The 2016 Toyota Prius has launched in Australia with a starting price of $34,990 for the new and better equipped standard model, while the top-spec i-Tech model comes in at $43,990.
Prices for the new Prius indicate a $2500 increase over the outgoing third-generation model (and a $1000 reduction on the i-Tech), which, along with the two generations before it, has found over three million sales worldwide, of which around 20,000 are in Australia.
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius retains the same 1.8-litre petrol engine, albeit with substantial re-engineering, as well as still sticking with a Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery instead of the lithium-ion system found in the current Toyota Prius V.
Even so, the new battery carries the same level of energy as before but is now 10 per cent smaller and is capable of absorbing 28 per cent more energy in the same amount of time as the previous car, allowing for faster charging while on the go.
It also now sits behind the rear seats, allowing for better luggage space (457 litres in standard spec, 501L in iTech, which sees the space saver replaced with a tyre repair kit).
The petrol engine and hybrid system allow the 1375kg (1400kg for top-spec) Toyota Prius to achieve a fuel economy rating of 3.4L/100km (80g CO2/km) for the combined fuel economy cycle – down from 3.9L. With a revised 43L fuel tank, it gives the new Toyota Prius an impressive 1265km driving range on a single tank of fuel.
The petrol engine, which Toyota claims has the best thermal efficiency (energy conservation with limited loss from heat) for any petrol engine in the world at 40 per cent, produces 72kW of power and 142Nm of torque.
Add the electric motor at 53kW and 163Nm of torque and the new Prius is almost on par with the previous generation in terms of power output.
Nonetheless, Toyota claims that with a combined power output of 90kW and revised software and hardware changes to the Prius’ hybrid drivetrain, it now has far smoother power delivery than its predecessor. It can now also drive on full electric power at speeds of up to 105km/h.
The new Prius measures 4540mm in length (60mm greater than before) and 1760mm (+15mm) in width. It sits 1490mm high.
On the inside, the front seats are now positioned 55mm lower, while the rear has sunk a further 23mm to allow for more headroom (front +25.5mm, rear +3mm).
The base model rides on 15-inch alloy wheels while the top-spec gets 17s. Both models feature front MacPherson struts and double wishbone rear suspension.
Other changes for the new car include a lower centre of gravity (-24mm), improved torsional rigidity (+60%) and the use of laser screw welding.
Standard features on the base model Toyota Prius, which were previously only available on the iTech, include:
Other new features include a colour head-up display, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, Qi wireless phone charger (available for phones that support inductive charging) and moving guidelines on reversing camera image.
The iTech gains blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, leather-accented coverings and digital radio.
2016 Toyota Prius Specifications