Toyota has unveiled its next-generation Prius, bringing a far more striking design and a raft of new technologies.
The Prius was first launched in 1997 and arrived as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car, and has been key to the expansion of Toyota’s electrified line-up, which is now predominantly made up of hybrid models in the UK. More than five million examples of the Prius have been produced since.
Toyota says with this new model it ‘decided to start from scratch’ and ‘renew the Prius’. Using Toyota’s second-generation TNGA platform, it gets a far bolder design than its predecessor, with a ‘hammerhead shark-like design’ at the front. The whole shape is more curved than its angular predecessor, while the rear is dominated by a full-width light bar wrapped in a gloss black section. Large 19-inch alloy wheels are also available.
Inside, the latest Prius’ interior is more modern too, with a new touchscreen and instrument panel, with the latter using Toyota’s first illuminated warning system.
The Prius continues to be sold purely with hybrid powertrains, with a choice of ‘self-charging’ setups or a plug-in version, with only the latter set to be introduced in Europe.
This plug-in hybrid is a brand-new setup for Toyota, pairing a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine together with an electric motor for a combined 220bhp – a significant 100bhp more than its predecessor, and which allows for a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds.
Toyota has also increased the size of the battery, which can allow for around 60 miles of electric-only driving – about 50 per cent more than its predecessor. Its battery has also been moved to beneath the rear seats, helping to give the Prius a lower centre of gravity – improving handling ability – while also increasing the available boot space.
New technologies available on the Prius include self-parking functionality, which can be done from outside the car using a dedicated smartphone app, as well as an in-vehicle drive recorder. The car’s battery can also be used to power external equipment, while its solar roof could add up to 775 miles of range to the car per year.
Revealed in Japan, Toyota has confirmed that the new Prius will be introduced to some European markets, though added that it will not be sold in the UK because of falling sales in recent years.