the Smart Assist III package, standard on G and X models and optional on others, features autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection (utilising the world’s smallest stereo camera), lane departure warning, false start suppression control front and rear, automatic high beam and vehicle start warning to alert drivers when the vehicle in front is leaving from a traffic light stop.

Pricing for two-wheel drive models start at 842,400 yen (RM32,200), and for that you get halogen headlights, manual air-conditioning, a digital instrument cluster, dual airbags, ABS and stability control. Opting for Smart Assist III bumps the price up to 907,200 yen (RM34,600). The L variant, which costs 874,800 yen (RM33,400) as standard and 939,600 yen (RM35,900) with Smart Assist III throws in hubcaps and rear power windows.

The 1,080,000 yen (RM41,200) X variant adds LED headlights, larger 14-inch steel wheels and power-adjustable body-coloured door mirrors. The range-topping 1,209,600 yen (RM46,200) G trim gains 14-inch alloys, keyless entry, auto air-con, seat heating, auto-folding door mirrors and automatic headlights. All-wheel drive models cost an extra 129,600 yen (RM5,000) across the board.