The next generation of the world's best-selling hybrid.
The Toyota Prius has become a significant automobile on the global scene. More than 3.5 million have been sold globally since it was introduced in 1997, making it the best-selling hybrid by far. The arrival of a brand-new version, therefore, is a very big deal.
The fourth generation Prius is all new, 6.0-cm longer, 2.0-cm lower and 1.5-cm wider than the outgoing model, it is the first Toyota produced on the lighter-weight, aluminum-intensive TNGA global architecture that will also underpin the next Corolla. Using more high-strength steel (19% vs 3%) it is 60% more rigid than the outgoing model and offers improved noise reduction and crashworthiness.
The 2016 Prius certainly stands out. The front end differs with its boomerang-shaped LED headlamps and hood creases that begin at the Toyota logo in the grille and emanate rearward from there.
They're not exactly a throwback to the '50s but the deep-formed rear quarters along with the shape of the tail-lights give the appearance of fins on the new Prius.
Further reinforcing Toyota's wish to have the new Prius thought of as sporty and fun, it is available in Hypersonic Red with black inserts on the five-spoke wheels
The ride is firmer than the outgoing model with some of the credit/blame going to the low rolling resistance tires.
The Prius stays in full electric mode longer and more often. When running in non-hybrid mode, the engine shuts down when it comes to a full stop and drives off silently in electric mode
The new car's cowl (left) is notably lower than on the outgoing model (right), allowing more light inside and providing greater visibility.
The new Prius offers a big dose of safety features, either standard or available, including pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, radar-based adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beams.
A smaller, lighter lithium-ion battery pack fits beneath the rear seats in the top trim level, instead of behind it as in the outgoing model. Lower trim levels continue to use a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack but it is now more compact to fit in the same place as the lithium-ion unit.
Smaller batteries and a trunk floor that is 7.5-cm lower help give the Prius twice the luggage space of a Camry hybrid. Cargo space has been increased by 10% and the car can now accommodate a quartet of six footers.
The instrument cluster is in the same central position as in the outgoing Prius, but there are new graphics and a wireless charging mat on the forward portion of the centre console.
The gearshift has been moved to below the centre stack and sticks out from the instrument panel at a 90-degree angle.
The new Prius uses a revised version of Toyota’s 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE Atkinson-cycle engine. It has lost three horsepower, down to 95, and gets redesigned intake ports, additional exhaust gas recirculation and dedicated heat exchangers allowing it to go farther and do more on less fuel.
Thanks to a new rear suspension, a lower centre of gravity and extensive work on the springs, dampers and bushings, the 2016 Prius is significantly more responsive to steering input, stays flatter in the corners and is actually pretty good to drive on the twisty stuff.
The 2016 Prius will be available in three trim levels: Entry, $25,995; Technology, $28,730 and Touring, $29,330
Model; 2016 Toyota Prius
Price: $25,995 base
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder, 95-horsepower, 105-lb-ft of torque
Motor: 53-kW electric motor, 71-horsepower; 120-lb-ft of torque
Combined Power Output: 121-horsepower
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic
Fuel consumption (city/highway): 4.2/4.6 litre/100 km
Length: 4,540 mm
Width: 1,760 mm
Wheelbase: 2,700 mm
Mass: 1,403 kg
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