Spearheading a new era in hybrid technology across the Middle East, Toyota today announced the launch of the much anticipated Prius in the region. By far the world’s most successful hybrid car, the fourth-generation Prius brings ground-breaking environmental performance along with a striking new design, in addition to a fun-to-drive spirit that promises to appeal to eco-conscious customers as well as driving enthusiasts.
“For eighteen years, Prius has continued to build a legacy of outstanding efficiency and innovation for hybrid technology,” said Kouji Toyoshima, Chief Engineer of the Prius. “It has always been a revolutionary car with a unique DNA. So, I asked myself: What is essential for the next generation? The answer was our development concept of ‘Beautiful Hybrid’. We wanted the Prius to turn into a charming, beautiful hybrid vehicle, while maintaining its essential qualities such as outstanding fuel economy.”
Toyoshima added: “Our ‘Beautiful Hybrid’ concept includes Joy of Efficiency to achieve even better fuel economy, Joy of Ownership reflected by the emotional exterior design to the high-quality interior to deliver a powerful presence and the Joy of Driving which exemplifies the Prius’ fun-to-drive spirit.”
The first-generation Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Launched in Japan in 1997, the unique Toyota hybrid established a major industry milestone in vehicle powertrain development and sustainable mobility. The name Prius, ‘to go before’ in Latin, became symbolic of a car that was launched even before environmental awareness had become a mainstream social issue.
Anticipating the 21st century’s need for vehicles with exceptional fuel efficiency, successive generations of Prius have showcased Toyota’s commitment to environmentally conscientious forward thinking, and led the company’s drive towards the creation of the ultimate eco-car.
According to Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, “The Prius underlines Toyota’s continued commitment to progressive thinking and being environmentally conscious. The new model is a triumph of technology and boasts significant advances in every area, with a clever, class-leading aerodynamic design that allows it to offer excellent fuel and emissions efficiency without sacrificing either cabin space or driving ease and comfort.”
Yoshitsugu continued: “The Prius is a symbol of Toyota’s innovative nature and inherits Toyota's legendary QDR (Quality, Durability, Reliability). Over 3.5 million satisfied customers have put their faith in the car to make it the world’s most popular hybrid. Toyota fans in the region can rely on the brand’s extensive and comprehensive support network to enjoy their ownership of the Prius.”
He added: “More than just another car, we see the Prius as an opportunity to really make a difference, which essentially is what Toyota is all about as we seek to fulfil our vision of leading the way towards the future of mobility. We are thankful to our customers all over the globe whose support and patronage has allowed Prius to maintain its timeless appeal as a global hybrid icon.”
Combining improved aerodynamics, excellent handling and comprehensive safety features with an elegant interior designed to pamper its occupants, the all-new Prius represents another step forward for Toyota’s renowned hybrid technology. The car comes with a reengineered 1.8-litre petrol engine that works in tandem with a new lightweight and compact electric motor to offer unbeatable environmental efficiency and responsive performance.
The Prius is a superior hybrid and eminently versatile. Unlike most of other hybrids, the Prius can be driven completely on electrical power or with a combination of electric motor and gasoline engine depending on the driving behaviour.
The car’s gasoline engine teams up with its electric motor to offer the best features of both. The hybrid batteries are charged continuously when braking and decelerating; therefore, there is no need to plug in a power cord – resulting in fewer stops for gasoline fill-up. The Prius also does not require any special fuel and yet drives like any other conventional car.
The new Prius builds on the environmentally-friendly credentials of its predecessors to achieve an impressive fuel efficiency of up to 26.1 km/L. Determined to broaden the car's appeal, Toyota has rebuilt the Prius from the ground up – overhauling its design, improving performance and adding personal touches both inside and out, under the developmental concept of ‘a beautiful car for a beautiful earth.’ The result is a sleeker, sportier form that elicits an emotional response from the outset.
Based on the advanced Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – an innovative, integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms – the all-new Prius takes the hybrid driving experience to another level, thanks to a lower centre of gravity, increased body rigidity and improved suspension.
Striking new design complements refined interiors
The new Prius has received a dramatic makeover. Based on Toyota's Iconic Human-tech design philosophy of fusing emotional and rational vehicle factors, the exterior of the Prius hints at the car's advanced functions while also expressing its fun-to-drive spirit, creating an instant and lasting impression. The fourth generation Prius retains the 2,700 mm wheelbase of the third generation Prius, but is 60 mm longer overall at 4,540 mm. It is also 15 mm wider at 1,760 mm.
