When Toyota showed off the hydrogen-powered Mirai, it said that the design was meant to evoke, "the flowing shape of a droplet of water to express the vehicle's characteristic of drawing in air and emitting water." Toyota says the new Prius is a "sibling" to the Mirai, and the design claim is that the car was "Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks," and that, "the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion." Whatever the inspiration, the two vehicles look similar.
The new Prius is a bit bigger than the outgoing, third-gen version: 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower, to be exact. This is the global vehicle built on Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota claims the new platform gives the Prius a lower center of gravity which, when combined with the new, responsive suspension package, will, "dial up the driving excitement."
Inside we see the same center-mounted dash layout from previous Priuses. The glossy white plastic surrounding the gear selector is a bit reminiscent of the first-gen Chevy Volt, too. Overall, we like the clean, uncluttered layout. The exterior will come in seven colors, including the new Hypersonic Red.
Unfortunately, Toyota isn't giving us specifics of the powertrain or fuel economy of the new Prius. Fortunately, the company is making the previously rumored 10-percent miles per gallon improvement over the third-gen model official. Since the current Prius gets 51 mpg city, 48 highway and 50 combined, we can look forward to something like 56/53/55 city/highway/combined fuel economy for the new Prius. Even more exciting for hypermilers, an available Eco trim "will achieve an even greater improvement." Anyone want to bet if the Eco Prius will hit 60 mpg in the city?
We'll have more information about the new Prius soon, following its Las Vegas reveal.
UPDATE: We've added live photos from the event.
- Striking exterior design ushers in new hybrid era
- New platform and rear double wishbone suspension dial up driving dynamics
- Ten percent fuel economy improvement on core models; highest MPG without a plug
- First vehicle based on Toyota's New Global Architecture
- Toyota Safety Sense system available among other safety enhancements
LAS VEGAS, Sept. 8, 2015 - - The same vehicle that pioneered the hybrid category just disrupted the status quo again. The all-new, fourth-generation Prius starred in a spectacular evening production of music, food and special effects to celebrate an industry icon in a way that was anything but expected.
More than 350 journalists, social influencers and Toyota guests watched the all-new 2016 Prius elevate into the Las Vegas night sky. After almost twenty years of shaping the world view on alternative energy vehicles, and more than 3.5 million global sales, Prius is setting out to change the world again.
Today's consumers expect environmental credentials, and the new Prius delivers. Smaller, lighter hybrid system components, higher-energy density in the batteries, and an internal combustion engine touting ground-breaking thermal efficiency (more than forty percent), contribute to a significant advancement in fuel economy. With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug. A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota's leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency.
But it's not just about MPG anymore. Today's customers want all the traditional benefits of a hybrid, but don't want to compromise on looks and performance. So Toyota upgraded the Prius inside and out to deliver the complete package - emotional styling, smarter technology and impressive MPG, in a vehicle that's more fun to drive than ever.
"Prius set the global benchmark for hybrids, but now is breaking its own boundaries with more engaging style and fun-to-drive dynamics," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "What was once a rational purchase that for many customers focused on fuel economy, is now so much more. This Prius will invite new drivers into the category by delivering an impressive look and feel, built on the foundation of safety and eco- consciousness that define the vehicle's heritage."
Easy on the Eyes
The Prius' exterior has been completely reimagined. From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape. Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion.
The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered.
The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius' front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle's character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides.
A palette of seven exterior colors includes an all-new Toyota hue, "Hypersonic Red." This new color utilizes a newly developed treatment process, which results in a deep and vibrant luster highlighting the external forms.
Need a Hug?
The Prius' new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control.
Once inside, drivers will feel immediately comfortable and impressed by styling cues that are unique in the industry. The wide instrument panel, seamlessly designed to be both functional and beautiful, gives a sense of comfort and spaciousness. Available premium white ornamentation in the lower sections of the cabin is reminiscent of fine bone china.
Efficient Development from the Start
The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA). TNGA aims to greatly improve core vehicle performance and enhance product appeal through an integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. Development of vehicles is being grouped to promote strategic sharing of components with the goal of improving resource efficiency by better than twenty percent. Resources will be directed into developing advanced technologies, and most importantly even further strengthening product appeal.
A Fun-to-Drive Hybrid? A "Wish" Come True
Engineered from the ground up, the new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room.
Hallmarks of TNGA, a lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension package, dial up the driving excitement. In fact, the height of the Prius' front badge is exactly the same as that of Scion's FR-S sports car – a remarkable achievement in height and mass reduction.
The all-new rear double wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions. A more rigid body helps improve responsiveness while cornering. From winding mountain roads to the wide boulevards downtown, the new Prius stays connected to the road, without sacrificing ride quality and occupant comfort.
TNGA also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking. TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Automatic High Beams
Setting the Stage for the Future of Mobility
It started in 1992 with a vision for the future – mobility in harmony with society. Prius, which means "to go before" changed the way we move about the world, and changed the automotive industry forever. More than two decades and over 8 million Toyota hybrid sales later, the all-new, no compromises 2016 Prius stands side by side with its sibling, the hydrogen powered Mirai, poised to change the game yet again. The new Prius will arrive in dealerships early next year.