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When it arrived almost 20 years ago, the Prius redefined what was possible in an everyday passenger car.  It signalled the beginning of a new movement, one that strove to combine performance and practicality with a greater emphasis on both economy and the environment.

Today, after more than eight million sales globally, the Prius remains Toyota’s hallmark hybrid car.  Featuring a dynamic, cutting-edge exterior design, an impressive array of standard technology and a high level of comfort and convenience on board, the Prius is also more fuel efficient and more fun to drive than ever before.

Continuing to push the boundaries of development and design, the evolution of the Prius is a true technological adventure worth taking.  An all-new chassis, improved drivetrain and engaging drive experience are the main features of Toyota’s 2016 Prius.

The fourth-generation car is the first Toyota developed under the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) programme, which will become the basis of several other models in the future.  TNGA is at the heart of the revolutionary improvements that support a more responsive driving experience and Design improvements contributing to the responsive driving experience and enhanced occupant protection.

Design improvements contributing to the responsive drive include a lower centre of gravity achieved by moving the battery to free up boot space, a newly developed double-wishbone rear suspension and a more rigid body.

In ideal conditions the 2016 Prius can attain a combined fuel economy of 3.4 litres/100 kilometres compared with the out-going model’s 3.9 litres/100km.

There is also a new feature on board called ECO Score, which rates the driver’s driving style and gives them tips to improve fuel economy.

Design changes to the Prius body make it more aerodynamic, with a decrease in the Coefficient of Drag (Cd) of its predecessor - a rating of 0.24 (previously 0.25), the lowest Cd offering for New Zealand-new vehicles - advancing the instantly recognisable Prius character through clever lineation, ultimately pushing the boundaries of the third-generation car.

“Prius styling has always set it apart from the crowd and this model maintains that theme with its distinctive aerodynamic look,” says Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product, Spencer Morris.

“The powertrain has been refined to improve on the already frugal fuel economy and the TNGA chassis makes the new Prius more involving to drive.”

Hybrids have been a worldwide success for Toyota, says Spencer.  “More than eight million Toyota hybrids have been sold since the technology was introduced, and with an ever increasing presence on our roads they are widely accepted nowadays,” he says.

The 1.8-litre engine has been revised to reduce friction, while the hybrid package has been made smaller and lighter.  The engine battery has been moved from the luggage area to the engine bay and the hybrid batteries have been moved under the rear seat to free up more boot space and help contribute to the lower centre of gravity, assisting the improved driving dynamics.  The improved hybrid system uses the world’s most thermally efficient 1.8-litre petrol engine which, combined with the substantially revised engine, makes for a smoother, easier and more powerful performance.

A more spacious cabin is the result of a completely redesigned interior, with black soft-touch panels and gloss white accents.  Black upholstery, fabric for GX grades and natural leather seat accents for ZR are offset by a striking white centre console that nods to the state-of-the-art and modernistic character the Prius has become renowned for.  Wireless charging is also available for Qi-compatible devices on the centre console’s dedicated charging pad, and for the first time for a Toyota model, the new Prius receives a colour head-up display.

Toyota’s world-leading engineering team has spent years perfecting the efficiency of the Prius’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.  But naturally, just as much time and effort has gone into developing a suite of active and passive safety equipment designed to be the best in the world.

The comprehensive levels of safety equipment found in every Prius include the Toyota Safety Sense package, Pre-crash system, Lane Departure Alert, All-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beam.  Safety features also include a reversing camera with dynamic guidance lines, Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), which ensures safe cornering no matter what the conditions, and a proven Anti-lock Braking system (ABS), which enables you to control your ability to stop rapidly when you need to.

For your interior comfort and convenience there are climate-control air conditioning, adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat, 60:40 split folding rear seats that can extend the boot capacity from 457 litres to 1,507 litres, LED front fog lights and rain-sensing, variable-intermittent wipers, and an illuminated entry system that includes the map, step and main interior lights.  For more information on Prius, visit enhanced occupant protection.

Source: Believe Magazine - Issue 13 2016