Toyota have taken the wraps off the fourth generation new Toyota Prius, ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The new 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.
Styling is evidently in-keeping with the Toyota Mirai, itself an electric car but powered by a hydrogen fuel cell rather than a battery alone.
Toyota state the new Prius has more of a focus on driver appeal and that it should provide a more enjoyable experience with more power, but not at the expense of frugality. This is perhaps why, for the first time, Toyota has painted the first pics of the model in a racy red, rather than a dull grey. Toyota say,
“Powered by a new generation of Toyota’s full hybrid powertrain, the new Prius makes significant advances in highway fuel economy and provides a much more rewarding driving experience. Acceleration is smoother and more responsive, and, at higher speeds, is quieter and has a more linear feel that is better aligned to engine speed.”
The car’s handling derives from the first use of Toyota’s newest platform architecture; Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). A low centre of gravity, compared to the out-going model should ensure better cornering and stability. Alongside this driving benefit, keeping the components low means there is also more space in the cabin for occupants and luggage.
The hybrid battery itself is more energy dense and has therefore allowed Toyota’s engineers to package it into a smaller space. It does, however, remain a Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) as in previous Prius, rather than a lithium-ion pack. Toyota say that the new cells are more durable and charging performance have been significantly improved. Rear suspension has also been treated to an overhaul with double wishbones – that do not intrude into the boot capacity.
Toyota have said the Prius remains their flagship model for showcasing new technology and safety and this Prius is no exception as the TNGA platform is designed with optimum impact protection in mind. Toyta add,
“The scope of the Toyota Safety Sense package is extended in the new Prius with addition of radar-managed Adaptive Cruise Control and a pedestrian detection function for the Pre-Crash Safety system.”
As for the hybrid powertrain, details are still to be confirmed. However, Toyota has confirmed that it has undergone an extensive revision to improve efficiency, reduce weight and sharpen performance. In fact, Toyota are making a big claim with regard to the engine’s thermal efficiency, stating,
“Detailed design changes to the engine have achieved more than 40 per cent thermal efficiency – world-best performance for a petrol unit.”
Other hybrid system components have been made more compact and have been repositioned for optimum packaging, further contributing to the car’s lower centre of gravity.
Photo & quote source; Toyota