Toyota has updated its hybrid gasoline-electric Prius sedan to make it the most fuel-efficient five-seat passenger car on the Japanese domestic market, Reuters reported.

Under Japanese government fuel economy tests, the new Prius does 31 km per litre, or 73 miles per gallon, Reuters said, outstripping Honda’s Civic hybrid at 29.5 km per litre.

The previous Prius obtained 29 km per litre, Reuters noted.

Reuters said Honda’s aerodynamic Insight two-seater, designed specifically for maximum fuel efficiency rather than practicality, remains the leading vehicle in the fuel economy race, getting 35 km per litre.

The news agency said that the minor model change for the Prius announced today is only aimed at the domestic market but company executives have also said they are planning a new version of the car for the US market.

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Toyota launched the first Prius in 1997 and has now set itself a goal of producing 300,000 of the eco-friendly hybrid vehicles a year by 2005 or 2006, Reuters said.