2012 Toyota Prius released

The new 2012 Toyota Prius has been launched in Australia with an updated look, new features and a cheaper $33,990 starting price.
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Now $1000 cheaper than before, the new entry-level Prius comes with a 6.1-inch EGA colour display screen with reversing camera, eight-speaker JBL GreenEdge sound system, heated power retractable door mirrors, and newly designed 15-inch alloy wheels.

The top-spec Prius i-Tech now sits on 17-inch alloys as standard and includes a solar moonroof, eight-way power driver's seat, seven-inch VGA colour display screen with hard-disk drive satellite navigation, digital radio and leather-accented interior trim. The i-Tech maintains its $45,990 starting price.

The cabin of the new Prius has received a freshen-up with new front seats, restyled upholstery and new soft-touch materials for a higher-quality feel. A redesigned centre console with silver highlights, which also appear on the air vents, is joined by the hybrid system start button, which is now blue.

Toyota says it has increased comfort by reducing noise and vibration levels with the use of softer suspension tuning and additional sound-proofing. The car’s stiffer body, along with changes to the steering column, are also said to have improved steering feel.

In addition to the upgrades and added features, the 2012 Prius now sports the new Toyota hybrid family face, new bumpers, a larger, trapezoidal lower grille, LED daytime running lights in the bumper and fog lights in the lower grille. All up the new car is 20mm longer than the previous generation and is available in two new colours.

A new trick for the Prius is a monthly fuel consumption Eco savings calculator that keeps a record of five months' data. The system calculates your monthly saving compared with an expected fuel cost based on data inputted by the driver; a target fuel consumption figure and fuel price; and records the driving time below that target consumption figure.

Unchanged is the 100kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder hybrid system, as are the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, at 3.9 litres per 100km and 89 grams per kilometre respectively.

The next few months are a busy time for Toyota as the Prius range grows in Australia with the release of the compact Prius C city car (CarAdvice is at the local launch today) and the upcoming Prius V - the world's first seven-seat full hybrid.