That Was a Real False Ringlet Flying Past

Toyota make a bewildering number of cars, they really do. This one lives in Dublin, Ireland where I saw it in the summer of 2022.

2013 Toyota Corolla Axio, Dublin, Ireland (July 2022)

Rather foolishly I did not get as far as recording the nameplate. The only evidence I have for this sighting are these three grainy photographs, of the sort used by crazed believers in pseudo-science to prove the existence of the Loch Ness animal. In order to find out what this was I had to first open up a list of Toyota cars which I believe to be incomplete, look at the list (about 80 vehicles that are not busses or trucks), open several more windows under Yaris, Starlet and Corolla and then I wrote to Daniel O’Callaghan, our south-east Ireland correspondent. He informed me that the vehicle is known as the Toyota Corolla Axio. Before you say, ‘Wait, that’s not a Toyota Corolla’, sit down, calm down and take a loud breath. This is the E160 Toyota Corolla, specially imported to Ireland by special importers.

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This version is sold in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Bangladesh, Singapore and Sri Lanka and in Ireland, used. This one dates from around 2013. It is still in production as a fleet-only car.

An estate is available, the Fielder:

Toyota Corolla Axio Fielder (source).

For a small car, they’ve given it a lot of engines: 1.3 L  (1 NR-FE I4), the 1.5 (L 1NZ-FE I4), the 1.5 L 1NZ-FXE I4 (hybrid) and the range-storming (1.8 L 2ZR-FE I4). Sizewise we are not in Kansas now Dorothy. The length is 4360 mm while the Corolla with which we are more familiar is about three hundred millimetres longer. The Corolla Axio is 1695 millimetres wide while the conventional Corolla is 1775 millimetres from side to side. That’s enough for a centre arm-rest on the larger car.  From the standpoint of weight, the car shown today is 1050-1200 kg, depending on whether it is a hybrid or not (that’s really heavy, isn’t it). The normal Corolla tips the weighing machine at 1,200 kg to 1,300 kg (the same as a mid-70s upper medium family car).

This is a type of small saloon which I had thought had died out along with Fruit Gums sold in rolls (and not in silly bags). It has a pleasantly formal quality. The sides are pretty vertical – notice the lines are almost but not quite parallel. The rear windscreen is steepish, to allow for head room; the front valence also avoids leaning much. At the front I’d have liked a more formal grille and not this one which is too much like any old Yaris.

The credit for the design goes to Hiroya Fujita (2010) and  Shinichi Yasui (2013 and 2015 facelifts.). There is a later facelift

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This is bewildering

2018 Toyota Corolla Axio. This has a neater front end than the 2013 but you could criticise the unneeded huge lower grille. It is rather outsized for the scale of the car propping it up.

What we have here is a very Toyota kind of car: a carefully curated commodity car, adjusted for markets other companies don’t bother with (and Japan, obviously).

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “That Was a Real False Ringlet Flying Past”

  1. Good morning, Richard. I don’t think I’ve seen this Toyota while I was in Japan in November last year, or maybe I didn’t register it. I’m not fond of the grill, but the rest is quite nice, actually. I lived in Trinidad & Tobago for a while and you would see this kind of vehicle quite often as a JDM import.

    1. They are still all over New Zealand, the hybrid ones popular as taxis, for people who think Prii too extreme in looks.

  2. I made a day trip to Dublin last week, as a passenger, which gave me a great opportunity for JDM spotting. A square rear number-plate is the obvious giveaway. JDMs are not so common in Kerry.
    Last time I was in a taxi it was a JDM Camry hybrid to Dublin Airport.

  3. Here’s a pretty comprehensive review. The Axio has a rear wiper and a wacky-looking coin holder. The upholstery looks like some form of velour (?).

  4. So it’s sort of an evolutionary divergence. What the Corolla might have been if Toyota hadn’t kept making successive models bigger. It’s stunning to think the current Corolla is so much bigger than my old Mark 3 Cortina!
    Should we view this as something between a Yaris and a Corolla, or more of a reclothed Yaris?

    1. In reality, it’s booted Yaris, but I’d be tempted to think of it being more than that. The Corolla part of its name probably helps to add to my confusion, which is presumably the intention.

      Its competitors include the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Skoda Slavia, Volkswagen Virtus, etc

  5. There is a vague resemblance with the last Seat Toledo, I think. A name plate, incidentally, that has been toyed around with more than most. To think the Toledo was once the most remarkable Seat…

  6. Living in Japan some years ago one was struck that no two Toyotas looked the same. It was as if each single individual car was a bespoke experiment to see what would sell. Then take the top 2% to other markets.

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