3 December 2003

Toyota will reaffirm its faith in the environmentally friendly motorist this new year when it replaces the original hybrid electric car, the Prius, on 2 January.

It’s claimed that the new model will be even more affordable to run, good for 65.7mpg on the combined cycle, a staggering 56.5mpg in town, and expelling only 104g/km of carbon dioxide.

Under the bonnet it benefits from Toyota’s new Hybrid Synergy Drive. This features a more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine that, in tandem with a more efficient electric motor, supplies up to 295lbs ft of torque at 1200rpm, and knocks almost three seconds off the Prius’ dash to 62mph, which it should achieve in 10.9secs.

Equipment levels also look impressive, with eight airbags, electronic brake assistance, and traction and stability control programs as standard. The range-topping T Spirit will also boast a nine-speaker audio system, cruise control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity for your mobile phone, and a voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system.

With prices starting at £17,500 for the entry-level T3, and running up to £20,000 for the T Spirit, it seems a clearer conscience will continue to come at a tidy premium for UK motorists though, even when congestion charge savings and the £1000 Powershift grant are factored in.

Our Verdict

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