Whether you like it or not but, Toyota Motor’s flagship green car Prius has been one of the most successful lines of automobiles in the past decade. Just like its name, the Toyota Prius is known for setting a landmark in automobile history to become the first production model for a hybrid vehicle. Combining power with an electric motor and internal combustion engine, the Prius set a new standard in environmental awareness among automobile manufacturers. The vehicle made its debut in the Japanese market back in the year 1997 and displayed a sedan like body. The use of a gasoline-electric drivetrain not only provided a decent amount of power but also became known for its extremely low emissions. The new ‘liftback’ model of the Prius was presented by the manufacturer in the year 2003 and has spawned 4 generations of Prius models since then. This vehicle’s main selling point is its impressive fuel economy and extremely low emissions making it one of greenest cars in the US. A pioneer in environmentally friendly vehicles, Toyota is also considered as one of the most fuel-efficient and cleanest automobile available in the US markets.
Making its debut in 2015 at the Las Vegas International Auto Show, the latest generation of the world’s favorite hybrid car is all set to make its presence in the Filipino market this year. The latest model is not only significantly improved in terms of features and appearance but also has got increased overall dimensions. This might be due to the latest Global Modular Architecture (TNGA) platform that has also been used in several Lexus-branded vehicles.
Mileage and Fuel economy
Good Mileage and Fuel economy are the Prius’ main forte as it relies on a 1.8-litre hybrid drivetrain along with a battery-powered electric motor. This engine is extremely efficient and delivers an astonishing 21.25 kmpl of mileage making it perfect for a regular run. Even if you don’t like the ‘timid’ looks of the Prius, there is no way you can ignore its impressive fuel economy with extreme drive-friendliness.
The latest Prius is not only presented with a much larger battery pack but also with a brand new hybrid engine with the VVT-i fuel injection system that burns 40 percent less fuel and provides a good power output. The gasoline-powered internal combustion engine and the electric motor provides a combined output of 99 PS at 5200 rpm along with 142 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine power is, however, an often ignored attribute for the Prius which is known more for its fuel economy along with being environment-friendly.
Acceleration & Pickup
Despite its low engine power as compared to other petrol or diesel powered vehicles, the Prius isn’t bad if you someday decide to put the pedal to the metal. It can reach from naught to 100 kmph in a decent 10-11 seconds. The Prius can reach a top speed of up to 195 kmph which is again decent for a semi-electric powered vehicle.
The new TNGA platform has not only provided a sportier look to the hybrid ‘liftback’ car but has also removed the torsion beam rear from the previous iterations. Toyota Motors has been notoriously famous for its conservative body styling and hardly produces any revolting designs such as Chevrolet or Suzuki. The Prius’ body styling is certainly with its fair share of flaws and has been one of the most controversial vehicles across the globe. Public opinion is also mixed with several users praising the elegant body design while some comparing the vehicle to a conventional sedan. Despite the heavily divided reaction to the Prius’ design aesthetics, the enlarged dimensions have certainly improved the overall appeal of the vehicle. The face has also been revamped and looks even more serious with the ‘squinted’ LED powered headlamps. The new model is not only more aerodynamically superior but has a longer and wider body with a reduced ground clearance.
Body lines have also been involved in the design to make the vehicle appear edgier, adding a bit of masculinity that had allegedly been missing from the previous models. The body is presented with a more aluminum-intensive frame that provides a decent rigidity with decreased weight. Although this hasn’t been officially admitted by the design team at Toyota Motors, but anyone with a keen eye can spot the similarities between the Toyota C-HR concept and the latest Prius.
Like already mentioned, the TGNA platform does a terrific job with the new Prius and bought several key changes to the overall measurements. The dimensions of the vehicle have been increased to 4460 mm x 1745 mm X 1490 mm (L X W X H) along with the wheelbase of 2016 Prius ensuring comfortable headroom and legroom for all the occupants.
