The introduction of the all-new fourth generation Prius marks a further advance in the history and achievements of Toyota’s hybrid power technology
Toyota has revealed the all-new 2016 Prius at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, which kicked off on September 15 in Frankfurt, Germany. In its fourth generation, the model builds on the strengths and achievements of its predecessors and is set to establish new benchmarks in fuel economy, emissions and efficiency. Each successive Prius has delivered improvements in these areas, but the new model is aiming to make the biggest leap yet in performance, with a target of improving CO2 emissions by 18 per cent. The new model also redefines expectations from hybrids by sporting a ground-breaking style and setting new standards in fun-to-drive dynamics.
The Prius went on sale in 1997 as the world's first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle. By offering outstanding environmental performance in an affordable package, it changed perceptions and helped raise the status of alternative energy vehicles from niche products to game-changers. As of July 31, 2015, cumulative Prius sales exceed 3.5 million vehicles across approximately 80 countries and regions.
Thanks largely to pioneers such as the Prius, today’s car buyers often expect environmental performance as standard. In response to this trend, Toyota went to great lengths to ensure that the appeal of the fourth-generation model would extend well beyond the car’s proven environmental credentials. The new model also boasts a stylish and attractive design in keeping with its fun-to-drive nature. Additionally, as the first global vehicle to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the fourth-generation Prius has a completely new, more rigid platform which, combined with a class-leading low center of gravity and a new front and rear suspension, offer a fun and refined drive.
According to Kouji Toyoshima, the model’s Chief Engineer: “There is much more to the new Prius than a green image. The exterior has a particularly emotional appearance, thanks in part to the new platform that enables a low slung silhouette similar to a sports car.”
According to Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA Motor Corporation, “With its established DNA of fuel efficiency and ecological prowess, the new Prius offers cutting-edge style and a superb driving experience in addition to enhanced safety. The new Prius has been improved significantly and offers a new perspective of what a hybrid can be. We sincerely appreciate the support of our customers who have put their faith in the Prius and contributed to its worldwide appeal. ”
Stunning styling that subverts the conventional hybrid car image
From the bold design to the quality interior, the Prius has never had such a powerful presence. Toyota’s designers were given free rein to realize their vision, and it shows. The new model inherits the nameplate’s silhouette which, combined with a low center of gravity, results in an impressively angular yet emotional design. Flowing curves blend with aggressive cut edges that spark interest from any angle. The top of the roof has been lowered by 20 mm and moved forwards, while the engine hood has also been lowered to create a stylish outline. All improvements have been achieved with no sacrifice to interior space.
The use of new headlamps minimise the Prius’ frontal area and, at the same time, provides a striking lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s distinctive character. The effect borders on being radical. Meanwhile, the bold and unique rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides. Up to eight exterior colors are available, including “Emotional Red” which utilizes a newly developed treatment process to achieve a deep, vibrant lustre that highlights the external forms.
The Prius’ interior has advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. Once inside you feel immediately comfortable, pampered and impressed by styling cues seldom, if ever, seen before in a vehicle.
A sense of quality and space is created through the wide instrument panel with its layered construction that clearly defines the “display zone”, separating it from the “control zone” which is now closer to the driver. White ornamentation used in the lower sections of the cabin evokes an impression of fine bone china.
TNGA makes the new Prius fun to drive
To greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal, Toyota is implementing the Toyota New Global Architecture, an innovative, integrated, development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. This has resulted in improved handling, safety and heightened driving enjoyment. Nearly every aspect of the new Prius has been improved in surprising and significant ways.
The new Prius features a chassis that is 60 percent more rigid, while the powertrain unit’s lower placement and low center of gravity have increased the vehicle’s stability and comfort.
Evolutionary advances to the hybrid system
Almost every internal component of the Prius engine is new or substantially revised. A comprehensive program of size and weight reductions for major hybrid components was achieved while maintaining overall performance. As a result, the Prius has achieved a remarkable world’s best, with over 40 percent thermal efficiency and a huge boost in fuel economy, contributing significantly to overall driver enjoyment and fewer visits to the fueling station.
Improved driving dynamics and safety
The new Prius is 60 mm longer, 15 mm wider and 20 mm lower than the model it replaces, providing a much more planted on-road presence while also delivering more occupant and cargo room. A class-challenging low center of gravity in addition to a completely new and far more responsive front and rear suspension package provides a significantly improved driving experience. The height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of Toyota’s 86 sports car—an indication of the advancement made in achieving optimum reduction in height and mass.
The new front suspension and rear double wishbone suspension gives the new Prius a greater connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. Improvements to chassis rigidity mean that the Prius is noticeably more responsive in corners. Whether going up a winding mountain road or urban terrain, the car’s handling is taken to an all-new level while maintaining excellent occupant comfort.
In addition to creating a dynamic and exciting driving experience, TNGA provides a high-strength framework and stiffened structure to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Additional reinforcements have been adopted to distribute side collision impact energy.
Active safety systems have also received a significant update: all models will feature the Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes (depending on grade and market) Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.