The now discontinued North American Lexus HS 250h (it's still offered in Japan, though) and its less luxurious but more affordable Japanese domestic market sibling, the Toyota Sai, weren't the brightest moments in the group's hybrid journey. Nevertheless, Toyota continues to believe in the Sai, which has now received a facelift, about four years after its debut on the market.
We could be wrong, but in our eyes, the exterior makeover of the Sai compact hybrid sedan looks like it was made / inspired by the same people responsible for penning the latest Camry saloon and to a lesser extent and mainly for the front end, the Corolla as well.
Along with the slimmer new face, the 2014 Sai gains new tail lamps that occupy the entire width of the rear end, a redesigned bumper, a fresh selection of alloy wheels and three new exterior colors named Red Mica Metallic, Grey Mica Metallic and Clear Stream Metallic, that bring the total offerings to seven.
On the inside, the main change comes from the brand new center console with different air vents and controls, with Toyota also improving the quality of the materials, updating the trims and upholstery options, and revising the instrument panel gauges. Toyota adds that it has used better sound insulation materials as well.
Beneath the skin, the Japanese carmaker re-tuned the suspension adding new dampers to improve handling, while the 187hp (190PS) hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.4-liter inline four with an electric motor and a CVT, has been tweaked offering a fuel economy of 22.4 km/L (equal to 52.7mpg US and 4.5 lt/100km) and CO2 emissions of 104 g/km.
Sales of the Sai begin in Japan today with prices starting from 3,860,000 yen ($39,300).