Just the Facts:
-The fourth-generation Toyota Prius, due around 2015, will be made of lighter materials, with a more slippery shape, and will ride on tires with lower rolling resistance — efforts all aimed at boosting the fuel economy of the world's best-selling hybrid car.
-The current 2012 Prius, which dates to 2009, is rated by the EPA at 51 mpg in city driving and 48 mpg on the highway, with an estimated range between fill-ups of 526 miles.
-Toyota has sold more than 2.6 million copies since the Prius was launched in Japan in 1997.
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius, due around 2015, will be made of lighter materials, with a more slippery shape, and will ride on tires with lower rolling resistance — efforts all aimed at boosting the fuel economy of the world's best-selling hybrid car, a company source tells Inside Line.
The 2012 Toyota Prius is rated by the EPA at 51 mpg in city driving and 48 mpg on the highway, with an estimated range between fill-ups of 526 miles.
The challenge of achieving better fuel economy with the next-generation Prius car is greater than for the last because many of the easier energy-saving wins have already been realized.
But the company has identified tire rolling resistance as a key area of potential, and is collaborating with tire makers to achieve gains. Aerodynamic improvements are the second priority, followed by weight savings.
The same source reveals that Toyota considered making the body of the second-generation Prius from aluminum, but scrapped the idea because of the high investment cost and concerns that production volumes would not be high enough to offset them.
Toyota Motor Corp., closing in on record global sales of Prius models, is studying whether to keep the hybrid line's aerodynamic wedge-shape as the automaker designs the next-generation of the car.
"There's an undercurrent among most people that they're ready for a new Prius look," said Chris Hostetter, Toyota's U.S. group vice president for strategic planning, who's working with Toyota engineers on the redesign. "Maybe our architecture has been a little bit similar for the last two generations."
While the carmaker hasn't yet selected a look from "a menu to choose from" for the next Prius, "one of the avenues we're exploring right now is to evolve it, and the other is to really evolve it," Hostetter said in a phone interview last month, without elaborating.
The redesigned Prius will arrive in the spring of 2014, Automotive News reported in July. Toyota's push to broaden Prius's appeal coincides with record deliveries of gasoline-electric cars bearing that name this year, and its top sales rankings in markets including Japan and California.
Stricter U.S. fuel-economy rules and tougher hybrid competition from Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. are also spurring Toyota, which has led the segment for 15 years. Global Prius sales -- including the main hatchback, V wagon, plug-in model and subcompact Prius C, sold in Japan as the Aqua -- surged to 691,281 this year through September, 60 percent more than the total for last year, according to figures provided by the company.
The previous Prius sales record was 509,399 units in 2010, when Toyota offered only the hatchback.
"The second-generation Prius shape is one of the most iconic of the past decade," said Ed Kim, an industry analyst at researcher AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California. "To move away from that wedge shape is very significant."
Jim Lentz, Toyota's U.S. sales chief, who began promoting the creation of a line of Prius vehicles beginning in 2006, said the car's current profile remains the best option. It has been one of the brand's more innovative designs and has made the car so recognizable that it attracts a range of buyers and has had remarkable staying power, he said. "That's still the best aerodynamic shape," he said in an interview on Oct. 30.
"Could there be some morphing of that? Based on new aerodynamic trends, there could be." He added, without elaborating, that "my sense is, well into the future, it will still be close to that iconic look."
The next version of Prius has to retain a lead in fuel- efficiency among mass-market vehicles as its appearance evolves, Hostetter said. The car is also going to have better driving "dynamics," reflecting President Akio Toyoda's directive that the company build more exciting vehicles, he said.
"We are emboldened to make a much different, much better Prius," Hostetter said. "The consequences of that so far have been, I would say, dramatic."
Toyota is still reviewing clay-model prototypes for the next Prius, Hostetter said. Along with a more "emotional" exterior design, a revamped version of Toyota's hybrid system is being readied for the next-generation Prius, he said. Hostetter and his team in the United States are working directly with Satoshi Ogiso, Toyota's chief engineer for the Prius line, hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
Hostetter declined to say whether Toyota would continue to use nickel-based battery packs as the primary energy storage system for the Prius, or move the lineup to lithium ion or another battery chemistry. Automotive News has said the Prius will likely move to lithium ion.
To hold down production costs, Toyota is developing a new "modular" platform to serve as the underpinnings for the next Prius and other models, Hostetter said, without elaborating. "Prius is really the launch of that whole new architecture," he said. At the Detroit auto show in January, Toyota showed a plug- in hybrid prototype, the NS4 sedan, that has elements of the new platform, he said.
