The automaker’s log running and very successful hybrid will receive a new generation in the form of the 2016 Prius sometimes this year, thus bringing to an end the numerous rumors and reports that a crucial model has been postponed.
Jim Lents, chief executive officer of Toyota North America refrained from providing a specific schedule for the launch but gave assurances it will happen sooner, rather than later. The executive pointed out the previous three generations of the groundbreaking hybrid all had a lifespan of around six years over the life cycle and the current model has been first shown back in 2009, suggesting the fourth generation would be here this year. Now, analysts and industry experts are pointing out to a fall unveiling during either the Tokyo or Los Angeles auto events. “I have driven it. It’s fantastic,” Lentz said. The top manager added the new generation Prius looks better and has a refreshed handling, with a lower center of gravity. He hinted the design might take notice from the Toyota C-HR concept crossover unveiled last year during the 2014 Paris auto show.
The hybrid has been developed at home in Japan and is also the first one to be manufactured according to the Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA, the new product development strategy that seeks to better use the global scale of the world’s largest automaker. He also stated the new model would offer an increase on the current model’s fuel economy figure of 50 mpg in combined city and highway driving, though he called the media reports of a 15 percent increase as exaggerated.