The interiors are where 2016 Prius has seen a lot of changes. The dashboard has been totally redesigned and features a distinctly upmarket centre console. The materials used for the interiors also look and feel expensive and the insulation does a neat job of eliminating any unwanted noises from outside. The instrument cluster has been displayed at the center of the dashboard, right above the touchscreen panel instead of being traditionally placed in front of the driver. The dual tone upholstery with the use of ivory white also makes the interiors feel much spacious. The center console has now been fitted with a full TFT color screen and neatly displays all options. The climate control also makes the drives more comfortable with the Eco Diary that helps to maintain a record of the vehicle’s fuel economy. The Prius’ unique design that is borrowed from a sedan, allows for a decent boot space of almost 778-litres that can be easily accessed via the electronically controlled rear liftgate. Furthermore, the rear seats can also be folded to increase the trunk space by a considerable degree.
The increased interior space means the 2016 Prius will be far more comfortable than the older models. The seats look posh and feel comfortable with a decent leg and headroom for both front and rear cabins. Some might miss the rear cup holders from the older models but the HVAC buttons at the rear make it easy for the occupants to control the inside temperature. The flying buttress console from the older models has been removed from between the driver and front passenger seat and now features more conventional trays and cup holders, saving a lot of extra space in the front cabin. The increased length and width means there is more leg and shoulder space and can fit up to almost 6 passengers. It has a 6-way adjustable driver seat and 4-way adjustable passenger seat for the front. Power doors and windows come as standard for both front and rear across all variants with 12V power outlets in the front and rear.
Toyota Prius offers a decent space to all its 5 occupants, all thanks to its decent wheelbase. apart from this, the car also offers a standard boot sizing 778-litres at its rear where the occupants can pack their big weekend luggage bags with ease. for the convenience of the passengers, some petty cabin compartments are also offered in this car.
Engine and Performance
When you buy a hybrid powered green vehicle as the Toyota Prius, racing it down the highways or empty streets is the last thing on your mind. This 1.8-litre hybrid engine churns out a maximum power of 99 PS at 5200 rpm along with a maximum torque counting to 142 Nm at 4000 rpm. This means that, although the Prius will not be as fast as the other cars, it will provide a satisfying drive with a superior fuel economy. A lot of people consider this to be one of the car’s major disadvantages, but the manufacturers claim that it can easy reach speeds up to 195 kmph and clock 0-100 kmph in a respectable 10 seconds.
Stereo and Accessories
If you have had any complaints with the older single tone entertainment console from the older Prius model, the new models will certainly appeal to you. The freshly designed dashboard now features a fully colored display and integrated navigation. It can connect easily with any MP3 player or iPhone with advanced voice recognition. It features a total of 6 speakers with the higher trims being powered by JBL audio and comes with a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio. The backup parking assist camera is also integrated into the display allowing convenience. The multi-information display measures 4.2-inch and can show various types of information such as eco score, energy monitor and the Hybrid system indicator.
Talking about the wheels and tires of Toyota Prius, this drive is packed with 15-inch alloy wheels along with tires measuring 195/65 R15 as standard. this perfect combination of wheels and tires ensure firm grip and absolute stability while driving on any teraain.
Braking and Handling
The low engine output sure makes the Prius slow, but its excellent handling will certainly be helpful in a busy city street. The CVT transmission has allowed for effortless and tension free driving in even the most sluggish of traffic conditions. Although it has been equipped with the ‘Regenerative braking system’ that charges your battery every time you apply the brakes, the pedal still feels extremely light and responsive. Toyota has packed the Prius with McPherson strut-type with stabilizer front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension for perfect handling while running on any terrain. With ventilated disc brakes at front wheels and solid drum brakes at the rear pair, you can experience efficient braking.
Safety and Security
There might only be a few instances of the Prius reaching terminal velocities, it has still been deemed extremely safe by its manufacturers. The new Prius’ frame has been reinforced with lightweight steel and aluminum that provides protection against collisions and rollovers. The advanced technology package by Toyota motors has improved the safety quotient of the new Prius by a significant margin. Although the vehicle has not yet been officially given any safety ratings, it features several advanced safety technologies such as autonomous braking, pre-collision warning, lane departure alert and parking assist. The cruise control has also been integrated into the higher trims with hill-assist controls for better driving in uphill and downhill terrains. The previous model of the Prius was provided with a 4-star safety rating by the Euro NCAP, but with the inclusion of several new safety features, the 2016 model might achieve a perfect 5-stars.
- Enhanced vehicle dimensions
- Better fuel economy
- Revamped Interiors
- Low engine output
- Exterior design not that appealing