By the end of this year, the ever-popular Toyota Raize and Daihatsu Rocky compact crossover / SUV twins would have been in the Japanese market for 24 months. A mid-cycle product or facelift is unexpected after a relatively short length of time in the market, but reports suggest the twins are having an update.

Apart from the usual cosmetic updates such as bumpers and rim design, the facelifted compact crossovers are expected to be fitted with a new hybrid system. According to Japanese auto news portals Mag-X and Creative311, the hybrid system is more than just a belt starter-generator (BSG) mild hybrid assistance set up.

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Under the moniker e-Smart Hybrid, the system features a series system, where a small capacity petrol engine is used as a generator to continuously charge the lithium-ion battery. Propulsion is meanwhile exclusively delivered by a strong electric motor.

The series-hybrid system is currently popularised by Nissan under the e-Power technology. In the new Nissan Note as well as Nissan Kicks, a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine spins at a constant engine rpm to recharge the onboard batteries.

The electric drivetrain meanwhile is from the larger Nissan Leaf with changes made to suit the respective engine bay and vehicle mass. With the three-cylinder engine only operating when needed and at a prescribed speed, the made-in-Thailand Nissan Kicks consumes fuel in a much more optimised manner, returning Toyota Prius-level of fuel consumption of 4.2 L/100 km or 23.8 km/L.

The Japanese news portals also indicated that e-Smart Hybrid system is a Daihatsu system, rather than from parent company Toyota. Toyota’s smallest hybrid system is found in the all-new Aqua and Yaris, comprising of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine mated to two electric motor-generator units (MGU) to deliver a combined output of 116 hp whilst returning approximately 24 km/L.

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As for the two compact crossovers, the turbocharged three-cylinder engine displacing just 1.0-litre consumes 18.9 km/L, a figure lifted from the Ativa’s brochure, Perodua’s version of the compact SUV.

Toyota and Daihatsu in Japan will launch the new facelifted compact SUV twins on November 1st 2021, according to the information sighted by the news portals. As for our Perodua Ativa, it’s relatively new, thus we do not expect the new powertrain to be introduced into Malaysia so soon.