This is the 2016 Toyota Prius.
What is it?
The fourth generation of Toyota’s Prius marks a major shift for the hybrid: it moves onto a new set of components that will underpin a lot of future Toyota products in years to come. The new set of parts brings a more sophisticated chassis set-up than the existing car’s and Toyota is already claiming that it will make this Prius a more interesting drive than its efficient but fairly anodyne predecessors.
The emphasis will still be on remarkable fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, though. The Prius gets a new version of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain, which mixes a 1.8-litre petrol engine with electric motors that are fuelled by more advanced batteries than before. The petrol engine produces 97bhp while the electric motor puts out 71bhp.
There will also be a more advanced regenerative braking system that’s quieter and gives a more natural feel to the brake pedal.
Official fuel economy figures haven’t been announced, but Toyota officials have spoken of efficiency gains of around 18% compared with the outgoing model’s. That should give the Prius CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km.
The front of the Prius gets more dramatic headlights and complex surfacing on the bumper while the side profile is helped by a blacked-out C-pillar that’s designed to create a ‘floating roof’. The rear has clear cues from the recently-launched Mirai fuel cell vehicle, meanwhile, including the deep crease above the back wheels, extremely tall tail-lights and a spoiler integrated into the hatchback glass.
What’s it like inside?
Toyota has been focusing on simplifying its dashboards and the Prius continues that trend, with a huge slab of gloss-black finish and an infotainment display mounted in the centre of the fascia. The gear selector for the Prius’s version of a CVT transmission appears to be mounted on a near-vertical surface at the bottom of the dashboard, freeing up space between the front seats.
There’s also a digital instrument panel, colour head-up display and an air-conditioning system that recognises which seats are occupied and adjusts itself accordingly.
How much equipment does it come with?
The range has been revamped to appeal to company car drivers, and comprises Active, Business Edition, Business Edition Plus and Excel trims.
All models come with LED headlights with automatic high beam adjustment, electric powered drivers seat, keyless entry and start, dual-zone air conditioning and the latest version of the Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen entertainment system with DAB digital radio. The entry level trims is Active, and comes with 15in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.
Step up to Business Edition, and you get soft-touch cabin trim, a wireless phone charger, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats, and a leather trimmed steering wheel. Business Plus adds 17in alloy wheels, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors and a park assist system.
There are seven exterior colours to choose from, and two interior colours. There are also several options packs, such as the Parking Pack, which adds front and rear parking sensors for £350, while the Protection Pack adds front and rear mudflaps, scuff plates, protection on the rear bumper and a boot liner. That costs £300. A Black or Chrome Pack adds details on the sills, rear and fog light surround in the respective colour.
How much will it cost?
Prices start at £23,295 for the Active, while the Business Edition is from £24,195. The Business Edition Plus costs £25,995 and the Excel is £27,450.