New Toyota Prius – in detail


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Heritage, sales and the future


Third generation Prius: the outcome of over 30 years of hybrid drive development

Over three generations, Hybrid Synergy Drive® system power increased by 35%, yet fuel consumption lowered by 23% and CO2 emissions reduced by 25%

Toyota hybrids top 2 million sales, including European sales of over 200,000 and Irish sales of over 3,500 vehicles

All Toyota models to offer a Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain derivative by 2020

‘Future Proof’ Hybrid Synergy Drive® readily adaptable to use in both full-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles


For several decades now, the automobile industry has faced three important environmental challenges; ambient air quality, climate change and energy supply and demand. In order to save energy resources and prevent global warming, there is a growing need to improve the fuel consumption of vehicles, thereby reducing CO2 and particulate emissions.

Basing its approach on the concept of ‘the right car, at the right place, at the right time’, Toyota believes it is important to follow more than one path towards this goal, yet – continuing to improve the efficiency of petrol and diesel engined vehicles using biofuels and diverse power sources- remains convinced that hybrid drive is the core technology for the 21st century.

Hybrid drive is not an alternative to petrol or diesel but an addition, enhancing the efficiency of existing powertrains. Hybrid vehicles produce cleaner emissions than petrol-powered vehicles and less CO2 than diesel-powered vehicles.

Toyota has been researching and developing hybrid drive systems for over 30 years. Today, 12 years since Prius was launched, over 2 million Toyota hybrids have been sold around the world. Toyota currently accounts for 80% of global hybrid sales which, to date, has contributed to a reduction in automotive CO2 emissions of some 9 million tons.

The Prius project

Launched in Japan in 1997 and in Europe in 2000, the first generation Prius was the world’s first mass-produced full hybrid vehicle. The name Prius, ‘to go before’ in Latin, quickly became symbolic of a car that was launched even before environmental awareness had become a mainstream social issue.

Within three years, Toyota had implemented significant improvements to the full hybrid drive system’s battery, electric motor and inverter, and the 2003 Prius’ THS II powertrain adopted a boost converter to further enhance system efficiency.

Today, the new Toyota Prius’ next generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® system features comprehensive improvements to the full hybrid powertrain. 90% of the hybrid drive components have been redesigned to create a lighter, more compact system with a focus on delivering increased power, improved cold weather operation, further improvements in real-life fuel efficiency and unprecedented reductions in CO2 emissions.

A new, lightweight, 1.8-litre petrol engine replaces the 1.5-litre unit of the current Prius. Total system power output has been increased to 100 kW/136 DIN hp, yet fuel consumption has been reduced to only 3.9l/100 km and CO2 emissions to just 89 g/km – a best-in-market figure unmatched by any other family car.

A brilliant work in progress, three generations of the car have seen significant improvements to successive evolutions of Toyota’s full hybrid drivetrain, with system power increasing by over 30%, yet fuel consumption falling by over 23% and CO2 emissions reducing by almost 26%

While the Prius itself was named 2005 Car of the Year by the European media, the Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain was dubbed International Engine of the Year in 2004, and has been awarded the title Best Fuel Economy Engine of the Year for the last five consecutive years.

The third generation Prius should not, however, be seen as a niche model to be evaluated only against specialised criteria. Despite delivering CO2 emission levels below A and B segment cars, its on-road performance and dynamic abilities bear comparison with any D-segment competitor. And continued customer approval is exemplified through the Prius’ top ranking in JD Power’s German, French and UK customer satisfaction surveys for the last two years.


A recent, pronounced acceleration in sales highlights a growing acceptance of Toyota’s full hybrid within the mainstream automotive market. Worldwide sales of the second generation Prius more than doubled between 2004 and 2008, to over 285,000 units. In Europe, meanwhile, despite increased competition, sales multiplied by over five times to almost 42,000 units over the same period.

With an objective of 60,000 sales in 2009, European Prius sales will make a strong contribution to Toyota’s target of achieving worldwide annual sales of one million Hybrid Synergy Drive® vehicles by the early 2010s. Toyota will launch as many as 10 new hybrid models by the early 2010s and, by the early 2020s, the company aims to offer all models with a Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain derivative.

The future

Toyota is committed to a further reduction in the size, weight and cost of key hybrid components such as the electric motor, inverter and batteries. By 2020, Toyota aims to offer all models with a Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain derivative.

Moreover, reflecting Toyota’s environmental lead in the drive towards sustainable mobility, Hybrid Synergy Drive® will serve as a core technology applicable to all future models. The system has been specifically designed to be ‘future proof’, and is readily adaptable to use in both full-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Verification tests are currently being conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe on a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV). Toyota’s plug-in hybrid functions as an electric vehicle on short trips and a conventional hybrid when travelling longer distances.

As with the Prius, the PHV runs on both a petrol-powered internal combustion engine and an electric motor. What sets the plug-in apart from current hybrids, however, is an increased battery capacity that enables a longer electric-only cruising range of about 10 kilometres, and a battery charging function that allows users to fully recharge the batteries externally, using an ordinary household electrical supply, in less than two hours.