Likewise, some concept vehicles being studied for Prius share similarities with the NS4, he said. "It was a study to show more emotional design," Hostetter said. "Some of the Prius clays we have right now, some of them are more advanced than that. Some of them aren't."
Sales growth for Prius models in the United States and Japan accelerated with the creation this year of a "family" of vehicles, and that may be expanded further, Hostetter said. "We're always working on new types of fuel-efficient things, and whether they would be called a Prius or not is always an interesting topic of discussion," he said.
"I personally would like to see more vehicles in the Prius lineup." That could even include the hydrogen fuel-cell sedan Toyota plans to sell to retail customers in the United States, Japan and other markets by 2015, he said.
We Interview a Toyota Engineer - In Secret - and Get the Lowdown
Q: When can we expect the next Prius?
A: It was originally scheduled for a late 2014 launch, but the global financial crisis delayed our advanced development of the car, so it's now due around spring 2015.
Q: Considering that most of today's cars take just 3 years to develop from the product planning stage to production, that sounds like an abnormally long gestation period. What's up?
A: We started with development of the next-generation THS (Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive) system. As you know, the present Prius went on sale in 2009 with a model life of 6 years. So you could say that our R&D of the new car is not that far behind. However, the all-new THS system was being developed separate from the next Prius, in a totally different department. That means that we can't move on the Prius until the new THS system is ready.
Q: You are saying that the specifications of the new THS have just been finalized and that the new Prius is well underway?
A: Yes, I suppose you could say that. It's just that, well, there are various complications. You see, a number of basic THS patents will expire in 2013. That's not to say that some other carmaker can pick up the ball immediately and get to where we are. Conversely, when we launch the new THS system, we will once again jump ahead of the competition.
Q: So the next Prius will be the first model to employ the all-new THS system?
A: As it turns out, a couple of new hybrid models will be launched in 2015, but the Prius will most probably be the first as it is nearing completion now.
Q: That's what we'd like to hear. Can you please explain the development concept in more detail?
A: Putting it plainly, the concept is this: "Getting back to the basics of the original Prius." The current model is selling well (in the U.S. and Japan at least) thanks to the eco-boom and high gas prices. But when we launched the original model with the catch-cry of "just in time for the 21st century," our main sales point was being ahead of the curve and offering the most advanced technology. We were able to do what no other carmaker could do - mass-produce the world's first hybrid. But today, Nissan and Honda as well as many foreign brands also have hybrids, so it's not rare anymore. Hybrids are selling like hotcakes, especially in Japan.
Q: Are you saying that the image of the Prius that Toyota originally wanted to build, and the one that is selling so well today, has lost direction?
A: I wouldn't say that. If the truth be known, Prius sales only really took off after we launched the second generation. If we check out the buyer breakdown back then, we saw lots of forward thinkers in the mix, like scholarly types, wealthy businessmen, and those with a strong creative edge. Today, however, the vast majority of customers [in Japan] for the current Prius are senior citizens looking for a reasonably priced car with class-leading fuel economy. Our job with the next Prius is to try to regain the interest of customers from our second-generation car.
Q: So by employing an all-new THS system, you hope to bring those customers back to the showroom? Will you aim for huge sales again with the new Prius?
A: THS will be important, but big sales are not our main aim. We plan to focus buyer attention on the slightly smaller and cheaper Aqua, the model below the Prius [in Japan], while overseas, the next Prius will be crucial. In fact, our sales target is roughly the same as the current model. But like the first two Priuses, the next Prius will employ the most advanced technology we have, and while delivering class-leading economy, it will redefine the "hybrid" as we know it.
Q: Tell us more.
A: The design will change significantly, the most radical of which will be the lowering of the hood and waistline. The hood height will drop in height by at least 90 mm [3.5 inches] and it will lose its characteristic wedge shape. The A-pillar will retreat backwards while the roof line will be pushed forward by around 500 mm [19.5 inches] with two aims: 1) to improve aerodynamics and 2) to improve the overall look.
Q: And to achieve that effect, the THS unit must be downsized considerably.
A: Yes, that's right. But these significant revisions were made possible thanks to an all-new platform as well.
Q: Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current Prius employs the so-called "new MC" mass-produced platform, which is also employed on models from the European Auris to the Corolla to Japan-spec Alphard minivan. That level of versatility means that it still has the potential to lose even more weight. Right?
A: Yes, that's right. We are developing our next generation "C" platform as part of our Toyota New Global Architecture [TNGA] strategy. The top of the range model that will sit on this new platform will be the Prius, which by the way will shed over 150 pounds. And the new THS system means that the engine mounts will be very different to the current car's setup as well.
