Riding on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), Lentz says the overhauled Prius will be better looking than the model it replaces and will also provide improved handling as a result of a lower center of gravity. He went on to specify “I have driven it. It’s fantastic” and will be more frugal than the model it replaces, although Lentz says the rumored 15% improvement in fuel economy is exaggerated.
Codenamed 690A, the fourth-gen Prius was supposed to come out this past spring but Toyota delayed its launch because executives were not satisfied with how it looks. It will benefit from the microchips and microcontrollers tested in the TS040 HYBRID racecar and is expected to be offered with both nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion battery packs.
An optional all-wheel drive system is a possibility and we already know the gasoline engine’s thermal efficiency has been increased from 38.5% to more than 40% while weight is rumored to go down by as much as 20%.
As far as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, production of the current generation will come to an end at the end of this month, but its successor won’t be introduced sooner than the fall of next year as a 2017MY.