The Plug-in Hybrid’s enhanced EV mode offers significant driver benefits. Compared to the Prius, the PHV is able to run more often in petrol-free, electric-only mode, thus reducing CO2 emissions even further.

Toyota began work on Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHVs) in 1992, developing its own hydrogen fuel cells and high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks in house. The company applies its own hybrid drive technology to FCHV development, replacing petrol engines with fuel cells, and its FC stack is a performance leader in fuel cell technology.

The world’s first production fuel cell vehicle, the Toyota FCHV, was introduced to the market in 2002 and obtained type certification in 2005.

Toyota’s next generation fuel cell hybrid, FCHV-adv offers a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and, through the use of Toyota-developed, 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks, has a single-fill-up cruising range of approximately 830 km – more than twice the cruising range of its predecessor. Furthermore, the FCHV-adv will operate in -30° C, greatly improving its cold weather performance.

Through the development of its RAV4-EV vehicle, Toyota has also accumulated an unprecedented depth of knowledge and engineering capability in the field of electric vehicles.

The demand for short distance commuter vehicles is expected to increase in the coming years, and the new FT-EV concept is a fully electric vehicle based on the Toyota iQ’s highly compact platform. Its powerful electric motor generates 45 kW and 160 Nm at 2690 rpm. It has a top speed of 110 km/h, a range of 80 km before recharging and a zero emission rating.

2. New HSD: dynamic performance with improved fuel economy

Full hybrid, series-parallel system architecture – the only full hybrid powertrain in the mass-mobility market

90% component redesign for a lighter, more compact and efficient hybrid drive system

Power increased by 24% to 136 DIN hp

Fuel economy improved by 9% to 3.9 l/100 km -the fuel consumption levels of a small city car

Highly tax-efficient CO2 emissions of just 89 g/km, reduced by 14%

New 1.8-litre VVT-i Atkinson cycle petrol engine with cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system

Battery output increased

The new Prius’ next generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® system features comprehensive improvements to the award-winning, full hybrid powertrain. 90% of the hybrid drive components have been redesigned to create a lighter, more compact system with a focus on delivering increased power, improved cold weather operation, further improvements in real-life fuel efficiency and unprecedented reductions in CO2 emissions.

Total system power output has been increased by 24%, from 110 to 136 DIN hp. Offering performance to match any conventional 2.0-litre family vehicle, the new Prius will accelerate seamlessly from 0-100 km/h in 10.4 seconds – a 0.5 second improvement over the current model – and on to a top speed of 180 km/h.

At the same time, overall fuel economy has been improved by 9%. The adoption of a larger, 1.8-litre engine reduces rpm during high speed driving for a gain of about 12% in long-haul cruising fuel efficiency. Whilst operating in standard driving mode, the new Prius returns only 3.9 l/100 km in the European homologation combined cycle. Toyota’s full hybrid is the only family car to combine the fuel consumption levels of a small city car with a cruising range of almost 1150 km – an increase of 150 km over the current model, despite identical fuel tank capacities.

The new Prius fulfils Euro 5 emissions standards, and is expected to meet those of Euro 6. Producing best-in-market petrol CO2 emissions of just 89 g/km – a figure unmatched by any other family car – the Toyota full hybrid offers customers significant tax incentives in several European countries.

Moreover, when operating in a unique, switchable EV mode, the Prius offers zero emission driving for up to two kilometres, at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Hybrid Synergy Drive® system architecture

The new Prius is a full hybrid, offering all the benefits of series/parallel powertrain architecture. Rival, mild hybrid vehicles currently employ a parallel system configuration.

Capable of operating in petrol and electric modes alone, as well as a combination of both, the new Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive® system delivers the energy-saving benefits of a series hybrid combined with the performance benefits of a parallel hybrid, equipping the new Toyota full hybrid with impressive, seamless acceleration and remarkably quiet operation, yet returning class-leading fuel efficiency and the lowest possible emissions.

The next generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® series/parallel full hybrid system features a 1.8 litre petrol engine, a powerful electric motor, a generator, a high performance battery, a power control unit, and a power split device which employs a planetary gear set to combine and re-allocate power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements.

During deceleration and under braking, the electric motor acts as high-output generator to effect regenerative braking, optimising energy management in the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system by recovering kinetic energy (normally wasted as heat under braking and deceleration) as electrical energy for storage in the high performance battery.

1.8-litre Atkinson cycle engine

A new, lightweight, highly compact, 4-cylinder 1798 cc Atkinson cycle petrol engine replaces the 1.5-litre unit of the current Prius. Maximum engine power output has been increased by 27% and maximum engine torque by 23%.

Though the installation of a larger, more powerful engine within a full hybrid drive system designed to minimise fuel consumption may seem counter-intuitive, the new unit’s increased cubic capacity actually allows it to operate with greater fuel efficiency at cruising speeds.

Generating 98 DIN hp at 5,200 rpm and a maximum 142 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, the new engine delivers 32 Nm more torque at lower revolutions – a reduction of 290 rpm, from 2470 to 2180 rpm. At a speed of 120 km/h, it combines quieter running with a 12% improvement in long distance cruising fuel economy.

