Toyota has launched a new hatchback model in Japan called the Blade aimed at ageing baby boomers and ‘empty nesters’ – couples whose children are grown and have left home.

The compact car has a large 2.4-litre engine and seven-step CVT automatic transmission (like many new Japanese domestic models these days, there’s no manual option but 4WD is available) and standard safety equipment includes vehicle stability and traction control systems, side and curtain airbags and driver’s seat knee air bags across the range.

Interior trim on higher grades includes ‘suede-like leather’ (Alcantara) on the doors and instrument panel enclosure as well as a ‘titanium finish’ centre cluster panel. LED interior lighting is also used.

The automatic airconditioner, with dual zones on top models, features Plasmacluster Ions air-cleaning technology that optimises the ratio of positive and negative ions.

A keyless smart entry and start system includes pushbutton engine start and an optional intelligent parking assist system can be combined with a navigation system. Hill-start assist control is also available.

An ‘eco drive indicator’ lights up when the vehicle is being efficiently operated “to raise the driver’s awareness of environmentally considerate driving and contribute to higher fuel efficiency”, Toyota said.