It took Toyota greater than a fast kiss to remodel the drained, boring hybrid Prius right into a automobile prince. However the brand new era drives extra dynamically than ever and stays as economical as earlier than as a plug-in model.
The Toyota Prius has been available on the market for 25 years and the Japanese is undoubtedly the pioneer of the hybrid age worldwide. Within the USA and Japan specifically, it turned a financial savings legend over time, however its design and the engine-transmission mixture introduced it a number of criticism. This could lastly be over within the new, fifth era, as a result of the Prius ought to nonetheless be an vital spearhead within the Toyota mannequin vary in opposition to the prevalence of the rising electrical autos and never simply a cheap dream of all taxi drivers.
“I used to be requested to construct a Prius that will erase the picture of a taxi and make individuals cry once they see it on the street,” says chief engineer Satoki Oya with a discreet smile. Whether or not that can work stays to be seen, however in comparison with the earlier model, the brand new mannequin is an actual beau.
The proportions of the 4.60 meter lengthy Toyota Prius are usually not solely extra pleasing than ever due to the 5 centimeter flatter roofline. 4.5 centimeters shorter and a wheelbase stretched by 5 centimeters are merely good for the frugal Japanese. The rear passengers specifically are pleased in regards to the legroom gained within the second row.
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The area for the top, however, is manageable and from 1.80 meters it will get tight for the coiffure as a result of barely raised rear seat. When it comes to operation, Toyota has improved with the brand new Prius. The central 12.3-inch show is way tidier than earlier than, whereas the air-con will be operated utilizing a direct button. What’s disturbing, nonetheless, is the Prius’ arduous plastic appeal, which doesn’t need to match into right this moment’s world, and the digital devices on the seven-inch small display, which with its outdated show don’t need to match into right this moment’s world.
With regards to operation, there are weaknesses within the particulars: if you wish to change the energy of operate B’s braking vitality regeneration – which will be adjusted in three levels – it’s a must to cease the automobile to take action. Shift paddles on the steering wheel can be the suitable resolution. The bags compartment grew by 33 liters to 284 liters as a result of relocation of the battery pack from the baggage compartment below the rear seat; however stays too small. When you want more room, fold down the rear seats.
The fifth era of the hybrid system will increase the displacement of the earlier petrol engine from 1.8 to 2.0 liters, which permits a rise in output from 72 kW / 98 hp / 142 Nm to 11 kW / 152 hp / 190 Nm; on the similar time, the electrical motor is considerably extra highly effective (163 hp vs. 71 31 hp from the earlier era generator), which explains why the entire output of the system has elevated from a slim 90 kW / 122 to a powerful 164 kW / 223 hp.
One other change is the elimination of the clutch between the electrical motor and generator, which was beforehand used to permit each engines to contribute to the automobile’s motion.
That is omitted as a result of the brand new drive is considerably extra highly effective than its predecessor. Extra vital, nonetheless, is the combination of a brand new battery with a bigger capability, as a result of as a substitute of the 8.8 kWh, 13.6 kWh at the moment are out there, which makes a decisive contribution to pushing the electrical vary from 45 to 69 kilometers.
The brand new battery pack has 50 p.c extra capability and 30 p.c fewer cells with increased vitality density, takes up the identical area and weighs about the identical because the earlier smaller battery. The charging capability, however, is getting drained, as a result of it simply grew from 3.3 to three.5 kilowatts. A full cost used to take not less than two hours, now it will likely be 4. That’s lengthy – very lengthy when the Prius rolls onto European markets in the midst of the yr.
The brand new proportions, the broader observe and the rise in wheelbase are shortly noticeable on the street. Whereas there was slim 15-inch wheels, the check automobile is on the street with massive 19-inch wheels, which considerably improves the look and dynamics, however has disadvantages when it comes to consolation. When you don’t need to really feel the bumps, change to 17 inches. The steering is clean and exact – the rolling actions are considerably lower than earlier than. The earlier Prius struggled from zero to 100 km/h in 11.1 seconds and the successor feels twice as quick at 6.8 seconds, even when the highest pace of 177 km/h is a disappointment for the stately engine efficiency. However what’s most spectacular is the brand new drivability, as a result of even the in any other case annoying intermediate accelerations are a lot smoother and quieter than earlier than due to the brand new parallelism between engine noise and acceleration, regardless of the repeatedly variable transmission.
The underside line is that the brand new Toyota Prius, with a base worth of round 38,000 euros, is sort of utterly freed from its previous and has shed the appeal of the drained senior mannequin each visually and when it comes to driving dynamics. On the similar time, he retains his best buyer benefit: actual consumption. With a full battery pack, Toyota guarantees the same old 0.8 liters of Tremendous per 100 kilometers – within the brisk check drive and quite a few pace adjustments, it was finally 3.9 liters. Now the client has to determine whether or not the brand new, extra emotional Toyota Prius stands an opportunity in opposition to the mighty wave of electrical automobiles.