Toyota sets standard with 2016 Prius hybrid

Prius-PP-CopyTOYOTA has unveiled its new 2016 Prius which may be facing uptight competition than the outgoing model with its global benchmark for hybrids.

True to its established role as Toyota’s “technology ambassador,” new Prius is the first model to adopt a Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA) platform, which is key to delivering better handling, a more rewarding drive and a more stylish and appealing design

The Japanese manufacturer said the older-tech battery provides improved fuel economy, lower emissions and higher efficiency than the outgoing Prius’s power supply, while also improving charging performance and creating a smoother, more linear-feel to the acceleration.

At a stroke, the new TGNA endows the car with a lower centre of gravity for improved handling response and stability. It also gives the designers a freer hand to craft a car that has richer visual appeal, with lower lines overall and a more athletic profile.

TNGA also helps define the “peace-of-mind” interior, with its excellent packaging, driving position and comfort. Load space is also improved thanks to the use of a smaller, more energy-dense hybrid battery and a new double wishbone rear suspension system – features which do not intrude on boot capacity.

Prius remains Toyota’s technological ambassador, a showcase for new, relevant technologies that raise levels of safety, convenience, performance and comfort.

Safety remains a priority, with the TNGA chassis optimised for excellent impact performance. The scope of the Toyota Safety Sense package is extended in the new Prius with addition of radar-managed Adaptive Cruise Control and a pedestrian detection function for the Pre-Crash Safety system.

The full hybrid powertrain has undergone extensive revisions to improve efficiency, reduce weight and sharpen performance. Detailed design changes to the engine have achieved more than 40 per cent thermal efficiency – world-best performance for a petrol unit. Other hybrid system components have been made more compact and have been repositioned for optimum packaging, further contributing to the car’s lower centre of gravity. The new nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery is more compact while its durability and charging performance have been significantly improved.

An integrated spoiler has been introduced with side panel lines following to the rear, emphasising the spoiler. At the front it looks rather similar to the new Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, except using a less in-your-face grill, but you can’t escape the feeling the headlights are designed like a pair of human eyes.

Inside, the Prius gets a makeover with a new, sizeable touchscreen and climate control system. The automatic box is controled by a Civic Type R-esque placed lever on the lower facia, in keeping with the stubby gearlevers seen on earlier Prius models. The leather steering wheel is mounted with all the button controls you could possibly want including phone connectivity.

In combination, these changes and innovations confound the popular notion of what an eco-car should be like to drive and to look at. The new Prius demonstrates the genuine rewards that remain to be enjoyed from Toyota full hybrid technology, advantages that will steadily feed through to new generations of other Toyota hybrid models.

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