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Toyota has unveiled an all new Prius Hybrid at an exclusive world premiere today in Las Vegas, USA, with improved driving dynamics and a wider, lower, sleek design.
The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to use Toyota’s New Global Architecture program (TNGA) – a modular chassis which will be used for multiple Toyota vehicles in the future.
It has a low centre of gravity, best exemplified by a frontal profile that boasts the same low height as that of the sleek 86 sports car. The narrow, almost radical head lights accentuate the minimal frontal area.
A more spacious and space efficient cabin has been achieved by increasing the overall length by 60mm and the width by 15mm. The placement of the hybrid battery beneath the rear seats benefits both luggage capacity and the lower centre of gravity.
The model also features engine revisions to further improve efficiency.
"Prius, our flagship hybrid will have its leadership position further reinforced when the new model arrives in 2016 with a new 'world’s most thermally efficient' engine and a redeveloped hybrid system targeting improvements in performance and economy," said Spencer Morris Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product.
“There is much more to the Prius than a green image,” said Kouji Toyoshima, the car’s chief engineer. “It has an emotional appearance with a low slung silhouette similar to a sports car. Already the benchmark for efficiency it is a more fun vehicle to drive.”
The all new rigid body and rear double wishbone suspension, are expected to improve handling and responsiveness.
Inside, the cabin has a wrap around cockpit design which increases both driver and passenger comfort, while improving visibility and access to controls.
The Toyota Safety Sense package has been added to the Prius which includes a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The Prius was introduced to the New Zealand market in 2003 and up to the end of July 2015, 2,505 have been sold here, the best year being 2009 when 423 sales were recorded following the launch of the third generation.
Among the high profile drivers are Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of the Warehouse chain, while Fonterra has the Prius on its fleet.
Many more Prius have been imported second hand, with buyers recognising the fuel economy and environmental benefits of the hybrid technology.
More than 3.5 million Prius have been sold worldwide since it was first introduced in Japan in 1999.