The Toyota Prius has changed the way Canadians think about eco-friendly motoring. Over four generations and nearly 20 years, the Prius has gone from a quirky, niche compact sedan to becoming the world's most popular hybrid with nearly four million cars sold across the world.
Redesigned just last year, the latest Prius rides on an all-new platform and sports a new look that's unlike anything else on the road. While it's only slightly larger on the outside, on the inside it's considerably more spacious in terms of passenger and cargo room. The Prius maintains its futuristic interior styling with a centrally mounted instrument cluster and pod-style shifter, but features greater use of soft-touch interior plastics for a more upscale feel.
Despite its growth in size, this is the most efficient Prius yet. With a fuel economy rating of just 4.4 L/100 km city and 4.6 L/100 km highway, only a handful of plug-in electric cars can best it. Drivers can select from several driving modes including normal, eco, power, and an EV-only mode allows the car to be driven for short times solely on electric power.
All versions are powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that's mated to a pair of electric motors. The system makes a total of 121 horsepower and drives the front wheels through a CVT.
The only changes of note for 2017 are the inclusion of standard heated seats and Toyota's Safety Sense P package on all trims. Safety Sense P includes lane departure warning, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, and emergency autonomous braking.
A plug-in hybrid model will return later in 2017. In addition to featuring distinctive exterior and interior styling, it also receives a new name: Prime.
The Prius is available in three trims: Prius, Prius Technology, and the Prius Touring. Unusually, the Touring is available only in Canada's three biggest metro areas: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Standard Equipment on the Prius includes a six-speaker audio system with 6.1-inch touchscreen display, USB and Bluetooth, reverse camera, proximity key with push-button start, cruise control, automatic climate control, power heated exterior mirrors and a full-colour TFT instrument cluster display.
The Technology trim level adds a power moonroof, a larger 7.0-inch infotainment display, wireless device charging, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, and additional sensors to lock and unlock the rear doors and liftgate.
The optional Advanced package adds blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, head-up display, rain-sensing wipers, leatherette upholstered seats, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a tire-repair kit.
The Touring includes much of the above equipment plus navigation, fog lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
With the additional equipment, the starting price of the new Prius climbs slightly to $27,055, with the range-topping Technology trim with the Advance Package selling for $32,365.