The “Axio” nameplate was derived from the Greek word “axia” which means “things with value.” It was clipped with the Corolla badge six years ago to define simplicity and value for money. Toyota's latest Axio is actually shorter by 50mm than its predecessor, not that it has implication on the Japanese people’s height, but to comply with the strict regulations imposed by their government. On the contrary, the rear legroom increased by 40mm, increasing passenger comfort with it.
Overall exterior design appears to be minimalistic, with very little ornaments and curves. While the rectangular headlight cluster and front bumper look modern, the rear tail lights are a little bit less inspiring. The basic Axio gets origami-inspired wheel covers and a three-tier horizontal grill, while the top-end “Luxel” variant sports vertical grill slats, HID projector head-lights, chrome-lined door handles, and eight-spoke alloy wheels.
While Corollas outside Japan enjoy a plush cabin, the all-new Axio emphasizes the mantra of neatness. All dials and buttons are cleanly stacked together on the center console, while flat interior panels as serene as a Zen garden. And to keep things stealthy, the center air vents peek out of the dashboard just like a ninja. Surprisingly though, the base model doesn’t have a tachometer and comes with a rather tacky-looking steering wheel. The other more expensive variants, however, borrow the dashboard layout and steering wheel from the Camry.
During the launch, two engine options are made available - the 1NZ-FE 1.5 liter mill with 107 horsepower from the Vios, and a 1.3 liter Dual VVT-I 1NR FE power block with 94 horsepower. Both are paired with either five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) and claim to achieve a fuel economy of as high as 20 km/L.
So could this be the basis of the next generation Altis? Well, there’s a big chance that it will share some components with the Axio, but knowing the discriminating taste of most markets outside Japan, Toyota may possibly go through a radical design rethink and permeate it with luxurious appointments, just like the past two generations.