|Production||1997 - 2003 1st gen
2003 - present 2nd gen
|Body style(s)||5-door hatchback|
|Engine(s)||1.5 L 5E-FE 1st gen
1.5 L 1NZ-FE VVT-i 2nd gen
|Transmission(s)||Automatic 1st gen
Automatic (Super-ECT) 2nd gen
|Length||4,025 mm (158.5 in) 1st gen
4,045 mm (159.3 in) 2nd gen
|Width||1,685 mm (66.3 in) 1st gen
1,690 mm (67 in) 2nd gen
|Height||1,590 mm (63 in) 1st gen
1,545 mm (60.8 in) 2nd gen
|Curb weight||1,100 kg (2,400 lb) 1st gen
1,150 kg (2,500 lb) 2nd gen
The vehicle's name is German for chamber, berth, room, space, expanse, scope, area, or sphere and attempts to emphasize the vast amount of space it contains relative to its size. This is because the front doors on both the driver and passenger sides open conventionally, but the rear doors slide open rearward and attach to the top and bottom of the door openings and interlock to the front doors. The Raum uses a similar door approach also used on the Peugeot 1007, which is a 3-door hatchback with side sliding doors on both sides.
There is no door jamb between the front and rear doors that the doors attach to on the passenger side, and the passenger front seat folds flat upon itself and then can be folded forward while still being attached to the floor at the front bottom of the seat. The rear seats can be folded flat with a 60:40 split or can also be folded forward individually for a rear flat cargo floor.
The automatic transmission gear selector is dashboard mounted, thereby freeing up the flat floor space between the front seats, allowing movement to the back seat from inside the vehicle.
The first generation car was equipped with EBD brakes on top level G and E packages, with a later addition to the C package. A minor facelift was done August 1999.
A complete body change was released for sale May 12, 2003 and shared the platform with the Toyota Vitz. Side impact protection was further enhanced. The passenger side rear door can be opened electronically and by remote control key fob. The engine used in the second generation model is shared with the Toyota Prius.
On October 20, 2003, the vehicle won the Japan Good Design Award with a special mention for people with physical disabilities. A new trim level was added in 2004, called the C Pakage NEO Edition, (NEW ERA OPENING). The DVD navigational system was upgraded to HDD on December 5, 2006. On January 7, 2009, a in-car cabin air filter was added and HID headlamps.
Prices for the 2009 model start at ¥ 1,596,000 with the top level starting at ¥ 1,984,500.