5th generation Toyota Prius surprises with striking new look and dynamic drive

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The Toyota Prius introduces the unexpected for its fifth generation, with an eye-catching new chapter in its story of engineering innovation and dynamic design. Available in Europe exclusively as a Plug-in Hybrid Electric, named Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Europe, the latest Prius follows in the pioneering wheel tracks of its illustrious predecessors by once again challenging convention.

Over more than a quarter of a century, the Prius has made a lasting impact on Toyota and the world as the first mass-produced electrified vehicle, setting future EV trends and making electrified technology accessible to a wide range of customers.

The latest Prius takes the next step in that journey by introducing the enhanced electrification of the latest Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV) technology to compliment Toyota’s multi-path approach to carbon neutrality which has already seen sales of more than 23 million electrified vehicles globally, with the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid versions of Prius alone accounting for more than 5 million units.

Toyota is committed to offering low-carbon solutions for all its customers, according to their local needs and infrastructure to ensure no driver is left behind on the road to carbon neutrality. As its most powerful and efficient PHEV, the new Prius strengthens Toyota’s line-up, which includes a commitment to battery electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric (FCEV) vehicles to offer customers a wider range of carbon reduction options.

A combination of true electric vehicle (EV) performance and all the convenience of the latest Hybrid technology delivers a dual DNA at the heart of the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Up to 86 km EV driving range from its 13.6 kWh battery allows fully electric driving on most daily journeys. For longer journeys, or when charging is not practical, Toyota’s new generation Plug-in Hybrid system has enhanced output and an ultra-low combined WLTP CO2 emissions rating of 11 g/km – the lowest ever for a Prius.

Since its launch in 1997, the Prius has been heralded for efficiency but not necessarily performance. However Toyota’s fifth generation hybrid technology has the power to surprise. The hybrid system delivers an overall improvement to the driving experience, providing more power and greater efficiency. The TNGA 2.0 litre engine produces 152 DIN hp (112 kW) and works in tandem with a new 163 DIN hp (120 kW) transaxle front motor for a total system output of 223 DIN hp (164 kW). Compared to the previous generation’s 122 DIN hp (90 kW) in Plug-in Hybrid configuration, the increased output ensures strong and responsive acceleration.

Fun to drive with the latest Prius goes beyond its unexpected power and acceleration. Balance and handling have also been enhanced, thanks to the second-generation GA-C platform of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) which brings lower weight and higher rigidity for a more stable ride. A lower centre of gravity, achieved by placing the EV battery under the rear seat and moving the fuel tank lower and more forward compared to the previous generation, contributes to enhanced driving dynamics and agility.

In the quest for maximum efficiency, up to 8.7 kilometres of EV range a day (based on annual sunlight in Nagoya, Japan) can be generated by optional solar cells integrated in the roof. These now charge the plug-in hybrid battery directly, without the need for an additional solar battery as on previous models. The roof is smaller than before, but thanks to new solar cells, the overall efficiency is improved by more than 15 %.

Although the Prius has always had an eye-catching appearance, the latest generation is surprisingly stylish. The iconic wedge shape, a Prius original since the second generation, has evolved, embracing elegant modern lines. A coupé-like silhouette has been created by lowering the overall height by 50 mm, moving the roof peak rearwards and adopting larger diameter tyres, up to 19 inches.

The distinctive shape is enhanced by a 50 mm longer wheelbase compared to the previous generation. At the same time, overall length has decreased by 46 mm. The rear view is accented by a three-dimensional linear lighting element emphasising the progressive design and focusing attention on the bold Prius logo.

Inside, a spacious cabin combines driving fun and practicality for a clean interior layout. For driver and passengers alike, the interior is spacious and constructed from stylish, high-value materials, accentuated by harmonious design elements which highlight a dynamic feel and sense of purpose.

The driver’s view is based around the seven-inch screen which sits directly in the field of vision, enhancing safety by keeping a driver’s eyes on the road. A newly-designed instrument panel prioritises cabin comfort and a clean lay-out for minimal intrusion into the driver’s forward vision, usability and appearance. It combines a discreet, lower central screen to access Toyota’s latest cloud-based multimedia system, and slim air conditioning controls.

As well as delivering the unexpected in terms of performance, efficiency and aesthetics, the new Prius is also a pioneer when it comes to innovative technologies. One example is the Toyota T-Mate, which incorporates the latest generation of Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) and can now be conveniently updated over-the-air.

An enhanced front camera and radar can see further ahead and boast a wider lateral and vertical view, allowing the detection of more objects, as well as identifying a wider range of potential hazards, including motorcycles and roadside objects. Front side radar sensors are added to support the Pre-Collision System, Lane Trace Assist and Front Cross Traffic Alert features for added peace of mind.

Once at the destination, the new Prius takes the stress out of parking too, thanks to the semi-autonomous Advanced Park system, which can park hands-free or via remote control.

 

Powertrain

  • Third generation Plug-in Hybrid Electric powertrain is more compact yet more powerful.
  • 100 DIN hp (74 kW) total system output increase compared to previous generation.
  • Newly-developed 2.0 litre engine (152 DIN hp / 112 kW) and new transaxle front motor (163 DIN hp / 120kW) for a total system output of 223 DIN hp (164 kW).
  • 50% higher battery density but 30% fewer cells.

The new Prius is the first vehicle to utilise both the TNGA 2.0 litre engine and the third generation of Toyota’s Plug-in Hybrid system, which has benefited from continuous improvement since the first Plug-in Hybrid Prius was launched in 2012. The engine has increased displacement compared to the 1.8l unit used on the previous generation and achieves a very high 41% thermal efficiency.

