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The official fuel consumption figure achieved under test conditions for the new generation Prius is a mere 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres, arguably the best fuel economy of any production car, while also emitting just 89 grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled (ADR81/02 Combined) a 16 per cent improvement over the outgoing model.
Fuel consumption achieved by the new Prius is an 11 per cent improvement over the outgoing model, which uses 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres travelled according to combined urban and ex-urban test figures according to ADR figures.
The petrol engine in the new Prius grows in size from a 1.5 litre engine to 1.8 litres boosting power from the combined petrol-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive system by more than 20 per cent from 81 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts yet still achieving these further fuel efficiencies.
Contrary to conventional wisdom therefore, the larger petrol engine helps improve fuel economy with the added torque providing better highway operation and improved uphill performance.
Toyota has introduced an Atkinson Cycle engine, which has a higher expansion ratio than a conventional Otto Cycle engine, harnessing more energy into torque on the crankshaft which would otherwise be lost in an Otto Cycle.
The 2ZR-FXE engine in new Prius also has a cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, and a new engine heat management system that combines a Heat Recirculation system.
The cooled EGR system reduces the need to use extra fuel injection volume to cool the exhaust gas temperature entering the catalytic converter, increasing fuel economy.
The Exhaust Heat Recirculation system captures energy that would normally be lost through the exhaust system and uses it to warm the engine coolant. It reduces the time needed for the engine to reach operating temperature, thereby reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions, and has the additional benefit of allowing the heater to operate earlier.
Toyota has endeavoured to use ecological materials in the manufacturing of the new Prius.
Prius is manufactured at Toyota's Tsutsumi plant which Toyota Motor Corporation has assigned to promoting sustainability initiatives.
Tsutsumi plant uses solar panels to generate enough electricity to power half of its plant, approximately enough to power 500 homes.
The exterior of the plant, some 22,000 square metres, is painted with photo catalytic paint which breaks down airborne nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. This has the same effect as planting 2000 trees as it cleans the air by producing oxygen in from the sunlight.
Plant based resins with excellent recycling characteristics have been used in many of the interior features of the Prius to reduce environmental impact.
The driver's seat cushion and door scuff plates are made from a recyclable material that replaces conventional plastics with plant based oil in the manufacturing process. Interior trim panels are marked with material information to aid recycling and the hybrid battery is recyclable through a programme run at Toyota dealerships.
Other interior components in new generation Prius are made from Toyota Super Olefin Polymer, a thermoplastic polymer developed by Toyota which has excellent recoverability and does not deteriorate even after repeated recycling.