2016 toyota prius – DOC641544
Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid back in 1997 and since then the model has been through three generational changes — the latest was revealed in 2009. When Toyota released the Prius, it quickly became known as the face of hybrid vehicles . With competition becoming fiercer each year, Toyota needs to keep improving the Prius to keep it in the No. 1 slot in the hybrid market in its next generation.
Rumors suggest that the next-generation Prius will take its market dominance to a whole new level. Toyota will go for a completely revised look and will move it to New Global Architecture platform that will make it lighter and cheaper to build, making the Prius the first model to implement the company’s effort to cut development costs by 20 percent through sharing platforms, parts and powertrains. This revised look is anticipated to give the Prius a sportier look than the current model, much like the difference between the last-generation Corolla and the current model.
Updated 08/20/2015: According to Automotive News, the redesigned Toyota Prius will be shown to the media on September 8th, in Las Vegas.
Toyota Prius – Driven
Though the new hybrid is right around the corner, its design is still a mystery. However, recent spy shots suggest the Prius will be slightly larger and look more like a sedan rather than a liftback, with a shape similar to the 2016 Chevrolet Volt . While the roofline seems to have remained similar to the previous model, expect both the front the rear fascia to receive an overhaul. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit of Mirai in the Prius’ new styling, but the overall look should be more mundane. However, look for a sportier front fascia with new LED headlamps and a bold rear section with smaller taillights and a big tailgate.
Toyota Prius – Driven
If recent spy shots are any indication, the new Prius received a revised interior with just enough changes to call it new. There’s a new infotainment screen with HVAC control buttons at the bottom and a gear shifter mounted much lower on the dashboard. The car’s traditional high-mounted driver information cluster appears to have remained in place, keeping the area above the steering wheel clean. Often criticized for its lack of refinement, the cabin should get an extensive update in that department as well. New high-tech features are also on the table, including an improved infotainment system.
Toyota Prius – Driven
With no official word as to what will motivate the new Prius, the rumor mill is packed will all sorts of scenarios. The most plausible is that the car will get an updated version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system that will include a new 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that will bump combined output from 134 to 150 horsepower. The hybrid will continue to use two electric motors and a CVT gearbox.
If this proves to be true, the Prius will be a bit quicker from 0 to 60 mph — the current model needs 10.4 seconds — and will reach a top speed higher than the current 103-mph rating. More importantly, the new driveline should boost fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent, to 55 mpg, according to the company’s North American CEO.
There’s also speculation that there could be two versions of the new Prius: one with a nickel-metal hydride battery and another with a lithium-ion unit. The latter will reportedly offer even better fuel economy. As for the Prius Plug-in, likely to break cover in 2016, it is rumored to offer an electric range of up to 35 miles, a significant improvement over the current 11-mile range.
All-wheel-drive is also possible, but the Japanese are still mum on the matter.
With the current Prius priced from $24,200, it’s safe to assume that the next-generation will retail from around $26,000.
Ford C-Max Hybrid
Available in both hybrid and plug-in versions, the 2013 C-Max Hybrid employs a drivetrain consisting of a 2.0-liter, inline-four, Atkinson-cycle engine and an electric motor. The combo delivers 188 combined horsepower. The system gets its juice from a 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery and uses an electronically controlled CVT. As with all hybrids, the C-Max is equipped with a regenerative braking system. Pricing for the C-Max starts at $24,170, which puts it right up the Prius’ alley. However, the Ford is inferior economy-wise, returning only 42 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Volt features a much more attractive exterior design and a premium interior. The Chevy is also different in how it operates, using a small gasoline engine as a range extender. The battery-fueled motors crank out 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque and return an electric range of 50 miles. When the battery is depleted, the 101-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine kicks in to extend the range. Overall mileage, including fully charged batteries and a full tank of fuel, is estimated at an impressive 420 miles. The Volt retails from $33,995, but Government rebated can drop the net price to as low as $25,000.
With Prius sales having dropped dramatically due to lack of updates since 2009 and with drivers moving toward other brands offerings EVs and hybrids in recent years, Toyota is in desperate need of a redesigned Prius. This year’s overhaul should help the Japanese hybrid become the incredibly popular vehicle it once was, especially with a more powerful engine and improved fuel economy on its side.
- Fresh, more appealing design
- Improved fuel economy
- Better interior with updated tech
- Five extra mpgs is a bit disappointing after six years
- Exterior design could still be boring compared to competition