Toyota’s experience of electrification has been deployed to create a Plug-In Hybrid powertrain which is more powerful and more fun to drive, despite being lighter and more compact, whilst simultaneously delivering better efficiency in terms of fuel economy and emissions.

Total system size and weight have been reduced for a more compact powertrain package. For example, removing the one-way clutch between the two electric motors was made possible by a new high output, low loss drive motor that delivers excellent acceleration performance, lower fuel consumption and contributes to wide-ranging packaging improvements.

The system uses a new Power Control Unit (PCU), which includes an integrated, higher output DC-DC converter, required to convert voltage, and operates at a modified frequency to reduce cabin noise. The unit, fitted directly on top of the transaxle, provides 120% of the output of the previous model. The transaxle itself deploys 60% more power than its predecessor but at 20% less weight because of shape optimisation.

A dry sump system has been adopted to reduce dynamic transmission fluid levels and provide optimal lubrication while low-viscosity oil reduces internal friction and contributes to an all-round improvement of transmission efficiency.

System output has been enhanced via an increased battery capacity, from 8.8kWh to 13.6kWh. The lithium-ion battery has a higher energy density, giving 50% higher capacity but using 30% fewer cells, allowing the battery pack to be shortened and installed below the rear seat.

Use of a higher-capacity battery also enables the introduction of Regeneration Boost for stronger deceleration and greater energy recovery. The driver can select one of three regeneration different modes – gentle, medium and strong – to enjoy a more relaxed drive, with up to around 80% of deceleration achieved without the need to apply the brake pedal.

When parked up, a 3.3 kW on-board charger can top up the battery from standard 220V mains electricity from zero to full in just four hours.

Those all-round enhancements to the Plug-in Hybrid powertrain have resulted in the most powerful and high performing Prius yet, as well as the most efficient. A 100 DIN hp (74 kW) increase takes total system output to 223 DIN hp (164kW) and helps the new Prius accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds thanks to 190 Nm of torque. For the most efficient grade, fuel consumption is just 0.5 l/100 km and the combined CO2 emissions rating is an ultra-low 11 g/km, according to WLTP test standard.

Design

The iconic wedge shape has been reborn for the fifth generation with a progressive design which retains an unmistakable Prius look within a sleeker, sportier silhouette.

The elegant roof line reaches a peak towards the rear of the vehicle, behind the driver’s door, and this subtle change is made more impactful by a 50 mm reduction in height compared to its predecessor. A 50 mm longer wheelbase and overall length reduction of 46 mm combined with larger, 19 inch, diameter tyres complete a new, coupé-like look.

New and exclusive aluminium wheels are standard on the new Prius, with dynamic design intended to regulate airflow along the side of the vehicle for better stability. They stand out with stylish black and bright machined finish.

Clean lines and surfaces are inspired by the natural flow of air and exterior shapes have been optimized to enhance aerodynamic efficiency for effective handling, whilst reducing wind noise. Front grille shutters optimize the inflow of air, contributing to cooling, while the front and rear bumper shapes have been designed to smoothly channel air around the car, concluding with an elegant rear spoiler.

Form follows function at the front, which creates a distinctive face for the new Prius, showing the new design language for Toyota.

The new Prius’ identity is imposed through the bold, centrally placed vehicle name at the rear with progressive spaced lettering which sits beneath an unconventional three-dimensional linear rear light. Other subtle Prius logos are visible throughout the vehicle and emphasise an attention to detail.

Two new colour options are available. The understated yet eye-catching Ash and vibrant Mustard expand the colour palette to seven, joining Dark Blue, Emotional Red, Platinum Pearl White, Silver Metallic and Attitude Black.

A panoramic roof enhances the natural light within the spacious cabin, complimenting the open feel generated by Toyota’s new “Island Architecture” framework.

The driver sits behind a newly designed, small-diameter steering wheel, which at 350mm contributes to the fun to drive sensations. A seven-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD full-graphic screen sits directly in the driver’s field of vision, minimising distraction, while an intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) provides a high level of visibility for important data by simplifying the information displayed.

Distinctive accents on the instrument panel and the synthetic leather seats are colour coordinated and work in sympathy with the black-themed interior to add a dynamic aspect to the surroundings. Bezel-less, modular type switches enhance the high-quality appearance while a new interior lamp uses LEDs for wider illumination and modern appearance.

The new Prius’ interior is practical as well as stylish. Cabin storage has been optimised for better usability and capacity, highlighted by a 7.0 litre glovebox – compared to the previous 5.4 litre – and revised console storage, which now opens from the rear to allow easy access for both driver and passenger. Luggage compartment space has also increased, from 251 litre to 284 litre (VDA), thanks to the relocation of the battery pack.

Red Dot Design Award 2023

Even before the fifth-generation Prius rolled onto European roads, it was already a winner having received the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for Toyota’s elegant and modern reinterpretation of the iconic wedge shape.

The unique design, a signature of the Prius for more than a quarter of a century, has been taken to a distinctive new level by a coupé-like silhouette and unexpected sporty touch. In the predominantly black, spacious interior, select materials provide a stylish and harmonious ambience. The redesigned instrument panel contributes to comfort and safety with its clear and uncluttered layout where easy-to-read instruments allow for simple and ergonomic operation.

With around 20,000 entries annually, the Red Dot Design Award is one of the largest design competitions in the world and for over 60 years has honoured innovative design in the categories ‘Product Design’, ‘Communication Design’ and ‘Design Concept’. The new Prius was given the highest award, ‘Best of the Best’ for 2023 in the category ‘Product Design’ after an evaluation of all entries by an international jury comprising 43 members.