The new Toyota Prius hybrid is launching in South Africa this month. Here’s what you can expect…
The Prius has been around for many years and it was the first hybrid model introduced to South Africa in 2005. More than 3.5 million Prius’ have found homes across the world and according to Toyota, the new model offers improved efficiency, dynamics and styling. Although hybrids aren't massively popular in South Africa, the new Prius aims to shatter perceptions.
Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing for Toyota Motors South Africa, says: “The fourth-generation Prius builds on the strengths and achievements of its predecessors and establishes new benchmarks in fuel economy, emissions and efficiency. It will add further impetus to the growing appeal of hybrids in the global market, achieving its strongest environmental performance yet, while delivering much improved styling and surprising driving dynamics from a green car.”
The new Toyota Prius is longer and wider, but sits lower than the model it replaces.
The latest Prius features a lowered bonnet, made possible by the Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA). The low bonnet affords the driver a commanding view of the road while also making the Prius appear more ‘athletic’. TGNA has also resulted in enhanced handling while body rigidity has improved by 60% compared to the previous model.
The headlights are now slimmer and the front-end design incorporates sharp and angular lines with the fog lights and air intakes giving the Prius a touch of sophistication.
The latest Prius has a lower centre of gravity and sits some 15mm closer to the road. It's also 60 mm longer and 15 mm wider than before. A wheelbase of 2 700 mm has however been retained. The length and angle of the rear spoiler has been tweaked to improve aerodynamics while the body work tapers off to the rear corners to reduce drag. The combination taillights are now seen on the outer edge of the rear-end with a sharper design.
The wheels have been improved too and the 15-inch lightweight alloys are 30% more rigid and 12.7 mm wider, allowing for more grip from the low resistance tyres. A tyre pressure monitoring system ensures optimal tyre performance.
A total of seven exterior colours will be offered on the Prius and these include Passion Red, Attitude Black, Glacier White, Pearl White Metallic, Graphite Grey Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic and Dark Blue Metallic.
The interior of the new Prius has been refined, featuring higher quality materials.
The interior of the new Prius has been designed to be a “welcoming, quiet and comfortable space”. Toyota says interior quality has improved too and the dashboard features a layered design with a clear distinction between the controls and displays. A dark dashboard stands in contrast to the white, scratch resistant finishes seen on the door panels and storage space ahead of the gear lever.
A “floating” design is employed for the central cluster, which has a silver-finished frame. The Prius is equipped with a 7-inch, tablet-like touchscreen as well as a six speaker sound system.
For the driver, two 4.2-inch full colour TFT displays provide information pertaining to the hybrid system, driving tips and performance while the second screen relays the vehicle speed, fuel reading, odometer, trip meter, range, fuel consumption and drive mode. The colour of the screens also change depending on the mode selected. Three driving modes, including Normal, ECO and Power are available to the driver.
Standard features include a rear-view camera with guidelines, Heads Up Display, heated seats and seven airbags.
Other improvements include a more comfortable driving position, increased tilt adjustment for the steering wheel and redesigned seats that offer higher levels of support and comfort. The floor in the boot is 110 mm lower than the outgoing model, allowing for a total of 502 litres to be utilised.
An enhanced hybrid powertrain does service in the new Prius with a claimed fuel consumption of just 3.7 L/100km
The new Prius features a new compact and lightweight hybrid powertrain. The system consists of a re-engineered version of the 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle engine used in the current Prius. This engine has an output of 72 kW and 142 Nm of torque and is coupled to two lighter electric motor-generators (one motor converts surplus energy into electricity while the second motor is a drive motor) generating 53 kW and 163 Nm of torque. Total combined power output is 90 kW. The hybrid battery, located beneath the rear seat, is 10% smaller and is able to charge faster than before and displays improved thermal efficiency and energy absorption. Toyota claims a fuel consumption figure of 3.7 L/100km for the new Prius.
In terms of performance, the Prius can accelerate from zero to 100 kph in 10.6 seconds while 80 kph to 120 kph takes 8.3 seconds. The Prius can reach a top speed of 180 kph.
Updates to the hybrid system software has led to a 60% increase in the speed range of the electric motor, meaning that the Prius is able to access electric power more readily without depending too heavily on the petrol engine, which further aids fuel consumption.
The Prius features a revised MacPherson strut suspension with new shock absorbers while an all-new double-wishbone rear suspension is fitted, improving overall stability, handling response and drive comfort. To complement these changes, revised electric power steering delivers better feel and feedback to the driver and an electronically controlled braking system ensures optimal regenerative and friction braking.
We will be attending the launch of the new Toyota Prius later this month, so stay tuned for our first impressions!
New Toyota Prius – Price in South Africa
Toyota Prius – R427 200
The new Prius is sold with a 3-year/100 000km warranty, 5-year/90 000 km service plan and an 8-year/195 000 hybrid battery warranty.