Sales for Toyota's popular hybrid to begin late 2015
First unveiled in Las Vegas, Toyota has debuted the popular Prius in its home country. For the fourth generation model, Toyota says the Prius will offer better fuel economy, improved thermal efficiency and a more involving drive.
The 2016 Prius is the first recipient of the company's new platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota says the TNGA platform is 60% more rigid and has a lower center of gravity for better handling and stability. Like the second and third generation models, the all-new Prius features a Kammback profile where the tail end of the car abruptly cuts off for aerodynamics. All in all, the car's styling is patterned after Toyota's fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai. The headlights have been swept upwards while the tail light follows the shape of the Kammback profile. The all-new Prius is now 60 mm longer, 15 mm wider and 20 mm lower than the previous model. The increase in exterior dimentions translates to a more spacious cabin and improved cargo space.
Inside, the all-new dash layout might be familiar to current Prius owners with its center mounted instrument panel displaying the car's battery and engine status. The center console now houses a much larger touchscreen infotainment system. It also gets a new three-spoke steering wheel and the shape of the air vents has been changed. Like the current generation Prius, it comes with a small gear lever.
For 2016, the Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter VVT-i inline-four alongside the smaller nickel-metal hydride batteries. According to Toyota, the smaller batteries charge better and more durable compared to its predecessor. Toyota adds that the engine is now 40% better when it comes to thermal efficiency. This was made possible after the automaker installed a dual cooling system in the Prius. For even better efficiency, the 73 PS electric motor and transaxle have been redesigned and reduce mechanical power losses by 20%. In addition, the TNGA platform's lightweight design has improved fuel economy by 18%, according to Toyota's figures.
Toyota said the 2016 Prius will offer a more involving drive with the new platform. It now rides on a new front suspension set up and, at the back, double wishbone suspension for better handling and ride comfort, as well as safety as a result of the new suspension set up. When it comes to safety equipment, the Prius is available with lane departure alert, pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beam assist.