Combined with a new cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, the adoption of the Atkinson cycle offers significant gains in fuel efficiency and the reduction of emissions. EGR reintroduces precisely metered exhaust gas – cooled from 880°C to 150°C – into the intake system, further reducing engine operating temperatures, whilst also reducing engine pumping losses through a reduction in intake vacuum pressure.

Together, these technologies minimise situations when fuel enrichment is necessary to protect the catalytic converter from overheating damage, thereby improving fuel economy and lowering emissions.

Ultra-low Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) characteristics are one of the key attributes of Hybrid Synergy Drive®, and particular attention has been paid to minimising engine noise and vibration. The engine itself is mounted on a 4-point suspension system with mounting rubber characteristics optimised for the suppression of noise and vibration.

Hybrid transaxle

Housing the electric motor, the electric generator, the power split device and the motor speed reduction device in one lightweight, highly compact transmission casing directly comparable in size to that of a conventional gearbox, a new transaxle lies at the heart of the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system.

The full hybrid drive system’s seamless transmission is controlled by Shift-by-Wire technology, using an electronic shift lever system. The shift lever itself is designed to always return to its ‘home’ position when released, and the shift position can be checked on the shift position indicator integrated within the driver’s instrument binnacle.

Adjacent to the shift lever, a parking switch with integral indicator light is used to engage or release a parking lock mechanism within the transmission gearing. The parking lock is automatically deactivated when driving off, and automatically re-engages when the car is switched off.

The new transaxle features a new, multi-function gear train with high level of mechanical integration including a motor speed reduction gear, making it 12.5 mm shorter in length and 20kg lighter than its predecessor.

60 kW electric motor

The high performance, permanent magnet, synchronous 60 kW electric motor works in tandem with the petrol engine to boost acceleration and power the driven wheels alone when the Prius is operating in EV mode. During regenerative braking, the motor also acts as a high-output generator, recovering kinetic energy as electrical energy to charge the system battery.

Generating a maximum 207 Nm of torque from 0-13,000 rpm, the motor is lighter than that of the current Prius, yet offers a 20% increase in power and is more powerful than that of mild hybrid systems. This has been achieved through a combination of more than doubling the motor’s maximum rpm, and boosting available torque through a new reduction gear device within the transaxle.

The motor is no longer water cooled, and maximum drive voltage amplification has been increased from 500 to 650 V. However, under ordinary driving conditions, unless maximum output is required, the motor is driven at an unamplified voltage whenever possible to enhance fuel efficiency.


As with the electric motor, the generator is also of the AC synchronous type. Developing 42 kW, the generator performs numerous functions within the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system.

Because the system has no starter motor, the generator is used to start the petrol engine. Under normal driving conditions, engine output is divided according to system requirements to both drive the wheels and power the generator which, via the PCU, drives the electric motor and simultaneously charges the high-voltage battery. Moreover, in order to optimise engine speed control for maximum full hybrid system fuel efficiency, engine speed is also controlled by the generator.

When its operation is not required by the hybrid drive system, the generator stops the engine. However, if the Prius runs under electric motor power alone for sufficient distance to necessitate battery charging, the generator will start the engine, which itself provides the power for the generator to charge the battery.

High output battery

Using proven and reliable nickel-metalhydride technology, the Hybrid Synergy Drive® 202 V battery allows the new Prius to operate in EV mode, driving under electric motor power alone. Battery output has been increased by 2 kW to a maximum of 27 kW, improving motor running smoothness at start up.

Located beneath the rear loadspace floor, the battery pack itself has been further reduced in size to minimise impact on cabin accommodation. Increase fan capacity has improved battery cooling system efficiency, supporting the battery power increase.

Power control unit

Now similar in size to a 12 V battery, the Hybrid Synergy Drive® power control unit consists of:

A voltage boost converter, which boosts electric motor, generator and battery voltage to increase hybrid system power output

An inverter for the motor/generator, which converts the DC power from the battery into AC power for driving the motor and the generator

A DC/DC converter, which reduces the high voltage of the 202 V system battery pack to 14 V, supplying power to the accessory systems and charging the auxiliary battery.

The new, 13.5 kg, 13 litre inverter is 36% lighter and 37% more compact than its predecessor. It has faster switching for improved efficiency, and now converts the battery’s direct current into a higher, 650 V alternating current to drive the electric motor and, occasionally, the generator, offering significantly improved PCU performance.

Hybrid Synergy Drive® in operation

Over the course of any journey, Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® system operates in several different modes to maximise the Prius’ overall efficiency: At rest, the engine stops automatically to conserve fuel. Under operating conditions of low engine efficiency such as start up and low to mid-range speeds, the vehicle runs on the electric motor alone, thus eradicating CO2 and NOX emissions.

Under normal driving conditions, power allocation is constantly adjusted between engine and electric motor to combine optimum performance with maximum fuel efficiency. Via a newly developed Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) with a regeneration system, the electric motor acts as high-output generator during deceleration and under braking to effect regenerative braking, optimising energy management in the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system by recovering kinetic energy (normally wasted as heat under braking and deceleration) as electrical energy for storage in the high performance battery.

Battery power level is constantly managed via an engine driven generator to obviate any requirement to recharge the system from an external source.

