Efficiency gains of 18% promises for fourth generation of hybrid; longer than old model, with a larger boot; pricing starts at £23,295
6 November 2015

The Toyota Prius will cost from £23,295, and is available to order now.

The fourth generation of Toyota’s hybrid will be available in four trims in the UK, and deliveries will start from March 2016.

The range has been revamped to appeal to company car drivers, and comprises Active, Business Edition, Business Edition Plus and Excel trims.

All models come with LED headlights with automatic high beam adjustment, electric powered drivers seat, keyless entry and start, dual-zone air conditioning and the latest version of the Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen entertainment system with DAB digital radio. The entry level trims is Active, which comes with 15in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

Step up to Business Edition and you get soft-touch cabin trim, a wireless phone charger, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Business Plus adds 17in alloy wheels, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors and a park assist system.

The range topping Excel edition adds leather seats, a premium JBL sound system auto wipers and more connectivity features on the infotainment system.

The new Prius will bring gains in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of around 18%, the Japanese firm has confirmed.

Toyota is adopting styling cues from the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle for the latest generation of its hybrid, which made its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show. Now the company has released more technical details in the build-up to the car's debut in its home market, where Toyota hybrids regularly fill two of the top three positions on the sales charts.

The powertrain is an updated version of the existing combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, featuring a more compact nickel-metal hydride battery pack that's quicker to charge. The combustion engine produces of 97bhp and 105lb ft, while the electric motor brings 71bhp. Toyota also says it has revised the Prius's regenerative braking system, introducing a new active hydraulic booster that's designed to be quieter and give a more natural feel to the brake pedal.

Toyota hasn’t issued any definitive CO2 emissions or fuel economy figures - it says EU NEDC numbers will be released at a later date - but it has revealed that this Prius will bring efficiency gains of 18% over its predecessor. That's the biggest jump between generations in Prius history, and could give the car CO2 emissions and combined fuel economy of 73g/km and 85mpg.

The new Prius is 4540mm long - an increase of 60mm over the outgoing model - and has the same wheelbase of 2700mm. The more compact powertrain has allowed the auxiliary batteries to be moved to the engine bay and the hybrid batteries to be relocated to below the rear seats. These measures and the slightly longer rear overhang give the new Prius improved boot capacity, up from 445 litres to 502 litres.

The construction of the fourth generation of the Prius marks a significant step for Toyota. It is the first model to be developed on the firm’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, a modular set of components designed to offer quicker development of new models as well as cost savings and improved margins across the product line-up.

The new platform brings a more sophisticated chassis than that of the outgoing Prius. Double wishbone rear suspension replaces the current torsion beam layout, accompanying a revised MacPherson set-up at the front. Toyota says the new platform helps to lower the centre of gravity and that this will give the Prius “improved handling response and agility”. It also brings gains in rigidity; the new Prius brings an increase of more than 60% in body rigidity, Toyota claims.

The TNGA will play a key part in Toyota’s future product plans. The firm has previously stated that up to 50% of its global product line-up will eventually switch to the new architecture and that it will offer gains in body rigidity of between 30% and 65%.

The front of the Prius gets more dramatic headlights and complex surfacing on the bumper, while the side profile is helped by a blacked-out C-pillar that’s designed to create a ‘floating roof’. The rear has clear cues from the Mirai, including the deep crease above the back wheels, tall tail-lights and a spoiler integrated into the hatchback glass.

The cabin gets a dual 4.2-inch digital instrument panel, a colour head-up display and a redesigned air-conditioning system that knows which seats are occupied and adjusts its airflow accordingly for maximum efficiency.

Comment - Why the new Prius matters

Toyota may make great claims about the high percentage of Auris hybrids in the overall sales mix and the enthusiastic response to the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, but the Prius is likely to remain the flag-bearer for the company’s hybrid powertrains for some time to come.

So successful has the model been that for many people, Prius is hybrid.

Don’t expect a revolution in the powertrain technology that underpins the new car — although even modest gains should be enough for the Prius to trump the NEDC efficiency test and get under the magic 80g/km CO2 mark.

