By Steve & Tamami Laser
The long wait is over and Toyota has revealed its all-new 2016 Prius. In the city that’s known for magic tricks, the Prius made its debut “flying” into the room from the ceiling. The creative approach segues nicely with Toyota’s “The Sky’s the Limit” theme for the premiere.
The new Prius has a revamped exterior design that Toyota says ushers in new hybrid era. It rides on a new platform with a rear double-wishbone suspension that should help improve handling. Toyota is quoting a “ten-percent fuel economy improvement on core models, the highest MPG without a plug.” And it’s also the first vehicle based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA).
The new Prius has 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).” A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model is said to achieve an even greater improvement.
The Prius’ exterior has been completely reimagined. From the side, it’s longer and sleeker. 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.
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 more focused on-road presence while also delivering more occupant and cargo room.
Hallmarks of TNGA, a lower center of gravity and a more responsive suspension package, are designed to dial-up the driving excitement. In fact, Toyota says the height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of the Scion’s FR-S (also called Toyota 86).
The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides a more interesting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique taillights express the lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides.
The Prius’ new interior adopts advanced technology with features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-fitting seats, controls and improved visibility are designed to put the driver in control.
A sense of quality and space is created through the wide instrument panel with its layered construction that clearly defines the “display zone,” separating it from the “control zone.”
Once inside, the wide instrument panel gives a sense of comfort and increased spaciousness. Available premium white ornamentation in the lower sections of the cabin is “reminiscent of fine bone china.”
The 2016 Prius is the first global vehicle to implement Toyota’s New Global Architecture that aims to improve vehicle performance and enhance product appeal through an integrated development program for powertrain components and vehicle platforms. Toyota says development of vehicles is being grouped to promote strategic sharing of components with the goal of improving resource efficiency by better than twenty percent.
The all-new rear double-wishbone suspension produces a better connection to the road, to provide greater control and feedback. A more rigid body helps improve responsiveness while cornering.
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 with automated pre-collision braking. TSS also includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.
Available on the new Prius, Toyota aims to make Toyota Safety Sense available across nearly the entire vehicle lineup in the U.S. by the end of 2017.
For the U.S, the new Prius is scheduled to arrive in Toyota dealerships early next year.
Toyota Motor Corp. says the Prius will go on sale in Japan at the end of 2015, and is scheduled for successive launches around the world.
News sources and photos from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor Corporation, and Toyota UK
Story (commentary) © 2015 CarNichiWa.com