Q: So the four main revisions on the new Prius will be the totally new styling, lower curb weight, a new more compact hybrid system, and a lower center of gravity? Is that about the extent of it?
A: Yes. The body size will change very little to the current car and maintain the present 106-inch wheelbase. Front overhang will decrease by just under 2 inches thanks to the smaller powertrain and hybrid system. But as I said before, the overall styling will change considerably, but it will still be recognizable as a Prius.
Q: Yeah, by doing away with that "one-motion" wedge-shaped styling, the car's overall look will change radically. And dare I say, make it more stylish.
A: That's right. By lowering the height of the hood, we are not only improving its aerodynamic efficiency, but we are also responding to the demands of the U.S. market.
A: Our research tells us that many Americans think the current Prius' waistline is too high and its shape too "wedgy." They say it does not look sleek enough. We are being told to give the next model a sleeker, lower profile. And that's exactly what is going to happen.
Q: Any other design hints?
A: The central part of the roof will be the highest section of the car, and the further you go back, the narrower the car will become. By that I mean that the car silhouette from the B-pillar aft will not be that different to the current model.
Q: I see. And what about the car's utility?
A: The new version will get a more luggage space, which translates to space for 4 golf bags in Japan. Because of that revision, we are switching rear suspension from the current torsion beam setup to a new double wishbone construction, which will improve the car's all-round stability.
Q: Can you tell me anything more about the new THS system?
A: As I mentioned, several patents will expire in 2013, so several new technologies have been developed to replace those. The current 2ZR-FXE engine will be significantly modified, while the inverter and motor will be downsized but deliver more power.
Q: And what about the batteries?
A: Ah, yes. We will continue to offer NiMH batteries as well as the lithium-ion variety. I know you'd expect by now that we upgrade all cars to Li-ion, but to tell the truth, our engineers have found that NiMH batteries actually manage power delivery better when it comes to intensive consumption and recharging of electricity.
Q: Really? So that's why the changeover to Li-ion is taking longer than expected? By the way, we haven't really spoken about fuel efficiency targets yet. Can you give me an idea of what to expect?
A: OK. The lower hood height and roof height are both aimed at improving aerodynamics and mileage, which we expect to clear 40km/L. That's about 90 miles/gallon, which is about 20 percent better than the current car's 70 miles/gallon. [Note: Expect mileage in the U.S. car to improve from 50 mpg to at least 60 mpg combined.]
Q: That's a significant improvement. But what about the Prius PHV that has just been launched in Japan?
A: Given the initial high cost of the PHV and the fact that we don't foresee great advances in electric charging infrastructure in the near future, we don't expect that specification to have made significant strides by 2015. For your information, a PHV version will be launched at the same time as the next Prius, which as you may have guessed is slated for a 2015 debut.
Q: What kind of performance can we expect from the PHV?
A: In EV mode, it will have a maximum speed of around 62 mph while its range in EV mode will be around 22 miles. As far as mileage goes, we have heard that it will be rated at 112 mpg in Europe with CO2 of 49g/km.
Q: Will the drivetrain stay the same?
A: Good question. Actually, the next Prius will be the first model to get 4WD. The rear wheels will be driven by a motor in what we call an e-4WD system. Targeting snowy areas, the rears will operate up to 37 mph. Above that speed, it becomes a purely front-wheel drive car. Overall, it sounds like a huge leap forward is in store for the Prius. It can't come soon enough, as European hybrids, EVs, U.S. range-extenders, and even Mazda's new Skyactiv technology are all looking to cut into Toyota's hybrid dominance. A new Prius that looks sleeker and sportier, and with improved handling and better mileage? This total redefinition cannot come quick enough.
All-new Toyota Prius will capable of 90mpg and 70g/km emissions
The next Toyota Prius will be four-wheel drive, capable of 90mpg-plus and launch in 2015 alongside a plug-in version – and our exclusive image shows it’ll get a stunning look to match its technology.
The details were leaked by a Toyota engineer, who told Auto Express that “the next Prius will redefine the hybrid as we know it”.
A new ‘C’ platform will help the Prius shed 70kg. Our source also said: “The current 1.8-litre engine will be modified, while the inverter and motor will be downsized, but will deliver more power.”
The end result will be a car that’s not only quicker than at present, but also capable of more than 90mpg fuel economy and with CO2 emissions of under 70g/km – that’s about 25 per cent better than the existing Prius.
A similar improvement won’t be possible with the new plug-in version – the current model manages 134mpg and 49g/km – as Toyota doesn’t see the charging structure advancing fast enough, according to the insider. The brand doesn’t want to hike the current plug-in Prius’ £28,000 price, either.
