Toyota says the broader appeal of this new Prius is based on three main aspects: design and styling, the new global platform (TNGA) and the next generation of its familiar hybrid system. We’ll take each in turn.
The car’s appearance is said to benefit from an unusually young design team, and a concerted effort to “inject ego” into what remains a largely familiar silhouette. The effect may bring to mind the Toyota Mirai for those acquainted with Toyota’s much trumpeted fuel cell vehicle.
Either way, the slanted waistline and jagged front end make it more striking than its predecessor – but no easier on the eye.
It is the platform that delivers arguably the most telling change: not only has the Prius’s overall height descended by around 20mm, but the driver’s hip point has also sunk by a full 59mm, making the car seem lower-slung in every sense.
It is longer and slightly wider, too, although it’s the resulting drop in the centre of gravity that Toyota identifies as a boon to the model’s handling – that and a 60 percent gain in torsional rigidity provided by a more extensive use of high-strength steel and additional body reinforcement.
The chassis has been altered, too. At the front, the MacPherson struts have been revised, while at the rear, the Prius gets a new configuration of double wishbones with trailing arms.