It would not be a stretch to say that finding someone who has never heard of the Toyota Prius would be difficult. Heck, most people in town have probably sat in one at one time or another, considering many local taxi companies favour the fuel-efficient vehicles for their fleets. This spring, the automaker launches the fourth version of the immensely popular hybrid, 16 years after originally debuting in Canada.
Toyota chose the Lower Mainland earlier this month to hold a media drive to show off all the changes of the ground-up redesign.
“Vancouver is a progressive city of early adopters, and this is one of the first cities to embrace the Prius as part of their lifestyle,” said Dave Nichols, Toyota national manager of external affairs.
The most obvious difference of this new car from the generations previous is the look, now significantly more aggressive. The 2016 model, which will be sold globally, is the first to be built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), a platform underpinning several Toyota and Lexus vehicles to come.
The signature “Triangle Silhouette” wedge-like profile is still present, but the entire vehicle has been stretched longer and the hood now sits lower. The roof has also been moved forward for better aerodynamics. The bi-LED headlamps split off from the integrated turn signals, and at the back, the taillights resemble a pair of hooks that dip deep down into the rear bumper cover.
Inside, the familiar geometric-patterned shift lever has been moved up onto the dashboard, surrounded by lots of futuristic-looking trim pieces finished in white.
As before, a 1.8-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine is paired with two electric motors and managed by a CVT transmission, together producing 121 net horsepower and a manufacturer-estimated fuel consumption rating of 4.5 L/100 km. The components making up The Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive are smaller and lighter, including a shrunken battery moving from under the luggage area to beneath the rear seat, opening up more additional cargo space.
The 2016 Prius will be one of the first in the company’s lineup offering the optional Toyota Safety Sense suite, combining four safety systems such as pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, radar cruise control and more.
Three trim levels will be available at release: Base ($25,995, $300 less than last year’s), Touring ($29,330) and Technology ($28,730). Visit the website for more information.