Next-gen Toyota Prius Revealed – Aus Launch Confirmed For Early 2016

Toyota has lifted the lid on its all-new fourth-generation Prius hybrid ahead of its first motor show appearance at Frankfurt this month and its Australian market introduction in early 2016.

However, while we can finally see the new Prius’ edgier form in these officially-sanctioned images (spy photos ruined the surprise ten days ago), the all-important stats on the Prius’ new powertrain remain top secret until Frankfurt.

Toyota will say, however, that the new Prius boasts a thermal efficiency of 40 percent, meaning its petrol-electric hybrid system is capable of extracting two-fifths of the total energy contained in a given amount of petrol.

It may not sound like much, but it’s enough to qualify it as the world’s most thermally-efficient powertrain. If true, it lends credence to reports that average fuel consumption could drop to as low as 2.5 l/100km – 1.4 l/100km lower than the current model.

Some of that efficiency gain comes from the use of Toyota’s new TNGA platform, a common architecture that will be used across other transverse-engined Toyota products and incorporates a number of weight-saving features.

The platform is also more rigid than before, and though handling prowess is low on the list of “reasons to buy a Prius” Toyota claims its new hybrid benefits from greatly improved roadholding thanks to greater torsional rigidity and a multi-link rear suspension.

The centre of gravity has also been pushed lower to aid stability, with the new Prius measuring roughly 60mm longer, 15mm wider and 20mm lower than the current model.

That dimensional growth also brings more interior space for passengers and cargo.

The interior continues with the Prius’ established centre-mounted instrument panel layout, but the execution is more modern than before.

The tombstone-like centre stack is more upright than before and surrounded by glossy black plastic, while the gear selector is smaller and housed in its own white plastic-clad console at the base of the stack.

Capacitive touch controls replace traditional buttons for the infotainment display, and the climate control panel has a more up-to-date apperance.

Expect more details to emerge next week, when the new Prius rolls onto the Toyota stand at the Frankfurt motor show.

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