Toyota has released a new Prius in Australia that features an engaging drive and dramatic new styling as well as the biggest improvement in fuel economy between the hybrid icon's four generations.
New Prius is the first car to benefit from the Toyota New Generation Architecture philosophy that delivers cutting-edge dimensions in terms of its platform, design, powertrain and technology.
Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the new Prius is a genuine breakthrough car that defines modern motoring.
"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," Mr Cramb said.
"New Prius is a mainstream car that advances its driving dynamics and driveway appeal while also delivering substantially improved innovation and efficiency."
The new Prius platform results in improved body control with a more rigid body structure and lower centre of gravity.
A redesigned front suspension and a new double-wishbone set-up at the rear improve road-holding, stability, handling and comfort.
Futuristic and stylish design cues create a high visual impact, resulting in a sleeker, better proportioned design that conveys a strong character and builds on the image-making quality of Prius.
A low-swooping bonnet, dynamic beltline, instantly recognisable triangular profile and a rear spoiler contribute to one of the world's best co-efficient of drag values: just 0.24.
The cabin offers impressive flair and simple ingenuity with a wrap-around instrument panel, a tablet-like seven-inch touch screen and quality details including soft-touch materials and striking white inserts that contrast with the black upholstery.
Every aspect of the hybrid system is even more efficient: the 1.8-litre petrol engine uses less fuel; the electric motors are smaller, lighter and more efficient; mechanical losses in the transmission are reduced; the power control unit is improved; and the hybrid battery is lighter and smaller.
As a result, new Prius has been certified for Australia with combined cycle fuel economy of just 3.4 litres/100km** - an impressive gain of 0.5 litres or 12.8 per cent.
Efficiency is only half the story as Toyota's engineers have markedly improved the hybrid driving experience, making it even more responsive, quieter under acceleration and more intuitive.
Improvements throughout the car have ensured overall performance is maintained with the adoption of a more efficient 90kW combined system output. Under partial load, which means in day-to-day driving, the driver will notice that the car is much more responsive.
Engineers have improved the eco, normal and power driving modes. To encourage greater use of the eco mode, its operation is more like the previous normal mode while power mode gains a learning function that adjusts acceleration settings and engine braking to match the driver's style.
Prius fulfills its role as high-tech ambassador with advances that provide more comprehensive information, improve safety and add to convenience.
Safety systems now standard across the range involve four technologies: pre-collision system, active cruise control, lane departure alert and auto high beam. Prius i-Tech gains blind-spot monitor* and rear cross-traffic alert that warn drivers of hazards they cannot see from the wheel.
The way information is communicated to the driver has also been enhanced, with a larger full-colour head-up display and the use of two 4.2-inch multi-information displays in the instrument panel.
An innovative air-conditioning system detects if there is a front passenger; if not, it will focus its energy on the driver alone, which can help improve fuel economy.
Smaller and lighter hybrid system components have enabled the nickel-metal hydride battery to be relocated under the rear seat, expanding luggage space to 457 litres (502 litres in i-Tech).
Every Prius is fitted with seven airbags, reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes, emergency brake signal, hill-start assist and smart entry and start.
The standard Prius is fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels with stylish new aerodynamic covers to promote fuel efficiency. In addition to the four new safety technologies and colour head-up display, it also gains auto-levelling bi-LED headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, 10-speaker JBL audio system, Toyota Link# connected mobility, three-spoke leather-accented steering wheel, premium door trim and a wireless phone charger##. These added features more than account for a $2,500 price increase to $34,990^.
Prius i-Tech, in addition to new safety technology, is fitted with stylish 17-inch alloy wheels with resin inserts that reduce weight. Its features also include satellite navigation and leather-accented seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver's seat and front-seat heaters. The i-Tech price is $1,000 lower at $42,990^.
Prius is covered by capped-price servicing, Toyota Service Advantage^^, at a maximum of $140 per service.
Since the first Prius was released in Japan in late 1997, Toyota has sold more than 8.6 million hybrid vehicles around the world. Sales of Prius alone have exceeded 3.6 million vehicles, including almost 20,000 in Australia.