However, both cars will get four-wheel drive. “The rear wheels will be driven by a motor in an e-4WD system,” added the insider. “Targeting snowy areas, they will operate at up to 37mph.”
There’ll be a new design to go with the radical tech. “The bonnet height will drop by at least 90mm and the car will lose its wedge shape,” we were told. “The A-pillar will move backwards and the roofline will be pushed forward by around 500mm.” Our image reveals a shape designed to be sleeker without denting the aerodynamics or practicality.
There’s expected to be about 500 litres of boot space – enough to hold four sets of golf clubs.
Surprisingly, the regular Prius will keep its nickel-metal hydride batteries, with advanced lithium-ion tech reserved for the plug-in model. Toyota engineers still feel the cheaper, old-style batteries manage power delivery better when it comes to intensive use and charging.
TOKYO -- When the next-generation Prius hybrid came up for final approval at a session of top brass, Toyota Motor Corp.'s global r&d boss delivered bad news to the car's chief engineer: The design doesn't cut it. Try again.
The fateful review, according to a source, happened last year, prompting a whirlwind of tweaks by Prius Chief Engineer Koji Toyoshima. Only when the restyled car resurfaced for a yay-or-nay at an April meeting did it finally get the green light.
Mitsuhisa Kato, the executive vice president who nixed the early design, said other issues played the pivotal role in a decision earlier this year to delay the launch of what is arguably Toyota's most iconic nameplate.
It's unclear what those issues were. But it's clear from conversations with Toyota executives that a less-than-great design was not going to be approved.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda has prioritized design like never before. And the founding family's scion has recruited like-minded executives to do likewise. So the order to overhaul a nearly finished fourth-generation Prius -- while still a rare rebuff -- highlighted the new mindset.
"The design redo was instructed by myself, and the president said the same thing," Kato told Automotive News. "We substantially refined the design, and we have finally reached a level where we can offer it next year."
As reported by Automotive News, Toyota decided to delay the start of production for the much-anticipated Prius to the end of 2015 from an initial target of next spring.
There are plenty of potential hang-ups. The upcoming Prius will be a critical test bed of complex new technologies, including the carmaker's modular vehicle architecture and next-generation hybrid system.
Getting the look right, executives hope, finally will free the Prius from its frumpy image. Toyota, which sold more than 1 million hybrids in 2013 for a second straight year, has more riding on the Prius' redesign than bragging rights. It also will show whether Toyota's new design strategy is on the right track.
Toyota is closely guarding styling details of the next Prius, code-named 690A, and its plug-in variant, code-named 680A.
But Toyota's design studio aims to inject emotion into a utilitarian hatchback that traditionally has tapped customers' environmentally conscious, rational side, said one engineer.
The last-minute course correction in styling apparently delivered big changes. "The exterior is clearly different," said a Toyota insider. "We want designs that feel like a fresh breeze and have impact."
Toyota also is expected to better differentiate the designs of the standard Prius and the Prius Plug-in this time. Currently, both vehicles share nearly identical bodywork.
Toyota aims to restyle the standard Prius with a sporty look targeting younger buyers and give the plug-in version a more staid look to appeal to a wider audience, according to a source at a company that supplies parts for the vehicles.
The concept car most closely previewing the next Prius is the C-HR Concept shown at this year's Paris auto show, said another source. While the concept is a compact crossover, its so-called diamond architecture features, such as the muscular wheel arches, aggressive grille and tapered glasshouse, are expected to influence the looks of the Prius hatchback.
Another source added that the Prius takes advantage of Toyota's new modular C platform for a low center of gravity, lowered hood and smaller front air intake. It gets a sportier stance, higher rear end and more pronounced wedge shape.
Because of the new platform, engineers also will have more flexibility in designing the interior. While the overall dimensions of the car are expected to remain roughly the same, the next Prius will get more cabin space, one source said.
To maximize aerodynamics, the next Prius will keep the current generation's split-level rear window, despite visibility issues.
To eke out better fuel economy, the next Prius also is expected to ramp up the use of lightweight body parts, the supplier source said.
The standard Prius is expected to get more aluminum sheet metal while engineers are contemplating some resin, or plastic, body panels for the Prius Plug-in. The current Prius and Prius Plug-in already have an aluminum hood and rear hatchback door. The only mass-market Toyota vehicle with plastic body paneling is the Corolla Fielder, a Japan-market wagon with a resin rear door.
The next Prius is expected to keep the center-mounted instrument cluster that Toyota is making a hallmark of its alternative drivetrain lineup. The setup, which centers the speedometer in the instrument panel almost below the rearview mirror, also has been used in the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan that goes on sale in Japan today, Dec. 15.