The Prius' signature triangular silhouette begins with the Toyota emblem, continues along the lower hood and sweeps over the top of the cabin towards the rear wing. The rocker panel features a distinctive light-catching surface that begins at the lowest part of the front bumper and under the door, and then races upward to accentuate the car's low-slung stance. Completing the triangle is the beltline, which is angled lower and forward for a sense of motion, creating an advanced structure in which the glasshouse intersects with the body for a unified yet aggressive appearance.
The sculpted bumper, large lower grille and sculpted roof not only look great, but work to provide a seamless flow of air around the vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency and create more quietness inside the cabin. Black C-pillars create the illusion of a floating roof, while the sporty stance is enhanced by a lower roofline, bonnet and sleek proportions. At the front and rear, distinctive LED lights give the Prius a pioneering look, and a leading drag coefficient of Cd 0.24; means the car cuts through the air with aerodynamic grace.
In redesigning the Prius, Toyota has moved the peak of the roof forward and lowered the car's maximum height. The result is a distinctive outline that instils the car with a unique presence while also being functional in ensuring ample head clearance for occupants. The nose, as well as the rearmost section of the cowl and hood, has also been lowered to further improve front visibility.
At the rear, distinctive character lines and a coordinated LED lamp design add to the car's emotional appeal and distinctive hybrid presence. The overall impression is a firm, planted stance achieved with an upper beltline and prominent rear spoiler that connect with corner edges for more efficient aerodynamics.
The Prius comes in seven exterior colours: Attitude Black Mica, Dark Blue Mica Metallic, Gray Metallic, Silver Metallic, White Pearl Crystal Shine, Super White II and Emotional Red. The Emotional Red colour has been designed with a new technology to create a brilliant and sporty presence with high intensity and vibrant clarity. A reflective layer contains aluminium flakes to add a 3-dimensional appearance to the surface. A separate translucent layer contains a deep red pigment. These two layers combine to create a strong reflection and a deep red hue.
The interior has a modern cockpit with soft-touch materials and cool metallic finishes in addition to innovative touches such as signature Prius logos on the air vents which create a cabin of contemporary flair. The car’s interior is available in two colours, Cool Gray and Black.
The Prius has an advanced full-colour TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) display. It consists of dual 4.2-inch full-colour TFT displays with a full-colour meter that has high brightness, contrast and precision. It can display several combination displays such as the odometer and average fuel economy after the last reset, Trip A distance and average fuel economy, Trip B distance and average fuel economy, and travelled distance and average fuel economy after the ignition is on. There is also a Multi Information Display (MID) with an energy monitor which displays changing energy flows in conjunction with driving conditions. The energy flow is expressed with arrows and moving beads of light.
MID also has a Hybrid System Indicator which includes various indicators used to display accelerator pedal operation, hybrid system operation, among others. An ECO Accelerator Guidance for example will illuminate in accordance with a more eco-friendly use of the accelerator. There is also a Fuel Economy Record Indicator which you can set to record every 5 minutes, 1 km or 5 km after the hybrid system is started. It also can display the record of the present month, last four months and the same month of the previous year.
The air conditioning system benefits from the latest in compact and lightweight components and technology, including a new electric compressor that helps enhance cooling performance and reduces noise. A pollen-eliminating clean air filter has also been adopted. The S-flow mode focuses airflow only to areas where passengers are seated in order to maximize fuel economy and comfort. It can be controlled with the following settings: air conditioner temperature settings, outside temperature, cabin temperature and amount of sunlight.
An air conditioning score has been added to Eco Score for fuel efficient setting. There is also an ECO air conditioning mode available along with separate air conditioning ECO heat/cool mode switch to accommodate driver preferences. This is linked to the Drive mode select switch.
The occupant-friendly interior focuses on ease of use, with a design that aims to evoke the car's advanced capabilities while remaining warm and welcoming. The instrument panel, with its thin, horizontal design and smooth surfaces, consolidates operational areas near the driver and places information areas further away. The large colour Head-Up Display (HUD) projects a range of important information – from driver alerts to navigation, speed and an energy meter – on to the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight.
Despite its sleek appearance, the new Prius accommodates five people with ease, has increased boot capacity and now comes with towing facility, making it a car that can adapt to everybody’s life. In order to minimize discomfort during long drives, Toyota has totally redesigned the Prius’ seats. In the front seats, improvements to frames and cushion bolstering have enhanced comfort while saving weight and space, providing a 'snug' fit and chiropractic control, while the seatback springs have been moved rearward for optimal occupant posture. The rear seats (60/40-split and fold-down) have also been optimised for greater comfort and benefit from an improved armrest and cup holder.
