Toyota says it used the latest generation of Prius to introduce the brand's new global vehicle architecture, a platform that has since gone into the Camry family sedan introduced for 2018. That makes this hybrid car as much of a trendsetter within Toyota as it has been for the auto industry at large: It was introduced in the late 1990s as one of the first production cars to use the kind of gas-electric powertrain that has since become a common way to reduce fuel consumption and served as a stepping stone to pure electric vehicles.
The Prius combines its futuristic interior styling -- including a centrally mounted instrument cluster and pod-style shifter -- with an outlandish exterior that's distinctive, but not pretty.
As you read this, Toyota has launched the plug-in (PHEV) Prius Prime in Canada, marking the first time this hybrid powerhouse has brought a car to this country that can be charged while it's parked.
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 Prius is available in three trims: Prius, Prius Technology, and Prius Touring.
Standard kit includes a six-speaker audio system with 6.1-inch touchscreen display, USB and Bluetooth, reverse camera, proximity key (driver's door only) with push-button start, cruise control, 15-inch wheels, automatic climate control, power heated exterior mirrors and a full-colour TFT instrument cluster display.
The Touring includes much of the above equipment plus navigation, a larger, 7.0-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, satellite radio, fog lights, passive keyless sensors on all doors and the tailgate and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Technology trim adds a power moonroof, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, and additional sensors to lock and unlock the rear doors and liftgate.
To the Technology model, an 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.
Fuel consumption estimates are 4.3/4.6 L/100 km (city/highway). The Prius Prime's ratings are 4.3/4.4 when running on a combination of gas and electricity, or 1.8 Le/100 km when driving on electricity alone, which it can do for a promised 40 km.