Spacious, solidly built and well equipped, the Prius’s cabin does the car plenty of credit. For the first-time driver getting acquainted, it was always one of the first clues that you were about to drive something much more relaxing and advanced than an ordinary economy car.
And in the new-generation version, that sense of cocooning simplicity, calmness and technological sophistication has increased by quite a large increment.
They’ll be familiar with the car’s unconventional instrumentation: nothing directly ahead but a small head-up display, with a digital speedo and a much improved multi-function trip computer housed in a wide binnacle spanning the centre of the dashboard.
Instead of a rev counter, one of the trip computer screens provides a power usage meter, which may seem like a gimmick but is actually useful enough to help you gauge how much electric oomph is available at urban speeds – and thereby boost your economy return.
So the layout and interface logic are broadly unchanged. Fascia volumes have decreased, though, and, together with a lower scuttle, contribute to a pleasantly airy and spacious ambience in the front of the car.
Toyota doesn’t skimp on its equipment in this department, with buyers given the choice of four trims to choose from - Active, Business Edition, Business Edition Plus and Excel. Entry-level models get 15in alloy wheels, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, road sign recognition and heated and folding door mirrors as standard on the outside, while inside there is Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment system with a reversing camera and a 7.0in touchscreen display.
Upgrade to the fleet-friendly Business Edition trim and the Prius gains heated front seats, a wireless phone charging cradle, a head-up display and blind spot monitoring to an already generous package, while opting for the Edition Plus adds 17in alloy wheels, parking sensors and a self-parking assistance.
Topping the standard Prius trim levels is Excel which adorns the hybrid with luxuries such as automatic wipers, a JBL premium sound system, sat nav, wi-fi connectivity, and front foglights.