A newly designed steering wheel matched with the rest of the interior styling has been adopted and is available in synthetic leather. The synthetic leather wheel has surface temperature regulating properties for excellent comfort and the surface feels less hot in summer and less cold in winter.
The Prius also has a convenient wireless charging system which allows users to simply place a compatible device on the pad to initiate charging, without the need for a cable. It is also Qi compatible. Qi is an international standard established by Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). It supplies 5 watts or less of charging power to smartphones and mobile batteries.
A JBL audio system is available, with a total of 10 speakers all placed optimally throughout the cabin. Newly designed 17 cm diameter front door woofers offer powerful and rich bass throughout the cabin. The speaker layout has been optimized to deliver clear stereo sound, including a delicate high range along with dynamism, realism and clarity. High efficiency GreenEdge™ technology allows for a powerful output to deliver excellent sound quality with minimal power consumption.
Superb driving dynamics with remarkable results in terms of engine performance and fuel economy
The Prius’ 1.8-liter VVT-i equipped Atkinson cycle petrol engine has been completely re-engineered, with remarkable results in terms of performance and fuel economy. The new engine achieves a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent ― the world's highest level in a mass-produced gasoline engine. This improvement was enabled in part through the use of a large-volume exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and improvements in combustion efficiency. Additionally, a redesigned air intake port improves airflow inside the combustion chamber, while the coolant passages have been redesigned to optimize internal engine temperature.
The maximum output of 97 hp of the car’s gasoline engine is delivered at 5,200 rpm, with a peak torque of 14.5 kg-m at 3,600 rpm, while the electric motor delivers 71 hp of power and 16.6 kg-m of torque.
Key components of the hybrid system―including the electric motor and gasoline engine, transaxle, power control unit and hybrid batteries―are now smaller and lighter, improving fuel efficiency and making excellent use of space. The two all-new motor-generators in the Prius boast higher output density, with size and weight reduced to suit the multi-shaft transaxle design without affecting fuel economy. Both motors feature an innovative rolling-coil structure.
Improvements to the power control unit, including the use of low-loss components, have resulted in a 20 percent reduction in electrical losses. A more compact design enables the unit to be positioned directly above the transaxle while the auxiliary battery has been relocated from the luggage area to the engine compartment.
Through TNGA, body torsional rigidity on the new Prius has been increased by approximately 60 percent compared to the previous model. Combined with an all-new double wishbone rear suspension and a lower centre of gravity, these improvements heighten the driving experience of the all-new Prius and contribute to exceptional stability and minimal sway during driving.
The rigidity of the body suppresses vibration and noise, while laser screw welding allows for further noise elimination throughout the vehicle by decreasing the distance between welded joints, making for an exceptionally quiet ride. Further, new updates to the Prius’ hybrid system software improve the feel of acceleration, giving a smooth and direct response in a lower rpm range.
Advanced safety technologies signify comprehensive protection for passengers
As one would expect, the Prius sets high standards for safety with an impressive array of active and passive features. These include 7 airbags to protect the driver and passengers, active front head restraints and HUD.
There are also 3-point front and rear seatbelts with ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor), pretensioners and force limiters. The Electronically Controlled Brake System employs a newly developed active hydraulic booster. It also incorporates active safety features such as the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC). The brake system uses sensors to detect how much the driver is pressing the brake pedal in order to determine how much brake force is required by the driver. It fully utilizes the ability of the hybrid system to recover kinetic energy as electrical power, also known as ‘regenerative braking.’
The Prius also features a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) developed to warn the driver if there is a vehicle on either side when making a lane change.
The BSM uses radar sensors mounted on the rear corners of the vehicle to detect nearby vehicles in adjacent lanes as they move into the driver’s blind spot. The driver is alerted to their presence by LED warning indicators in the door mirror on the appropriate side of the car. The LED indicators will remain illuminated as long as the vehicle remains in the blind spot. If the driver operates the turn indicators, intending to move into path of the vehicle, the LEDs will flash rapidly to draw further attention to the hazard.
The same radars are used to provide the RCTA, monitoring approaching traffic from either side as the vehicle is reversed out of a parking space and warning the driver if any vehicles are detected.