The latest generation Toyota Prius broke cover in last year, paving the way for the future of hybrid technology and sporting some rather polarising new attire. If the 2016 Prius’ adventurous styling was perceived as a bit of a gamble at its Las Vegas launch, there was certainly no arguing with its green credentials; the fourth generation model clocked up fuel efficiency and MPGe ratings above and beyond the vast majority of its market competitors.
However, the new Prius is no longer the greenest of the green, not even in its own back yard. The 2017 New York Auto Show sees the unveiling of an even leaner, cleaner and greener evolution of Toyota’s flagship hybrid, the Toyota Prius Prime.
Billed by the Japanese brand as the most sophisticated and advanced Prius yet, the Prime promises to raise the MPGe bar by a whopping 26 percent over its own predecessor. Electric-only range is up two fold compared to the previous model, maxing out at 22 miles, whilst EV mode can now be engaged at speeds of up to 84 mph.
Marginally longer and wider than its predecessor, the Prius Prime’s twin LED headlights and rear combination lamps set it apart from its standard stablemate, whilst a full-width glass panel over the rear spoiler plus a standard reversing camera ensures optimum rear visibility. There’s substance beyond the style too, with several exterior revisions explicitly geared towards reducing drag. Take the automatically closing grille shutters for example which flip down when EV mode is selected and cooling to the petrol engine is no longer required.
Power is supplied by the same 1.8 litre petrol from the standard Prius but the new Prime carries a larger, more durable battery pack than the base model. Fully charged within five and a half hours from a standard household outlet, the most technologically advanced Prius powertrain in history is expected to boast the highest MPGe rating of any plug-in hybrid out there. In fact, Toyota sources claim that the new Prius Prime will hit a staggering 600 mile range on a full tank and full electric charge, propelling it straight to the front of the plug-in hybrid class.
The same four-seat cabin layout from the 2016 standard Prius returns for the Prime edition, complete with sound-insulating glass, standard heated front seats and automatic climate control. The centrally mounted gauge panel, a Prius staple, comes equipped with a dual 4.2-inch full-colour display controlled via steering wheel-mounted dials. An 11.6-inch HD screen provides all the standard infotainment perks and is available with a full colour head-up display. Bristling with smart tech, including wireless phone charging via a pad on the centre console plus a host of compatible apps, the new Prius Prime also comes standard with an array of cutting-edge safety systems like Pre-Collision, Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking under the umbrella of ‘Toyota Safety Sense’.
The most advanced Toyota Prius yet can be yours by the end of the year, with worldwide deliveries starting this autumn.