The chassis is the most interesting bit. Everything from Avensis to Auris and lots in between will use the TNGA platform in the years ahead, so the Prius will give us our first look at how Toyota’s vision of a global platform compares with the VW Group’s complex (and expensive) MQB.

Read more:

Read more Frankfurt motor show news

Toyota reveals new next-generation vehicle architecture

Read our drive of the new Toyota Prius

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Fourth-generation Toyota Prius

The reborn Toyota Prius may be the world’s most popular hybrid, but it faces stiffening competition from Hyundai, Volkswagen and Audi

Join the debate

Comments
26

13 August 2015
I test drove a current Auris hyrbid and was quite impressed, however, whilst I have no objection to a CVT, they need to insulate the engine noise better and add some weight to the steering which is light enough to be steered using bread sticks.

13 August 2015
Good news if it is not growing in external size as do most next models these days. Is that fully independent rear suspension I spy by any chance? Unless there are some tricks under that camouflage, the rearwards visibility for the driver could be of Honda Civic rivalling proportions? Re the CVT, wouldn't it be nice if there was a driver-selectable setting to limit max revs to around the peak torque figure, which could (I am supposing) help for more serene progress.

9 September 2015
having recently driven an Auris diesel agree steering is very light. However, I did 500 miles in 2 days and never driven a more comfortable car - seat and driving position were absolutely spot on for me. Managed to average 55 MPG too. Quite impressed despite not expecting to be.
Anyway back on topic, my experience of the Toyota hybrid system - in a Lexus CT - was also very positive - yes the engine revs are odd with the CVT when you put your foot down, but I got used to it in a couple days. Maybe it is better insulated in a Lexus than a Toyota? Quite like this new Prius too.

13 August 2015
Why are Toyota *still* using nickel-metal hydride batteries? Virtually everyone else is using lithium-ion now; it was weird enough that Toyota stuck with the old tech in 2009 (and the Li-on battery offered in more expensive specs is tiny). The Prius has gone from being a pioneering trendsetter to a living fossil.

That stagnation means it doesn't make the sense that it used to - 50-odd real-world mpg with 0-62mph in over 10 seconds is now well behind what diesel engines can do, and not too far from what's possible with turbocharged petrol. To make things worse, it's gotten increasingly expensive, rivals now offer equivalent or better cabin tech, and it's still full of cheap plastic. That 10% economy improvement will need to be the least of the changes to make the Prius the leading choice again.

26 August 2015
Vertigo wrote:

Why are Toyota *still* using nickel-metal hydride batteries? Virtually everyone else is using lithium-ion now; it was weird enough that Toyota stuck with the old tech in 2009 (and the Li-on battery offered in more expensive specs is tiny). The Prius has gone from being a pioneering trendsetter to a living fossil.

One word - reliability. Li-Ion batteries are more power dense than NiMH but they can be more prone to failure when cycled than NiMH. If the battery does what it needs to do then why "upgrade" to a less reliable component? The NiMH are also cheaper...

And the Li-Ion battery will be tiny as it is a Hybrid - not a PHEV. Hybrids do run 'tiny' batteries as this is all they need.

13 August 2015
"Hey, that's a really cool Prius you have there!"
-No one. Ever.


13 August 2015
Let us hope that Toyota's TNGA platform succeeds where Volkswagen's MQB platform failed in the essential area of passing on the cost cut benefit to the buyer.

13 August 2015
By the way is it correct to describe Prius as an AFV? I know Toyota started this revolution that every car maker today the world over is following with a larger battery add-on but does the Prius really count as an AFV?

13 August 2015
Toyota's designers have made improvements to the current awful styling.
It is slightly better looking...

Where has all Japanese design went to?

13 August 2015
I ran a Mk2 Prius between 2006 and 2010, it got a *lot* of compliments and attention, particularly in the first couple of years when nobody had seen a car running silently. I (and a lot of other people I encountered) thought it was pretty good looking in certain colours too, but I think they've given the Prius a thorough whacking with the ugly stick for the Mk3 model.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK