When we say the word Hybrid and have to pinpoint any benchmark model, only one name comes to mind “THE PRIUS,” a Latin word meaning “to go before.” Toyota Prius was the world’s first mass-marketed hybrid when it was released in Japan in December of 1997 as the first generation. Since then, it’s been the best-selling hybrid model around the globe, and it will not be wrong to declare Prius as the pioneering hybrid model. By the way, just a random piece of automotive trivia, when the first Prius prototype was made, Toyota engineers couldn’t move the car for 49 days; today, millions of Prius are running on the road.
The current generation of Prius is the 4th /XW50, and it arrived in 2014 and went through a facelift in 2020. It was time for the next 5th-generation Prius, and we have been hearing news about it on and off. A prototype camouflaged vehicle was also seen a few months ago in Japan and was reported as the upcoming Prius. However, around a week ago, Toyota Japan released some teaser images with the message“HYBRID REBORN,”and the official reveals on November 16th.
Exterior of New Toyota Prius
After week-long teaser campaigns by Toyota Global on their social media platforms, Toyota revealed the next 5th gen & an all-new Prius simultaneously for the Japanese domestic market as well as Europe, while North America will get very soon. Before we talk about the new car, I am sure you will agree that the Prius exterior has always been a very subjective topic for every generation we witnessed in the past & there has been a gazillion of memes and jokes about its styling.
Well, it seems the direction of opinion will change now somewhat in favor of Prius because the new model has attracted a lot of attention and praise for its revolutionary exterior design. However, the design parameters seem more evolutionary comparing the previous generation. If you remember the recently released16th generation of Toyota Crown, you might see some reflection in the front and rear of the nearby Prius.
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As per Toyota, Prius has kept its iconic wedge-shaped design since the second generation, although now it is much more modern, sleek, sporty, and aerodynamically efficient. Toyota kept the body lines and creases to a minimum and crafted the visible exterior structure clean and smooth for the natural flow of air and reduced turbulence.
On the front, which Toyota calls a hammerhead shark-like design, there are new slim headlights with boomerang-shaped LED DRLs. On side view, the profile is similar to previous generation, but the rooflines have been tweaked from B-pillar onwards and provide improved headspace in the rear, which slopes down from C-pillar onwards and creates coupe/Sportback-like bodywork. And how we can skip the rear door handles, which now move away from the conventional location to the quarter panel.
On the rear, there are new LED taillights with a lights bar in between, giving an elegant and wider look at night. There is a new hatch layout as a newly designed rear bumper. Prius will now get 19-inch alloys as standard, which gives a nice overall stance to the vehicle; depending upon variant, a solar roof is also offered, which helps in battery charging.
The 5th generation model has an increased wheelbase of 50mm (approx. 2 inches), but the overall length has been reduced by 46mm (1.81 inches) comparing the previous model. The new model is 22mm (0.86 inches) wider than the last model, while the overall height is reduced by 50mm (2 inches ).
Like the exterior, the interior also gets an overall new layout and looks more premium and sophisticated. Toyota calls the new interior design philosophy “island architecture,” based on three zones; “surroundings, driver module, and floating instrument panel.
“Overall, less cluttered and more driver-focused interior with high-quality materials. For the first time in Prius history, the digital 7-inch instrument panel is now in the direct field of view of the driver. Slim air vents with digital controls can be seen in the middle of the dashboard under a 12.3-inch high-resolution HD infotainment screen which obviously can fully integrate with your smartphone.
Toyota shared a partial list of features and options, but we can expect features like power-adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, a fully functional panoramic roof, leather seating, and a premium audio system & ambient lighting will be available depending upon the trim level.
The increased wheelbase will provide improved interior space, while the relocation of the battery pack under the rear seats will also increase the cargo capacity for the Plugin Hybrid version of the Prius. Overall, we can say that the new generation definitely looks way better, more premium and more attractive compared to the previous generation and that it is one the best-looking interior for any of the current Toyota model lineup.
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The primary item for Prius is its drivetrain and for 5th generation there are number of improvements and upgrades. Like previous model, there will be Series Parallel Hybrid as well as a Plugin Hybrid but with a new Hybrid system software and hardware and better fuel economy.
The standard hybrid model will be available with two different versions of gasoline engines. Like previous generation there will be a 1.8L variant and for the first time in Prius history, a more powerful 2.0L engine. As of now, the Plugin hybrid will be available only with 2.0L engine, just a reminder on previous generation this version of Prius used to be with 1.8L. Toyota didn’t share all the mechanical details and performance numbers but every version of Prius is now will be more powerful and efficient than before.
Exact numbers are not clear but the 1.8L version will now produce almost 138HP ( an increase of approx. 18HP ) while the 2.0L variant will make around 190HP. This 2L variant will also be offered with E-four AWD system which uses an electric motor on rear axle and comes into play when traction is required.
The 2.0L Plugin version will be one of the most powerful Prius ever. The 2L gasoline engine produces around 146HP which in combination with a 158HP transaxle front motor results in with total system power output of 220HP and this will help the Plugin touch 0 to 100 in 6.7 seconds. For plugin hybrid variant , Prius uses a new & compact 13.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (8.8 kWh on previous gen ) under the rear seats and Toyota mentioned that the EV range of this model is now 50% more than the previous generation . Toyota didn’t share actual figures but comparing previous generation EV range of 63km as per WLTP European standards, we can expect around 95 kilometers of EV range for the 5th generation. Plugin model can be charged using standard power out at your home.
