The Los Angeles Auto Show has seen the newest faces of many marques; the Genesis X Convertible Concept, the Impreza Hatch, and Toyota’s brand new Prius, which is delightfully surprising; in its design and specifications.
It’s almost as if Toyota took all the measures to ensure it remained as close as it could to the design concept, assuming this isn’t actually straight out of the drawing board. It’s still a plug-in hybrid; perhaps the best-looking one of them all. The newest iteration will be the first to have “hidden” door handles; no one has really coined an agreed term for it yet.
Despite the relatively wild exterior of the previous generation, this one managed to blow our minds away, like it did (almost) everyone else’s. The teaser images of the front made us think of Toyota’s iconic Mark X sedan, and it still does, albeit much less thanks to the contrast of the body’s design. Both headlights and taillights are LEDs. It almost looks like Toyota’s take on the Ioniq 5, a much more futuristic and drastic one at that. Coincidentally, both of them are popular taxis in Singapore!
Just like the radical redesign, the brand carries a total makeover to the powertrain as well. It’s still a PHEV, but there’s more to that. As a reminder, the fourth generation had a mere 120 horsepower. The new standard model has 193 hp, but go for the plug-in-hybrid variant and it gets you 220 hp with a bigger battery that allows for . 0-60 mph time is somewhere around 6 to 7 seconds. That’s thanks to the new 2.0-liter inline 4 engine and a 13.6-kWh battery, placed under the rear seats. Toyota claims its range “is 50 percent greater than the current generation.” There is also all-wheel-drive as an option, which increases 2 hp for the standard. The AWD system has been updated to a synchronous permanent-magnet configuration. For Americans, the Prius Prime is exclusively front-wheel-drive.
Stepping inside reveals a cabin that Toyota has divided in three sections, consisting of the floating instrument panel, surroundings, and driver module. The lower trims get an 8-inch infotainment system, while higher models get a 12.3-inch unit and other features like power seats and a power tailgate. As you would expect, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six USB-C ports are included for every trim. Higher trims also get a panoramic roof and wireless chargers, another first on the model. For the Prime variant, this panoramic roof can be fitted with an optional solar charger unit that helps fill the battery for features like air conditioning when stationary. Options include a digital rearview mirror, an eight-speaker JBL Premium audio system, and the panoramic roof for the non-Prime’s XLE trim. Voice commands are also a feature, and software updates are a breeze with the over-the-air capability.
The trims range from the base LE, XLE, and Limited. For the upgraded Prius Prime, there’s SE XSE, and the topper XSE Premium. The Prime has an optional Traffic Jam Assist feature where the car allows you to take your hands off the wheel under certain conditions and when the car is traveling slower than 40 km/h. The current lithium-ion battery used in the new Prius has a 38-mile range of its own. The base, FWD LE trim gets 57 MPG. Toyota’s Safety Sense is also present to assist your drives. Impatient to get a new look already? TRD has got you covered with GR (Gazoo Racing) body parts.
It’s great that Toyota is still committed to their hybrids and the CEO’s vision on EVs, despite being the current hot seller (and marques killing off ICE thanks to government demands). The Prius surely has impressed a majority of people, and though their buyers’ behavior may not change, it’s certainly gained a revamp we did not expect.
p dir=”ltr”>(Images sourced from Toyota)