Quiet, smooth driving with improved dynamics

Revised MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension for enhanced handling and ride comfort

Improved NVH level for a comfortable, quiet driving experience

EV, ECO and POWER ‘on-demand’ drive modes for improved Hybrid Synergy Drive® performance, efficiency and fuel economy

Eco Drive Monitor for more fuel-efficient driving

Intelligent Parking Assist

Allowing drivers to fully exploit the improvements to the next generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain, the new Prius is built on the new MC platform which features extensive revisions to the geometries of the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension systems, combining improved agility with enhanced ride comfort.

New, speed-sensitive power steering reduces hybrid system energy consumption for improved fuel economy. EV, ECO and POWER ‘on-demand’ drive modes increase the capabilities of the Prius’ full hybrid powertrain, and an Eco Drive Monitor helps drivers maximise the fuel efficiency of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® system.

Revised suspension

The Prius’ MacPherson strut front suspension features extensive revisions to the system geometry. Improvements include increased torsional stiffness and caster angle to give a more natural steering feel, and an input force-dividing upper support which allows for coil spring input to be transmitted directly to the body without passing through the upper support, thus enhancing ride comfort.

Comprehensive NVH measures

Taking advantage of the inherent operational quietness of Hybrid Synergy Drive®, particular attention has also been paid to further NVH reduction measures within the new Prius, ensuring customers enjoy a calm, more quiet cabin environment.

Comprehensive structural bracing combined with panel resonance tuning optimises bodyshell rigidity to ensure the minimal transmission of vibrations. And road and engine noise have been suppressed through the use of high-performance sound proofing materials throughout the engine and passenger compartments.

Three on-demand drive modes

Supplementing the new Prius’ seamless transmission, three alternative, ‘on-demand’ drive modes may be selected to further increase driving efficiency, performance and fuel economy.

From start-up and at speeds of less than 70 km/h, the new Prius automatically facilitates EV driving under electric motor power alone – the petrol engine boosting system power only under hard acceleration.

Via a switch, the driver may also select EV mode manually. This unique driving mode is not available to drivers of mild hybrid vehicles, requiring the full hybrid technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive®. With vehicle range dictated by battery charge, the EV drive mode allows for urban driving with minimal noise and zero CO2 and NOX emissions at speeds of up to 50 km/h, regardless of throttle angle, for up to two kilometres.

In the new ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced and air-conditioning control optimized for improved fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions and ambient temperature, the ECO mode can help drivers achieve a 10% -15% reduction in fuel consumption when used in conjunction with the ECO Drive Monitor.

A new POWER mode also modifies the response of the Prius to throttle inputs, here boosting power to improve acceleration and enhance driving pleasure. The POWER mode provides a maximum 25% higher throttle response to accelerator pedal input.

Eco drive monitor

Supported by a range of four instrument binnacle displays, the Eco Drive Monitor has been developed to help drivers maximise the fuel efficiency of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® system.

An Energy Monitor displays the current operating conditions of the engine and the flow of electric power. Operating in real time, this monitor helps the driver to understand the basic energy flow of the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system.

A Hybrid System Indicator displays real-time accelerator use, helping the driver to modify his throttle inputs and driving style for maximum fuel efficiency.

A new 1min/5min Consumption monitor displays fuel consumption and energy recovery results in one and five minute intervals, providing drivers with instant feedback on the fuel, efficiency of their driving style.

A new Past Record monitor displays trip computer mileage and average fuel consumption records.

Intelligent Parking Assist

An improved Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) system has been fitted in the new Prius, offering greater ease of use and significantly reduced operation times. IPA can assist the driver of the Toyota full hybrid in entering parking places.

The system employs a rear camera and front side-bumper mounted ultrasonic sensors to identify viable parking spaces and then inputs the appropriate steering angle when parking. The system controls the steering to automatically guide the vehicle into the target parking position. No steering input is required of the driver, who merely controls vehicle speed during the manoeuvre.

Advanced safety features

New Pre-Crash Safety system (PCS) with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) regeneration system incorporating Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control+ (VSC+)

Seven airbags, including curtain shield airbags, fitted as standard

New Active headrests for reduced whiplash injuries

Improved pedestrian impact performance

The Prius has achieved the maximum 5-star rating in the more stringent 2009 Euro NCAP safety test.

The Toyota full hybrid is equipped with upgraded active, passive and pedestrian impact safety features and a highly rigid, impact absorbing body shell incorporating an increased percentage of high tensile steel.

Seven airbags and active headrests are fitted as standard, and an upgraded Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) regeneration system incorporates Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control+ (VSC+). The Prius is also available with a new pre-emptive, Pre-Crash Safety system (PCS) incorporating Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Pre-Crash Safety System

The Prius’ optional Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system sets a new benchmark for anticipatory, preventive safety. It employs a millimetre wave radar sensor to scan the road ahead, recognising potentially dangerous objects and assisting the driver in reducing the chances of a collision.

If there is a high possibility of a collision, PCS will alert the driver and, when he begins to brake, provide braking assistance to supplement his own braking effort, simultaneously activating the seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) works in tandem with the PCS system. It will automatically maintain a selected distance from the vehicle in front. Once the road ahead is clear, the Prius automatically returns to its original cruising speed.

Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) regeneration System

The Prius is equipped with a newly developed Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) regeneration system which coordinates the control of both hydraulic and regenerative braking. ECB is 18% lighter and 31% smaller than conventional systems.

The new Prius is fitted with enlarged, 381 mm ventilated disc brakes to the front and new 381 mm solid discs to the rear for improved braking efficiency.

At speeds over 55 km/h, if ECB determines that emergency braking is taking place, an Emergency Brake Signal system automatically blinks the Prius’ stop lights to alert vehicles behind and reduce the possibility of a rear-end collision.

Additional active safety features

ECB incorporates the full range of active safety systems, including a latest generation Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control+ (VSC+).

Brake Assist (BA) monitors brake pedal depression speed to determine whether an emergency-braking manoeuvre is intended. If the driver applies insufficient braking force yet the system recognises the need for emergency braking, it will automatically increase the hydraulic pressure in the system to optimise braking efficiency.

Vehicle Stability Control+ (VSC+), incorporating Steering Torque Assist, counteracts understeer or oversteer by independently applying appropriate braking force to any of the four wheels, whilst simultaneously applying counter-steering torque to help the driver stabilise the vehicle.

A Traction Control System (TRC) contains wheel spin on low or split friction surfaces, whilst Steering Torque Assist further helps to counter yaw moments under braking and acceleration.

Passive safety

The new Prius is fitted with seven airbags, as standard: driver and front seat passenger front and side airbags, a driver knee airbag, and side curtain airbags. The front passenger airbag may be deactivated, and a dashboard warning light indicates this condition. Though the seatbelt pretensioner remains active, a rear facing baby seat can therefore be safely fitted.

All front and rear seats feature three-point, ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor) seatbelts with a pretensioner and force limiter function. The ELR is designed to lock up the seatbelt when excessive load is applied over a preset value. During a collision, the force limiter fractionally reduces seatbelt tension to lower occupant chest impact forces. In addition the front seats are equipped with cable-operated anti-whiplash headrests to minimise whiplash injury during rear-end collisions.

Pedestrian impact safety

The front of new Prius incorporates extensive measures to reduce pedestrian injury in the event of an impact. Within a bumper structure designed to minimise leg injury, impact absorbing materials have been installed within the front bumper and under the radiator to help avoid a pedestrians legs from sliding under the vehicle.

The front wings feature an impact absorbing bracket to help reduce head injury, the bonnet hood lock is well distanced from the upper bonnet surface, and the bonnet structure incorporates an impact absorbing cavity to maximise the impact stroke. In addition, the cowl area also features an easily crushable structure to alleviate impact from above.

3. Space, style and technology

Faithful interpretation of ECO-ICON design concept

Incredibly low drag coefficient of Cd 0.25

Improved front and rear visibility, with higher roofline for improved rear passenger headroom

Compact, ‘Outside Minimum, Inside Maximum’ packaging concept

Ergonomic cockpit, with “display” and “command” zones

New front seats for increased comfort

Extensive storage, increased boot space

Already established as an automotive Eco icon, the new Prius’ status as the world’s most advanced expression of mass-mobility has been further reinforced through a development process focusing on an improved aerodynamic performance, increased environmental consciousness, innovative, entirely human-centric technologies and a higher quality, more refined image.

The adoption of these design principles has resulted in a dramatic evolution of the Prius. Whilst maintaining a focus on overwhelming environmental performance and fuel efficiency, the third generation of Toyota’s remarkable full hybrid will attract new customers who place a greater emphasis on performance, practicality, driving pleasure and style.

Aerodynamic exterior design

In order to fully benefit from the new Prius’ light-weight, high tensile steel and aluminium construction and Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain, the distinctive exterior design focuses on maximising aerodynamic efficiency to further improve handling stability, quietness and fuel economy.

The result is the world’s most aerodynamic hatchback, the Prius’ already excellent coefficient of drag improving from Cd 0.26 to Cd 0.25. A combination of low resistance tyres and improved aerodynamic efficiency has contributed to the 14% reduction in CO2 emissions achieved by the new Prius.

The design of the Prius’ front is fundamental to the car’s overall aerodynamic efficiency. The upper grille opening has been minimised to help the air flow smoothly over the upper half of the body. In contrast, the size of the lower grille has been enlarged to reduce airflow resistance as well as improve engine cooling efficiency.

Further dynamism has been added to the overall design through the moving forward of the A pillar to increase the rake of the windscreen. The resultant increase in size of the front quarter light improves visibility, whilst the extended rear roofline also improves rear visibility.

To the rear, framed by new, larger, energy efficient LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamp clusters, the iconic Prius glazing and integrate spoiler configuration has been maintained, with extensive detailing revisions to improve aerodynamic performance. Once again, a vertical surface to the bumper corner corrects airflow and helps reduce rear wheel arch turbulence.

Allied to the aerodynamic profiling of the front and rear spoilers and side rocker mouldings, the comprehensive use of underbody covers to the engine, front suspension member, cabin floor, fuel tank and loadspace floor contributes significantly to the outstanding aerodynamic efficiency of the new Prius.