One new design feature the Prius apparently won't emulate is the Mirai's external styling, with its flared and flowing fenders, wild front air intakes and angular upright stance.
"When we came up with this, Prius designers said they wanted to borrow from it," said Toshihiro Kasai, the Mirai's deputy chief engineer. "But I said, 'No, this is just for the fuel cell vehicle.'"
Under global design chief Tokuo Fukuichi, both the mass-market Toyota brand and its Lexus stablemate have undergone a design renaissance. The new looks are intentionally polarizing, aiming to err on side of yeah or yuck, rather than yawn.
Fukuichi injected pizzazz into Lexus with its aggressive spindle grille and has spiced up Toyota with the likes of the head-turning FT-1 sports car concept. The contrarian design guru also was the main champion behind the dramatic midcycle freshening of the 2015 Camry that required nearly all-new sheet metal.
His efforts were rewarded this year with a promotion to the board of directors, a first for any design chief at Toyota. He also was named a 2014 Automotive News All-Star for global design.
Engineers say Fukuichi is pushing the company's gearheads and bean counters to think more with the right side of the brain.
But some habits still die hard. Toyota's design process was constrained by groupthink and design by committee. The new mantra: Get individuals to make bolder stands.
So Toyota's top brass is making the hard calls, even at inopportune times, in order to lead by example.
"Especially when it comes to design, only a few people make critical comments. Probably the president and I are the only ones, or Fukuichi-san, head of design," Kato said. "We share the same mindset. We're the ones who say the design is no good; take the time to do it over."
The unveiling of the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius is expected this year, which would quell rumors that the automaker's bread-and-butter hybrid has been delayed.
Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, would not provide specific timing but hinted strongly the car will be shown soon. Lentz met with media today in York Township for the groundbreaking of an expansion of the Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor.
Lentz noted the last three generations of the Prius have averaged a six-year life cycle and the current model was introduced in 2009, which suggests the fourth generation is coming this year. It could debut this fall at the Tokyo or Los Angeles auto shows.
"I have driven it. It's fantastic," Lentz said, adding the new Prius is better looking and handling, with a lower center of gravity. The design could incorporate cues from the Toyota C-HR concept crossover shown at the 2014 Paris auto show.
The Prius was developed in Japan and is the first vehicle since Toyota introduced a new product development strategy known as Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA to better leverage the global scale of one of the world's largest automakers.
Lentz said the Prius is an important first step under TNGA.
The 2016 Prius also has better fuel economy than the outgoing model which achieved 50 m.p.g. in combined city and highway driving. But he said media reports of a 15% improvement are not accurate — they are too high.
Current low gasoline prices have cut hybrid sales across the industry by about 15%, Lentz said, and Prius sales are down 14%.
But the automaker has no intention of backing off or slowing down development of future hybrids. Gas prices will eventually increase and with it, demand for the hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles under development, he said.
"With lower fuel prices, it's having an impact on the entire segment," he said. "But long term, it's still the player. We've seen these rises and falls in fuel prices in the past."
Toyota has 13 hybrids, representing 13-14% of its total volume, Lentz said.
-Striking exterior design ushers in new hybrid era
-New platform and rear double wishbone suspension dial up driving dynamics
-Ten percent fuel economy improvement on core models; highest MPG without a plug
-First vehicle based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture
-Toyota Safety Sense system available among other safety enhancements
The same vehicle that pioneered the hybrid category just disrupted the status quo again. The all-new, fourth-generation Prius starred in a spectacular evening production of music, food and special effects to celebrate an industry icon in a way that was anything but expected.
More than 350 journalists, social influencers and Toyota guests watched the all-new 2016 Prius elevate into the Las Vegas night sky. After almost twenty years of shaping the world view on alternative energy vehicles, and more than 3.5 million global sales, Prius is setting out to change the world again.
Today’s consumers expect environmental credentials, and the new Prius delivers. Smaller, lighter hybrid system components, higher-energy density in the batteries, and an internal combustion engine touting ground-breaking thermal efficiency (more than forty percent), contribute to a significant advancement in fuel economy. With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug. A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency.
But it’s not just about MPG anymore. Today’s customers want all the traditional benefits of a hybrid, but don’t want to compromise on looks and performance. So Toyota upgraded the Prius inside and out to deliver the complete package - emotional styling, smarter technology and impressive MPG, in a vehicle that’s more fun to drive than ever.
“Prius set the global benchmark for hybrids, but now is breaking its own boundaries with more engaging style and fun-to-drive dynamics,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “What was once a rational purchase that for many customers focused on fuel economy, is now so much more. This Prius will invite new drivers into the category by delivering an impressive look and feel, built on the foundation of safety and eco-consciousness that define the vehicle’s heritage.”
