Toyota has taken the eraser to the fourth-generation Prius’s exterior as part of its mid-life refresh revealed at the LA Auto Show this week, removing some of the edgier elements of the petrol/electric hybrid’s outlandish exterior.
It’s a pretty wholesale change, too, with both the front and rear ends made over, new headlight and taillight treatments, new rims and a slightly revised interior, as well.
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And it’s not come a moment too soon for the once-dominant hybrid warrior. Not that long ago, it competed in a class of one, but now has to fight off the likes of siblings like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Corolla Hybrid.
Hyundai, too, has waded into the space with three versions of its Ioniq coupe – including a petrol/electric hybrid version.
The new-look Prius – which could once count on its Jetsons visage to give owners a visual ‘environmental warrior’ cue – presents a much more sedate vision now, with a less pronounced snout, reshaped headlights with vertical daytime running lamps, and toned-down taillights.
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New 17-inch rims are added to the top spec i-Tech while – hold on to your hats – a new hubcap design is offered on the base model car. Toyota has also added red and blue to the paint palette for the Prius, which touches down in Australia in April next year.
Inside, the centre console has been redesigned to suit a new 7.0-inch multimedia screen, which even though it comes with tactile swipe controls, still misses out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
Technically speaking, the Prius retains its 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine/twin electric motor powertrain, backed by a CVT-style transmission. It also retains its 7.4kWh nickel-metal/hydride battery and 3.4L/100km claimed combined fuel economy figure.