There have been huge strides in the refinement of electrical power, as we now have supercars making use of electricity to enhance performance. Toyota took a different direction, turning towards hydrogen as a solution. The Prius was its answer and now, there’s a new one.
The Toyota Prius - loved by many a celebrity for its, "I’m-saving-the-planet-one-mile-at-a-time" look, but let’s be honest, ever since it was introduced to the global market back in 1997, the Prius has been a bland and boring car. It was a sacrifice that many were willing to make though.The South African introduction of the Prius occurred in 2005 in its second generation guise, establishing itself as the first hybrid vehicle on the local market. Unfortunately, it was still boring to look at.
Thankfully, Toyota has given the Prius a makeover and Toyota hopes that by making it look more exciting and modern it will appeal to a wider audience. Has it worked though?
On the design front it definitely looks better than before. The new bold design and the quality interior give the Prius a powerful presence - one it’s never had before. Toyota’s designers were given free rein to realise their vision, and it shows.
The new model inherits the nameplate’s signature triangular silhouette which, combined with a low centre of gravity, results in an impressively angular yet emotive design.
Flowing curves have been blended with aggressively cut edges that spark interest from any angle. The top of the roof has been lowered by 20mm and moved forward, 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 minimises 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.
As for the technology under the hood, well almost every internal component of the Prius engine is new or substantially revised – effectively blueprinted to the finest limits and tolerance. A comprehensive programme 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% thermal efficiency and a huge boost in fuel economy, contributing significantly to overall driver enjoyment and fewer visits to the filling station.
So will it be available in South Africa? That question is still under debate, but the new Prius will go on sale in Japan at the end of this year. If it were to arrive here it would most probably be some time next year. Would you buy one of these? The way things are going, we might all just have to.