Easy on the Eyes
The Prius’ exterior has been completely reimagined. From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion.
The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered.
The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides.
A palette of seven exterior colors includes an all-new Toyota hue, “Hypersonic Red.” This new color utilizes a newly developed treatment process, which results in a deep and vibrant luster highlighting the external forms.
Need a Hug?
The Prius’ new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control.
Once inside, drivers will feel immediately comfortable and impressed by styling cues that are unique in the industry. The wide instrument panel, seamlessly designed to be both functional and beautiful, gives a sense of comfort and spaciousness. Available premium white ornamentation in the lower sections of the cabin is reminiscent of fine bone china.
Efficient Development from the Start
The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA). TNGA aims to greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal through an integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. Development of vehicles is being grouped to promote strategic sharing of components with the goal of improving resource efficiency by better than twenty percent. Resources will be directed into developing advanced technologies, and most importantly even further strengthening product appeal.
A Fun-to-Drive Hybrid? A “Wish” Come True
Engineered from the ground up, the new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room.
Hallmarks of TNGA, a lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension package, dial up the driving excitement. In fact, the height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of Scion’s FR-S sports car – a remarkable achievement in height and mass reduction.
The all-new rear double wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. A more rigid body helps improve responsiveness while cornering. From winding mountain roads to the wide boulevards downtown, the new Prius stays connected to the road, without sacrificing ride quality and occupant comfort.
TNGA also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including:
-Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
-Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
-Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
-Automatic High Beams
Available on the new Prius, Toyota aims to make Toyota Safety Sense available across nearly the entire vehicle lineup by the end of 2017.
Setting the Stage for the Future of Mobility
It started in 1992 with a vision for the future – mobility in harmony with society. Prius, which means “to go before” changed the way we move about the world, and changed the automotive industry forever. More than two decades and over 8 million Toyota hybrid sales later, the all-new, no compromises 2016 Prius stands side by side with its sibling, the hydrogen powered Mirai, poised to change the game yet again. The new Prius will arrive in dealerships early next year.
The all-new 2016 Prius lights up the night sky in Las Vegas during its official world premiere. With its striking new look, smarter tech and impressive fuel economy– all in a package that's more fun to drive than ever, the next era of Prius is here!
Toyota's Japanese arm is willing to provide the necessary add-ons to make it stand-out more. And who knows, maybe the optional bits will make the car look better.
Several body-enhancement accessories – specifically tailored by the brand's Modellista and Toyota Racing Development – including a wide array of rims, were spotted in a Prius JDM staff manual.
As it turns out, there are entire body kits offerings for the Japanese market version of the hybrid, making it look sharper. Toyota’s own TRD division provides a subtle package, including a center-mounted twin-exhaust complemented by a rear apron. There are two design options available for the front bumper, none of which too obvious; even the option with the LED daytime running lights seem subtle enough to pass unnoticed, although I can’t say the same about the Prius.
Naturally, all factory-grade visual enhancements are subtle, even though the wide selection of wheels varies in size, from 15 inch to 18, but the Prius can apparently also be equipped with Modellista bits and pieces. In fact, the Japanese tuner offers two specific body-kits, Icon style and Up-Grade style, each with its own unique approach and add-ons.
It’s not known if these enhancements will be available in other markets, or if they will remain JDM-exclusive.
Bringing to the table improved driving dynamics, evocative styling, and fuel economy of 40.8 km/L (under the JC08 test cycle), Toyota's fourth-generation Prius launched at dealers across Japan today. Toyota is targeting monthly sales of 12,000 units in the Japanese market.
Tuning company TOM's Racing has previewed its upcoming body-kit and tuning upgrades for the popular hybrid.
Understandably, TOM's Racing has decided to add some much needed aggression to the 2016 Prius and has done just that with the updated front end.
Toyota's all-new hybrid sports a custom bumper as well as blacked-out elements surrounding the daytime running lights that give off the impression of being air intakes.
Additionally, the tuner has elected to install a new front lip spoiler which doesn't only make the hybrid significantly more menacing but also perfectly complements the rest of the visual modifications. At the sides, extended skirts have been fitted as have a set of large alloy wheels.
The changes are completed at the rear with a new bumper, bold diffuser and, rather amusingly, quad stacked tailpipes similar to those of the Lexus IS F.
Rounding off the initial upgrades is a lowered suspension. At this stage, TOM's Racing hasn't announced whether it intends to tune the hybrid power-train of the Prius or not.
We’re talkin’ ‘bout Heck on Wheels, people. We're also talking about getting you — yes, YOU — featured in a commercial on the day of the big game. Keep your eyes glued to #GoPriusGo on Twitter during the entire game this Sunday to get your chance to have your tweet seen by the entire football-loving world.
Well, my name is Todd, and I’ve got a job workin’ for the man from nine to five.
But when I’m on the road, feelin’ bad and bold, it’s the only time I feel alive.
They can’t believe what their eyes have seen. Never thought a Prius could feel so badass.
It’s hybrid mayhem on the road, and goes a bunch of friggin’ miles on so little gas! It’s heck on wheels! I just don’t give a dang.
Heck on wheels!
Sorry, baby! It corners like a boomerang!
When Johnny Law is comin’ after you, but he’s not after you, so you let him through, cause Johnny Law just pass you right on by!
Yeah, this mutha-truckin’ ride is keepin’ it safe, so now I don’t spill my chai!
Heck on wheels!
Come on! Yeah!
Talkin’ ‘bout heck on wheels!
Heck on wheeeeeeeeeels!
Go Prius Go!
Introducing the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius. Designed and engineered with an edge. And when four bumbling buddies choose the all-new Prius as their getaway car, they discover that it's much more than just a comfortable ride wired with innovative safety technology — its power and performance are enough to turn any drive into an event worth sharing with the entire world.
*STEAL THE SPOTLIGHT!* Want to be in the next chapter of the story, airing later today? Stay tuned to #GoPriusGo on Twitter to get your chance to be featured in front of the entire football-loving world.
Japanese tuning company Wald International has dropped a couple of revealing renderings of its bold 2016 Prius body-kit.
Wald's upgrades include a custom front splitter and faux lower air intakes with silver outer accents. Additionally, there's a redesigned bumper as well as dual canards on either side and a strip of plastic that now separates the headlights in two parts.
Looking at the profile, we can see a set of bespoke black and silver wheels with low-profile tires and extended side skirts, while the rear sports quad exhaust pipes and a black diffuser with a Formula 1-inspired fog light.
-Ultra-efficient Prius with Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain
-Manufacturer-estimated 120 MPGe
-Available in 50 States
-Techno-wonder with Available 11.6-inch Multimedia HD Display, Head-up Display and Wireless Phone Charging
-A Total Package in Every Aspect, Adding Up to Great Value
If there’s electricity in the air at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, it’s probably coming from the Toyota display, where the world’s hybrid vehicle leader has unveiled the new Prius Prime, an ultra-efficient model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. “Prime” means best, making it the perfect name for one of the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history.
The Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) is expected to be the highest MPGe rating of any Plug-in Hybrid.* It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback.
The 2017 Prius Prime combines an electrifying design with an even more capable electric powertrain than the previous-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Prime is expected to offer an estimated two times the electric range of the previous model -- 22 miles – meeting the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers, and drive at speeds up to 84 mph without leaving EV mode.
As parsimonious with fuel as the Prius Prime may be, it drives with the same verve as the standard new-generation Prius hybrid, one result of the new high-strength platform and double-wishbone independent rear suspension.
Prius Prime adds even more premium touches and exclusive tech features compared to the all-new Prius hybrid, including its available 11.6-inch, HD central multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full color head-up display. “Prime” also describes the vehicle’s available advanced safety technology, Toyota Safety Sense™ P. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite, bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available for additional peace of mind.
All 2017 Prius hybrid models come standard with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.
Electrifying Design Cheats the Wind … and the Scales
If the 2017 Prius Prime looks like the future, it was purely intentional on the designers’ part. The new-generation Prius Prime is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and about an inch lower than its predecessor. The growth boosts cargo room over its predecessor and gives the Prius Prime a road-hugging stance.
The wind-cheating body and its high-strength/low weight structure are critical factors in the Prius Prime’s astoundingly low energy consumption. Its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. Automatic grille shutters help reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed.
Yet the Prius Prime is no aero jellybean. It’s chiseled profile and edgy character lines seem to dare the wind to stand in its way. Energy-conserving quad LED headlights glow like diamonds cutting the night, and LED rear combination lamps leave an unforgettable nighttime signature. Driver visibility remains excellent, aided by a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler and a standard backup camera. The distinctive aero rear window is eye-catching and adds to its slipstream character.
While giving the new-generation Prius models more features, Toyota kept vehicle weight in check by using aluminum for the hood, carbon fiber on the rear hatch, and by using high-tensile strength steel in other parts of the structure. In fact, the lightweight carbon fiber rear hatch makes opening and closing almost effortless.
EV or Hybrid? Both.
