Toyota has unveiled the all-new Prius for the first time globally, with Series Parallel Hybrid (HEV) models to launch in winter this year and Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) models to launch in spring 2023.
The Prius has made a lasting impact on Toyota and the world since its launch in 1997, establishing itself as an authentic automotive icon by emphasising electrification and fearlessly setting future trends. The new generation, which will be available exclusively as a Plug-in Hybrid in Europe, takes the next step in that journey.
Coming with the tagline “Just in time for the 21st century,” the Prius was first launched in 1997 as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car. The model’s second generation introduced the Prius’ distinctive monoform silhouette for the first time and delivered even better fuel efficiency with the inclusion of an evolved Series Parallel Hybrid System (THSII). The third generation Prius introduced a larger capacity 1.8-liter engine and more efficient hybrid system to not only enhance fuel efficiency but driving performance as well. With the fourth generation, the Prius used the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform for the first time to deliver improved environmental performance and an evolved driving experience.
Meaning “to go before” in Latin, the Prius has led the expansion of HEVs over the 25 years since it was first launched as a new-generation eco-car with outstanding fuel efficiency. Total cumulative sales of the Prius worldwide have reached about 5.05 million units, accounting for a reduction equivalent to at least about 82 million tons of CO2 emissions as of March 2022. While the hybrid system had its start with the Prius, almost every model these days, from compact cars to SUVs, minivans, and commercial vehicles, has a hybrid version cherished and enjoyed by countless customers.
While the Prius has played a leading role in driving hybrid use, the current spread of HEVs through a wide range of models means it has reached a turning point.
The development team decided to start from scratch and look at what the Prius needs to remain popular for the next 25 years. Based on a desire to renew the Prius itself and communicate the appeal of hybrid cars to an even wider audience, the Hybrid Reborn concept was created.
A new generation hybrid system achieves an all-round evolution of the driving experience on the plug-in Prius, providing more power and greater efficiency. The TNGA 2.0l engine produces 148 DIN hp (111kW) and combines with a new 160 DIN hp (120kW) transaxle front motor for a total system output of 223 DIN hp (164kW). Compared to the current generation’s 122 DIN hp (90kW) in Plug-in Hybrid configuration, the increased power ensures strong and responsive acceleration.
With a target of allowing most daily driving to be undertaken in EV mode, EV range has been enhanced and is more than 50 % longer than current generation. This thanks to a new 13.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. Higher energy density cells allow for optimised packaging and the battery pack is therefore compact enough to be installed under the rear seat, lowering the centre of gravity.
In the quest for maximum efficiency, clean energy can also be generated optionally via solar cells on the roof.
Design – Exterior
The iconic wedge shape, a Prius original since the second generation, has evolved, embracing elegant modern lines. A smooth, sleek silhouette has been crafted by lowering the overall height by 50 mm, moving the roof peak rearwards and adopting larger diameter tyres, up to 19 inches.
Unnecessary forms and lines were discarded, leaving a simple and clean overall design inspired by the natural flow of air. The distinctive shape is enhanced by 50 mm longer wheelbase, compared to the previous generation. At the same time, the overall length has been decreased with 46 mm.
At 22 mm wider than its predecessor, the Prius’ stance is dynamic and, on its front, a hammerhead motif elegantly integrates lights which accentuate the distinctive form. The rear view is accented by a three-dimensional linear lighting element emphasising progressive design and focusing attention on the bold Prius logo.
Design – Interior
The black-based interior is divided into three zones according to Prius’ new “Island Architecture”: surroundings, driver module and floating instrument panel.
For driver and passengers alike, the surroundings are spacious and constructed from stylish, high-value materials, accentuated by harmonious accents which highlight a dynamic feel and sense of purpose.
The driver module is based around the seven-inch TFT LCD screen which sits directly in the field of vision, enhancing safety by keeping a driver’s eyes on the road.
A newly-designed instrument panel prioritises cabin comfort, a clean lay-out with minimal intrusion into the driver’s forward vision, usability and appearance. It combines a discreet, lower central screen and slim air conditioning controls, while instrument panel illumination is linked to notifications from Toyota Safety Sense and expresses alerts through colour changes.
Whether considering its unexpected driving performance, its enhanced efficiency or its sleek, dynamic design inside and out, the new generation will continue an innovative tradition which began 25 years ago. This new chapter in the unique Prius story will begin, setting new references in terms of technology, efficiency and peace of mind, when the fifth-generation, Plug-in Prius is introduced to Europe in spring 2023.
The new Prius also comes with a panoramic view moonroof which can be fully opened to create a sense of freedom within the cabin. PHEV models are equipped with a second-generation solar charging system that achieves a more efficient conversion of solar energy into electricity. This generates power equivalent to driving up to 1,250 km per year. Electric power generated while parked is used to charge the drive battery, with the system not only supplying electricity for driving but for air conditioning and other functions as well. Electric power generated during driving is used to supplement the auxiliary battery system.
Following Japan, the new Prius will be launched in North America, Europe, and other countries around the world. It will also be offered in Japan through the KINTO car subscription service. Actual details of the service plan will be announced in winter this year.