Hybrid blue Toyota badging and headlamp accents identify the presence of Hybrid Synergy Drive® within the Prius, and three new hybrid-specific exterior colours have been introduced, White Pearl, Abyss Grey and Dark Blue, bringing the total number available to seven.

Both the 15” and 17” wheel options have been specifically designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, featuring integrated, aerodynamic caps and low roll-resistance tyres.

Compact packaging, roomier interior

Under the design maxim ‘Outside Minimum, Inside Maximum’, significant improvements have been made to the Prius’ proportions and packaging.

Overall length has been increased by 15 mm to 4,460 mm, all of which is accounted for by the lengthening of the front overhang. The wheelbase length remains the same. Width has been increased by 20 mm to 1,745 mm, helping to give the car better stability and a more robust, dynamic stance. The highest point of the roof has been moved backwards 100 mm, helping to improve rear passenger headroom by 15 mm.

On board, the new dashboard design increases cabin length by 10 mm. A 30 mm reduction in front seat back structure has improved rear seat knee-room by 20 mm, Luggage capacity has been increased by 30 litres to 445 litres with the rear seats in position, and to a total of 1120 litres with the seats folded down to give a flat loadspace floor.

Innovative interior design

The dominant feature of the third generation Prius’ all-new, high quality interior is a dual-zone dashboard designed to both minimise the need for driver eye movement while viewing vehicle information and provide ergonomically superb functionality of all controls and switchgear.

The upper, ‘display zone’ focuses on the combination of a new head-up display and a rebated centre meter cluster positioned at an ideal distance for at-a-glance reading of vehicle status information. As well as vehicle speed and other conventional instrumentation, the LED meter also incorporates an ECO Drive Monitor.

The lower ‘command zone’ is characterised by a distinctive, asymmetric ‘bridge’ construction which not only places the Shift-by-Wire transmission lever within the closest possible reach of the driver’s hand but also creates a generous additional storage compartment below. This lower zone focuses on the full-colour multi-information display screen, placing the control of air-conditioning, audio and satellite navigation systems within easy reach of the driver.

The steering wheel is of a new design with a lower perimeter cut off and raised by 10 mm to maximise driver knee space.

Complementing a choice of Mist grey or Aqua interior colour schemes, the upper instrument panel surface grain and seat upholstery centre sections are finished in a new leaf vein pattern exclusive to the Prius, reflecting its unique environmental credentials.

A new front seat design offers improved comfort and adjustability. The seat adjustment range has been improved in every dimension; base sliding distance has been increased by 20 mm to 260 mm and, via a side lever redesigned for easier operation, height adjustment has been increased by 15 mm to 60 mm. Despite boasting more efficient lumbar support, the seat back structure had been reduced in thickness by 35 mm to increase rear passenger knee room, and the front seats now feature active headrests for improved rear collision protection.

There is extensive storage throughout the new interior, including upper and lower glove boxes with 3 and 6 litres capacities respectively, a console tray located under the dashboard ‘bridge’ and a centre arm rest box with a 3.7 litres capacity, containing a 12 V power source and an audio input mini-jack socket.

High technology innovations

World-first Solar Powered Ventilation System and Remote Air Conditioning system

Head-Up display for line-of-sight vehicle information

Touch tracer display

Extensive use of Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology

Already a benchmark in automotive powertrain development, the third generation Prius also introduces numerous innovative technologies.

Solar powered ventilation system

A new, Solar Powered Ventilation System reinforces the Prius’ outstanding environmental credentials by using solar energy to prevent the interior air temperature from rising whilst the Toyota hybrid is parked.

Integral to an optional, sliding, glass sunroof, carefully matched solar panels located at the rear of the glazing, power the air conditioning system’s electrically operated air circulation fan without the need for the engine to run.

The system can lower cabin temperature from 80°C to 45°C. This significantly reduces the cool-down time required when the driver returns to the Prius, minimizing the use of air conditioning during vehicle start-up.

Remote air conditioning

A world first and integral to the Solar Powered Ventilation system, the Remote Air Conditioning system uses the Prius’ large capacity hybrid battery to run for a maximum of three minutes before vehicle occupancy.

Unavailable to vehicles equipped with just a conventional, 12 V battery, the system is activated by pressing the A/C button on the remote key fob for one second, further lowering cabin temperature for maximum passenger comfort at the start of a journey.

Head-Up Display

A new Head-Up Display will be fitted, as standard, across the Prius range. The Head-Up Display projects key vehicle information onto the base of the windscreen enabling the driver to read it without taking his or her eyes off the road. Prius versions equipped with satellite navigation also benefit from the Head-Up Display showing turn-by-turn and distance-to-exit information.

Operated by a switch located at the side of the centre console, the display can be adjusted for height to match the driver’s seat position. The brightness of the display is automatically adjusted according to ambient light levels, but may also be manually adjusted for brightness, or switched off altogether.

Touch Tracer Display

A new, steering wheel-mounted, touch sensitive Touch Tracer Display allows the driver to control various on-board systems without the need to look down, or remove his or her hands from the wheel. The switch may be used to select and control the audio system, the air-conditioning and the ECO Drive Monitor.

