Toyota’s icon of green motoring has been completely redesigned for 2016. Though it’s still a hatchback, it’s bolder and more daring than any Prius of the past with styling that’s akin to the hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai. Increases in length and width, plus a reduction in height give it a sleeker, more aggressive appearance.
The Prius rides on an all-new platform dubbed TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architecture), which is considerably stronger and lighter than the outgoing model due to the extensive use of high-strength steel. Redesigned suspension systems include an all-new double wishbone rear end, which replaces the old torsion-beam setup. These changes aim to improve the Prius’ handling and ride comfort. The cabin remains a futuristic design, but grows slightly in interior and trunk space.
Efficiency is the name of the game with the new Prius. Great attention has been paid to thermal efficiency and weight reduction, which allowed for a less powerful gasoline engine to be fitted – though it’s still a 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, it now produces 95 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. The total system output is 121 hp. Despite smaller power figures, real-world performance is said to be comparable to the existing car thanks to a reduction in weight. Fuel economy dips to just 4.4 l/100 km city and 4.6 highway, down from the previous generation’s 4.6/4.9 l rating. The Plug-in variant has been discontinued.
Key features on the base Prius Liftback include air conditioning, proximity key with push-button start, a clear display audio system with Bluetooth and USB, and a reverse camera. Oddly, Toyota has opted to limit the Technology and Touring trims that pack luxuries like leatherette upholstery, head-up display, power seats, wireless device charging, and radar cruise control to major metro areas such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
The 2016 Prius starts at $25,995 with the fully-loaded Touring costing $29,330.