The all-time favourite celebrity 'Green car' of Hollywood, the Toyota Prius Hybrid is back in a new avatar and will be soon launched in India. Though, the Prius Hybrid failed to catch the fancy of the buyers in the country, thanks to its high sticker price, Toyota is adamant to set a precedent for eco-friendly hybrid cars in India. Ever since its launch in 1997, Toyota managed to sell more than 5 million Prius' globally and we got a chance to drive the all-new Prius recently. Showcased at the Toyota Caravan event organized in Delhi, the Prius was with us for a brief amount of time.
While we will bring a detailed review for the same very soon, here's our first look review decoding the new Prius!
Does it stand apart from the crowd?
The new generation Toyota Prius is surely a head-turner and there's hardly any doubt about that. While the over silhouette mimics the outgoing version, the use of extensive sharp lines give the new Prius an aggressive and striking appeal. The design is not proportional from any angle, but that's the way Prius has ever been - a futuristic looking mini UFO. The new contoured bumper design with the elongated inverted Y-shaped headlamps, and the boomerang shaped tail lamps are the standout design features in the new Prius.
What about the cabin design?
The biggest of the changes can be seen inside the cabin of the Prius. The cabin is a heaven for gadget lovers, thanks to a huge digital display at the top of the dashboard, which shows everything from your speed and fuel economy to what’s going on with the car’s petrol-electric drive system. The minimalistic design looks cool in the absence of buttons and dials and all you get is a touchscreen infotainment system.
The quality of material has been improved a lot and the two-tone color scheme liven things up. The gear-shift lever is still placed on the centre console and feels more like a switch than the gear selector due to its small size. The seats are comfortable enough and holds you well during sharp turns. The leg and head-room is also generous in both the front and rear seats.
Is it loaded with features?
Yes, the new Toyota Prius is loaded with lots of convenience, entertainment and safety features. The standard features include a dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, keyless entry and Toyota's touchscreen system including the DAB radio. Then there's high-end features like wireless phone charger, head-up display, heated seats, leather steering wheel, and SatNav.
Safety features include an ABS with EBD, airbags and Vehicle Stability Control along with other standard safety features.
New and improved battery and engine
The Prius is essentially a Petrol-Electric Hybrid (And not a plug-in hybrid) that comes with a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor powered by a Nickel-metal Hydride 201.6V battery. The specs of the new Prius are as below -
Type - 2ZR-FXE, 4-cylinder In-line, Petrol
Displacement - 1798 cc
Output - 92bhp @ 5200 rpm
Torque - 142 Nm @ 3600 rpm
Transmission - CVT
No. of cells - 168
Size - 35.5 litres
Voltage - 201.6 V
Capacity - 6.5 Ah
Output - 71 hp
Torque - 121 Nm
Toyota claims following improvement in the new batteries as compared to the previous battery -
· Charging performance improved by 28%
· 10% more compact in size
· Luggage area improved by relocating the battery
*Note - Toyota has managed to reduce the coefficient of drag (Cd) to 0.24, which is equal to the Tesla Model S. The lower Cd ensures better mileage and Toyota promises a combined mileage figure of 40.1 kmpl (impressive, isn't it?).
How is it to drive?
This was the first time Toyota showcased the all-new Prius in India and the car was available for a very brief time with it. Nevertheless, for a short time only, but we thoroughly enjoyed our drive in the Prius Hybrid, knowing that we are not harming the environment much. The Prius comes with brisk acceleration, thanks to an all-electric push from the motors at the start, and hence no lag of any sort. Keep your throttle pushed to the body and the petrol motor kicks in.
In the longer run, the battery cuts-off and only petrol engine powers the car. But nowhere in our drive, we realized a petrol motor was pushing the car, such is the level of NVH insulation inside the body. Braking was decent enough for a car of this size and the handling was genuinely good. We came out satisfied from our short drive, hoping to drive the Hybrid soon for a longer period.
The new Toyota Prius might be silent to the core, but you can't deny the incredible aura it exudes. The new Prius ticks all the boxes left in the previous generation model - sharp and eye catching design, futuristic interiors, improved battery life, and an all-new chassis. We can't comment on the ride quality and handling much, but the fact that the Prius is loaded with some serious technology, it surely will keep you glued to the roads, knowing that you are not leaving much of a carbon footprint!