Until now, Toyota has never tried to make the Prius exciting. It has always been seen as a responsible, unembellished way to get around; or as a sign to your neighbours that you care about the environment, but don’t care about driving all that much.
Toyota aims to change that with the new generation Prius launched in Australia this week. The new Prius looks dynamic – futuristic even – and Toyota promises that it is fun to drive.
"Toyota has changed the entire focus and perspective of Prius by evoking a more emotional response with a car that is fun to see, touch and drive," said Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing.
Redesigned suspension sits beneath the new Prius boosting stability, handling and comfort levels. It’s the first car to be guided by Toyota’s ‘New Generation Architecture’ philosophy that aims to introduce better body control through a more rigid body structure and lower centre of gravity.
Cramb says, "New Prius advances its driving dynamics and driveway appeal while also delivering substantially improved innovation and efficiency.”
Every element of the hybrid drivetrain has been upgraded for efficiency: the 1.8-litre petrol engine uses less fuel; the electric motors are smaller, lighter and more efficient; the transmission and power control unit have been improved; and the hybrid battery is lighter and smaller.
Smart climate control can detect a front passenger, and focus its energy if the driver is alone in the car. All that adds up to combined fuel usage of just 3.4L/100km which is better than the old Prius by almost 13%.
The standard Prius starts at $34,990 and comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, new safety technologies, a head-up display, LED headlights and daytime running lamps, and a 10-speaker JBL audio system.
Prius i-Tech is priced from $42,990 and is fitted with lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation and heated, leather-accented seats.