LED technology

New, seamlessly integrated Light Emitting Diode (LED) headlamps clusters feature a double projector and diffusion lights, reducing electricity consumption by up to 30% whilst maintaining over 90% efficiency throughout the car’s lifespan (far longer than conventional halogen). LED’s are also used for the rear lamps.

Advanced equipment levels

Strong standard spec equipment level on entry grade Prius

Optional Prius packs including Luxury and Navigation Packs

In addition the Leather and Solar Premium Packs offer further comfort and technological features

The entry level third generation Prius displays increased specification levels for the entry grade. Further to this optional Prius

Packs and Prius Premium Packs may be selected.


The entry grade Prius features high specification safety equipment as standard including actives front headrests, 7 SRS airbags, VSC+, TRC, EBD, CA and ABS. For comfort and driving pleasure Smart Entry & Start System (driver only) as well as Automatic air-conditioning comes as standard. LED rear combination lamps, halogen headlamps with multi reflectors and front fog lamps, and 15″ alloys with aerodynamic wheel caps completes the exterior spec for the entry level Prius.

Luxury Pack

Luxury packs adds elevated comfort and design that includes leather steering wheel and 17″ alloys to enhance the pleasure of your drive. Cruise control and the Prius Luxury seat trim are also included on this grade.

Navigation Pack

In addition to the Luxury Pack the Navigation Pack incorporates an integrated touch screen navigation system, voice recognition rear-view monitor/camera and IPA Intelligent Parking Assist, aswell as an enhanced audio system with 8 speakers and Bluetooth®. The navigation pack also includes rain sensor wipers and a full Smart Entry & Start System.

Leather Pack

Leather seat trim and front seat heaters forms the basis of this premium pack. Also included in the grade are electrochromatic rear-window, dusk sensors, LEC headlamps with auto levelling and water-repellent glass on the driver and front passenger windows.

Solar Pack

Completing the Premium Pack offerings the top specification Solar Pack features the world-first Solar Powered Ventilation System and Remote Air Conditioning system. The Solar Pack also includes the pre-crash safety system and adaptive cruise control.

4. Low cost of ownership

Lowest CO2 taxation and fuel costs

Lower servicing costs with outstanding component longevity

Proven Toyota quality with competitive insurance costs and high residual values

The only car to offer the benefits of full, series/parallel hybrid drive technology, the new Prius represents outstanding value for money.

Low CO2 taxation and fuel costs

The new Prius fulfils Euro 5 emissions standards, and is expected to meet those of Euro 6. Producing best-in-market petrol CO2 emissions of just 89 g/km – a figure unmatched by any other family car – the Toyota full hybrid offers customers significant tax incentives including Road Tax of only €104 and a €2,500 VRT rebate included in the price.

Next generation Prius customers also benefit from a 9% improvement in overall fuel economy. Toyota’s full hybrid is the only family car to combine the fuel consumption levels of a small city car with a cruising range of almost 1150 km – an increase of 150 km over the current model, despite identical fuel tank capacities.

Lower servicing costs with outstanding component longevity

The Prius’ 15,000 km service interval maximises component lifetime efficiency, while the next generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® system has been specifically designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability.

The full hybrid powertrain has no need of a conventional starter motor or alternator. The engine is equipped with a maintenance-free timing chain – an element oil filter and miniaturised spark plugs – and, a world first, has no drive belts whatsoever, delivering excellent reliability and cost savins to the customer.

Due to the efficiency of the Prius’ Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) regeneration system, the brake pads have a life expectancy of over 100,000 km. Of 130,000 first and second generation Prius models sold in Europe, only 8.7% – 9,400 – have required new brake pads.

With a proven reliability record garnered over some 60 billion kilometres of driving worldwide, the high quality Prius battery is designed to last the entire life of the car. Rigorously assessed for performance and durability, it is covered by a five year, 100,000 km warranty.

Exhaust system life expectancy is over five years due to a high stainless steel content and less engine run time compared to a standard vehicle. The luxury pack ‘lifetime’ LED headlamp bulbs have a 20 year lifespan.

Current generation Prius warranty history reinforces the hybrid’s outstanding reliability, showing the lowest warranty cost per unit amongst all Toyota models. Over three years, Prius warranty cost per unit throughout Europe is only 36% of that of the Corolla/Avensis, of which just 1.3% relates to hybrid componentry.

The new Prius benefits from a three year/100,000 km warranty, extended to five years/100,000 km on hybrid system components.

Proven Toyota quality

Proven Toyota quality and continued customer approval is exemplified through the Prius’ top ‘Lowest Problems’ ranking in JD Power’s German, French and UK customer satisfaction surveys for the last two years.

The Prius bodyshell has been designed to resist corrosion throughout the life of the vehicle. The use of galvanized steel sheets on most of the body components enhances anti-corrosion characteristics. And an underbody undercoating further prevents corrosion damage as a result of paint chipping.

The next generation Prius also benefits from Toyota’s already excellent record of low repair costs. Many components have been developed specifically to reduce impact repair costs, and the body structure itself has also been designed to reduce repair costs when a minor collision occurs.