The Prius Prime will please anyone who wants to reduce trips to the gas pump, and it would make a great road trip car, too. The Prius Prime will allow drivers to stay in EV mode in more situations, helping to enhance vehicle range on one tank of fuel. You can plug it in, gas it up, or both. On one 11.3-gallon tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates a class-leading estimated total driving range of over 600 miles (Toyota recommends making occasional stops to refuel and recharge yourself and passengers).
Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which seamlessly combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in at home to recharge its larger 8.8kWh battery pack.
In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime can run on the gasoline engine or electric motor alone or a combination of both. Even when not running in EV mode, the Prius Prime will automatically rely more on its electric capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips.
The Prius Prime will also feature a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system, using both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.
Even better, there’s no special equipment for home charging. Just use the supplied cord and the Prius Prime takes approximately 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet. Charging takes less than half the time with a 240V source.
Not to be overshadowed by all the electrical magic, the Prius Prime’s gasoline engine also plays a starring role in that efficiency. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine – the same as in all 2016 Prius hybrid models – earns a groundbreaking 40 percent-plus thermal efficiency. Most modern automobile engines reach about 25-30 percent. Myriad details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to the efficiency, including an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up.
Looks Marvelous, Feels Marvelous
The Prius Prime looks and feels far from frugal on the inside, where a four-seat cabin layout, with center console running front to back, looks more like a high-end luxury coupe. Practicality remains ever present, however, with standard 60/40 folding rear seatbacks. It’s a quiet cabin, too, thanks to the sound-insulating laminated windshield and front door glass and the optimized aero shape that helps keep wind noise where it belongs – outside.
The Prius Prime coddles the driver and passengers with standard heated front seats, an automatic climate control system, and available SofTex® synthetic leather trimmed seats. The climate control system is quieter, thanks to an electric compressor, and it’s smarter, focusing airflow only to areas where occupants are seated in order to help maximize fuel economy and comfort. The climate control system can also operate without the engine on, with a heat pump that allows the system to cool or heat the cabin while driving in EV mode. The driver can activate the remote air conditioning system with an available key fob or smartphone app to cool the interior before entering the cabin.
High Tech, Low Effort
The centrally mounted gauge panel, a Prius hallmark since the model’s inception, appears to float above the dashboard. The panel features dual 4.2-inch full-color TFT (thin film transistor) multi-information displays, and the driver can change their content by using steering wheel controls.
The display provides a multitude of readouts for hybrid energy information and more, and the driver can choose how much information to view. Want to cut the cord? With available wireless cell phone charging for Qi-compatible devices, just place your Qi-compatible devices on the console pad to charge it wirelessly.
Sound and vision inside the Prius Prime likewise meet the standard of “prime.” Toyota equipped this top Prius with its top Entune® multimedia system and made it all accessible through a new and exclusive 11.6-inch HD tablet display. The navigation graphics look simply stunning, and intuitive touch controls make operation a snap.
Prius Prime will also offer an exclusive suite of Prius Prime Apps, allowing you to remotely manage your vehicle’s charging schedule and status, locate charging stations, track and compare your eco driving score with others on social media, remotely control the vehicle’s climate system, and more – all from your smartphone. It’s advanced eco at your fingertips.
An available Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite puts 10 JBL GreenEdge™ speakers in six locations for sonic bliss. The Entune™ Multimedia Bundle includes AM/FM cache radio (letting you pause songs and play later), HD Radio™, HD Radio™ predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary SiriusXM All Access trial and Gracenote® album cover art.
Of course there’s a USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, plus advanced voice recognition and hands-free phone capability, phonebook access and music streaming via Bluetooth®. For iPhone users, Siri® Eyes Free mode adds yet another in-car assistant.
The Entune™ App Suite adds yet more music sources, including Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio and Pandora® as well as Destination Search, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, Facebook Places, Yelp™ plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks. Access to Entune® services is subscription-free.
Built-in Parking Valet
In the urban jungle, where hunting for a prime parking space is a sport, the Prius Prime wins. Available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the Prius Prime into perpendicular spaces and automatically steer it out of a parallel space.
When the way forward gets narrow, such as in a parking garage, the system’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides.
The 2017 Prius Prime will begin arriving in Toyota showrooms in late fall.
The 2017 #Prius Prime is here. With its striking new design, it’s a plug-in hybrid that’s as inspiring to the senses as it is mindful of the world around us.
Discover some of the exciting changes that define the 4th generation of the world’s best-selling hybrid. With its dramatically new exterior design, added technologies and enhanced ride, drive and performance qualities, you are going to see the 2016 Prius in a whole new light. More information about the 2016 #Prius can be found at: http://www.Toyota.com