What is it?
This is the fourth-generation Toyota Prius, the petrol-electric car that played a huge role in kick-starting the acceptance of hybrids when it first appeared in 1997.
The new Prius is the first model to be based upon the Japanese manufacturer’s new TNGA modular architecture, said to bring advantages in terms of interior space, mechanical packaging and chassis sophistication. In turn, that should mean a car that offers a more involving driving experience than the outgoing model.
However, the emphasis is still on remarkable fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, and in that respect the new Prius has taken a significant step forward. According to Toyota’s own figures, it emits an impressively low 70g/km of CO2 and is capable of 94.1mpg.
At 4540mm, the new car is 60mm longer than the Prius Mk3. It is also 15mm wider and 20mm lower, while retaining the same wheelbase of 2700mm, and has a more slippery shape than of old.
The now more compact powertrain components in the front of the car have been positioned 10mm lower than before. Toyota claims the new platform helps to lower the centre of gravity and that, allied with a 60% increase in body rigidity and revised front and rear suspension, gives the Prius improved handling response and agility.