Toyota’s new Prius Plug-in Hybrid, badged Prius Prime, was unveiled at the 2016 New York motor show. Toyota claims the Prime to be its latest technology flagship. The car can reach a top-speed of 135kph, or travel about 50km on pure electric power.
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid gets new LED front and rear lights. It’s a good 165mm longer than the outgoing model, and sits marginally wider and lower too. Toyota has improved the car’s aerodynamics with measures like a double-bubble rear window and an automatic radiator shutter which closes when cooling air isn’t needed by the engine.
Solar panels on the roof charge the battery and a gas injection heat pump system keeps the air conditioning working when the car is being driven in battery-only mode. The car’s 8.8kWh lithium ion battery takes just two hours and 20 minutes to charge. While the kerb weight of the car remains under wraps, Toyota insists this has been “kept to a minimum”.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s 1.8-litre petrol engine has been reworked for improved efficiency and Toyota’s claims this to be the world’s most efficient mass-produced petrol engine.
While the Prius is known to be unexciting to drive, Toyota designers say that the Prime has a “more engaging” driving position, a high centre console and the cabin layout of a luxury coupé, with the centre console featuring a 4.2-inch TFT screen and a wireless phone charging tray.
To improve driving dynamics, there’s a new double wishbone rear suspension, a revised front suspension, and a lower centre of gravity, which also reduces body roll, improves stability and sharpens the steering.