5. Overall environmental performance

Life Cycle Assessment highlights whole-life CO2 emission improvements – from design, production and driving, through to recycling

95% of the new Prius is recoverable, and some 85% recyclable

CO2 emissions of Prius are 37% less than comparable petrol and diesel vehicles

Environmentally friendly production at the Tsutsumi plant

World’s first Ecological Plastic, derived from plants for reduced product cycle CO2

Comprehensive battery recycling process

Committed to minimise the environmental impact of the new Prius, Toyota has applied Life Cycle Thinking and Life Cycle Assessment to every stage of the third generation hybrid’s development.

The two processes take into account all resources consumed and the environmental/health impacts associated with the whole-life cycle of a product – from design, through production to driving and final recycling- in order to identify environmental benefits and potential areas for improvement.

Life Cycle Assessment for whole-life CO2 emission improvements

In order to minimise the environmental impact of the new Prius, Toyota has applied Life Cycle Thinking and Life Cycle Assessment to every stage of the third generation hybrid’s development.

Life Cycle Thinking is a process which takes into account all resources consumed and the environmental/health issues associated with the whole-life cycle of a product, from design, through production to driving and final recycling.

Life Cycle Assessment is the methodology used to support Life Cycle Thinking; firstly by quantifying the data, and secondly by assessing the environmental/health impacts of a product through its whole-life cycle, in order to identify environmental benefits and potential areas for improvement.

At the design stage, every detail was analysed to ensure the lowest possible environmental impact throughout the new Prius’ lifespan. This meticulous approach to design has led to an array of innovative features that each contribute to environmental efficiency.

The Toyota Recycling Vision establishes long-term goals for recycling end-of-life vehicles. In response to an EU directive that, by 2015, 95% of a vehicle should be re-used or recovered, 95% of the new Prius is recoverable, and some 85% recyclable. In addition, an innovative, near-zero emission recycling process ensures that 95% of the Prius’ high voltage battery components are successfully recovered for re-use.

Environmentally friendly production at the Tsutsumi plant

The new Prius is built at Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant, an ongoing Eco factory which received the green standard, Environmental Management System ISO 14001 in 1996. Between 2003 and 2007, the plant has effected a 21% reduction in waste, a 48% reduction in the use of volatile organic compounds, a 14% reduction in water usage and a 36% reduction in CO2 emissions. In a joint venture with Panasonic, the hybrid battery is also produced in a factory operating according to the Environmental Management System ISO 14001.

Often heated and cooled using solar power, surrounded by native trees and committed to ‘zero land-fill’ operations, Toyota manufacturing plants are some of the most environmentally advanced in the world.

Comprehensive, ongoing environmental initiatives have already seen whole plant CO2 emissions reduced by 51% (and 65% by vehicle unit) between 1990 and 2006. This 138,000 tons reduction equates to the annual CO2 emissions of some 15,000 households.

To date, CO2 reduction measures have included the installation of a gas-engine type co-generation system, the installation of a smaller plant boiler, a change to energy saving lighting, energy saving patrols and the significant power savings during plant non-operation.

New initiatives include the utilisation of renewable energy through the widespread installation of solar panels for the generation of 2,000 kW, 50% of the plant’s electrical power requirements. An energy control system has been implemented for the further reduction of electricity use during non-operation, and the widespread introduction of ‘sunlight ducts’ provides natural lighting even in windowless buildings.

Land-fill waste has already been completely eradicated at the Tsutsumi plant, and incinerated waste has reduced by 82% between 1999 and 2006, from 5,423 tons to just 730 tons, with the future goal of total elimination.

Comprehensive water recycling systems have lead to a 50% reduction in plant water discharge to the local river system. The discharged water is already 5 times cleaner than the river itself.

Other initiatives include the application of 22,000 m2 of photocatalytic paint to the assembly plant building, which will have the same environmental effect as the planting of about 2,000 poplar trees. The plant has also benefited from a comprehensive tree planting scheme carried out by employees and members of the local community. 5,000 people recently planted some 50,000 trees throughout the factory site.

World’s first Ecological Plastic, derived from plants for reduced product cycle CO2

Toyota engineers have developed the world’s first injection-moulded material to be derived from plants. Toyota plans to increase the usage of plant-derived carbon neutral plastic -known as Ecological Plastic – in future vehicles; a process already begun with the next generation Prius.

There are two types of Ecological Plastic; those produced completely from plant-derived materials, and those produced from a combination of plant and petroleum-derived materials. Because plants constitute a percentage of both types, Ecological Plastic emits about 20% less CO2 during a product’s lifecycle, because most of the CO2 emitted at disposal was originally captured during photosynthesis while the plant was growing.

Plant-based foam and injection-moulded parts are found in numerous locations throughout the new Prius, including the scuff plates, deck trim and seat cushions.

Comprehensive Battery Recycling Process

An innovative, near-zero emission recycling process ensures that 95% of the Prius’ high voltage battery components are successfully recovered for re-use.

All high voltage batteries are removed from the vehicle by an authorised Prius service centre. A waste management company has been appointed by Toyota in each country where Prius is sold, to transport the batteries to one of three European Final Treatment Companies (FTCs); SNAP, Accurec and Umicore.