The 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid has been unveiled in India at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo, with the car likely to be launched by the end of the year. The all-new Prius, which was globally revealed by Toyota in September 2015, utilises the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and this platform has resulted in a series of improvements in the car when compared to the outgoing model.
The chassis is now 60% more rigid while the centre of gravity is lower, which has boosted the car’s stability, handling, and overall comfort level for the driver and passengers. The change in the suspension setup has a significant effect on the way it drives as well, with a new front suspension and a rear double wishbone suspension.
The powertrain too has been placed lower and all these changes have had a significant change in the way the new Toyota Prius performs. Powering the Prius is the same 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder VVT-i gasoline engine. However, the naturally-aspirated engine has been reworked to improve fuel economy by 18 per cent and thermal efficiency by 40 per cent. The bump in fuel efficiency will mean that the Prius will now be able to return a fuel economy figure of 40Km/l.
The DOHC combustion engine churns out 97bhp and develops a respectable 142Nm of torque. The engineers at Toyota have redesigned the transaxle and the electric motor, which punches out 73bhp, to lower mechanical losses through friction by approximately 20 per cent, thanks to a new multi-axle design.
The Prius comes equipped with a new nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery that now sits beneath the rear seats, which results in a configuration that helps in the weight distribution of the car. The battery is smaller than before, but more durable, and with an increased charging performance.
The trunk capacity too remains at a respectable 502 litres and the auxiliary batteries have been moved from the trunk to the engine compartment.
The car measures 4,540mm in length, 1,760mm in width, 1,470mm in height and 2,700mm in wheelbase. This makes it 60mm longer, 15mm wider and 20mm lower than the previous generation and these changes translate into a more spacious cabin for the passengers as well as more trunk space.
The fourth generation of the Prius is safe too. According to Toyota, it uses a higher proportion of high-tensile strength steel in its construction, making good use of high-strength, lightweight hot-stamp materials to achieve rigidity of 980Mpa and higher. The content of this quality of steel in the vehicle has increased from 3 to 19 per cent. Furthermore, the use of advanced Global Outstanding Assessment (GOA) helps to reduce overall weight, improve stability, and provides excellent collision safety performance.
Apart from all of this, the new Toyota Prius is packed with features like lane departure alert, pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beam, etc.
The Prius will be imported into India through the CBU route and is expected to be priced in the range of 38-40 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Prius and the Camry Hybrid benefit from the Indian government’s FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) scheme, which helps to lower their price.