During the press briefing of the new Prius, a slide was also displayed with hydrogen power fuel cell version and there is a possibility , we see one in future.
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Solar Cells in 5th Gen Toyota Prius
Prius is also offered with solar cells on the roof that generate enough power per year, equivalent to a driving range of 1250 kilometers, and obviously, these are predicted numbers as there can be a lot of factors impacting this efficiency. Solar cell not only help charge the battery pack but also provide electricity to the air conditioning system and other electrical components.
Prius Plugin also now equipped with two 100 VAC / 1,500 W power outlets and by using Battery Electric external supply mode , you can power small electrical appliances, lighting in your home in case of power outage or during your outdoor picnic trips. This mode uses the 13.6kWh battery system.
If the battery goes too low, you can switch to Hybrid Electric external power supply mode, and the engine runs on at an optimal, most fuel-efficient mode to charge the battery, which eventually helps generate the AC power for your appliances. There is a special attachment for the rear door window pan which helps to pass the electrical cord for external use while keeping the rain and dust away.
Before we go further, it is to point out that the new Prius is based on the 2nd generation of GA-C platform based on Toyota New Global Architecture / TNGA . The new platform helped reduce the overall weight and increase the chassis’s rigidity for improved handling and driving dynamics.
With the second generation of platforms, Toyota has implemented reinforcement all across the chassis, the model is also lower and wider with reduced center of gravity. There is also an improved MacPherson struts front and a double wishbone on the rear results also helps a greater overall driving experience.
As far as safety, front, side and curtain airbags will be standard as well as Toyota Safety Sense, an active safety system which comprises of collision System with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control , lane departure warning , lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring , automatic high beam , rear traffic alert as well as road sign alert . Toyota Safety sense is also integrated with ambient lighting and digital cluster which alerts driver visually with changing colors.
Prius now also comes with “Toyota Teammate” , which is an advance remote auto-park function. It helps easy automatic parking with a smart phone app which helps Prius to enter and exit parking spots remotely. Prius is also available with a digital rear view mirror which uses a HD camera mounted on the rear glass panel.
Pricing & Availability
Toyota global has not yet released the pricing for Japan or Europe but it will be available sometime early next year/2023. It is pertinent to mention that European markets will get only the 2.0L Plugin version. Regardless, we will see tons of new Prius in Europe, Japan and North America and a huge sales are predictable keeping in mind that the new model is now much more attractive and seems more fuel efficient.
Prius is famous and wanted model in Pakistan as well and comes as JDM import. With strict import restrictions and high exchange rates, I am not sure if we will see the new Prius anytime soon in Pakistan. We do know that Toyota Indus is investing heavily towards domestic Hybrid model lineup and we might see a Hybrid Corolla Cross sometime next year. Although Prius is manufactured at dedicated Toyota plants across the world, we hope Indus do research towards a CKD Prius but keeping in mind local state of economy, we can only wish + dream at this time.
So, how is the new Prius ? share in comments.
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I've got quite a bit of insight into the world of hybrid vehicles, especially the Toyota Prius. The Prius's inception marked a monumental shift in the automotive industry, being the first mass-marketed hybrid worldwide. Its debut in 1997 in Japan initiated a trend toward environmentally conscious vehicles.
Over its generations, the Prius has undergone significant changes. The 5th generation, launched in 2023, showcased an evolutionary design, emphasizing aerodynamic efficiency. Toyota's approach in the latest model incorporates a sleek, sporty exterior with notable changes like the relocation of rear door handles and a redesigned hatch layout. These modifications contribute to improved aerodynamics and a more elegant rear profile, further enhanced by the inclusion of 19-inch standard alloys and optional solar roofs.
The interior design of the latest Prius mirrors a premium and sophisticated appeal, labeled "island architecture" by Toyota. It's organized into three zones—surroundings, driver module, and a floating instrument panel—creating a more driver-focused and less cluttered space. The increased wheelbase in this generation provides superior interior space, complemented by the relocation of the battery pack, allowing for expanded cargo capacity in the Plug-in Hybrid version.
Mechanically, the 5th generation Prius boasts significant improvements. It's available in both standard and Plug-in Hybrid variants, with enhancements to the hybrid system, software, and hardware, promising better fuel economy. The introduction of a 2.0L engine alongside the 1.8L variant marks a notable change, providing increased power. The Plug-in Hybrid version with a 2.0L engine and an E-four AWD system delivers an impressive 220HP, allowing it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. Additionally, the new 13.6 kWh lithium-ion battery in the Plug-in Hybrid significantly extends the EV range to approximately 95 kilometers, offering substantial progress over its predecessor.
Solar cells integrated into the roof contribute to the Prius's sustainability, generating enough power annually to cover 1250 kilometers of driving range. These solar cells not only charge the battery but also power various electrical components. Furthermore, the Plug-in version comes equipped with power outlets, capable of supplying electricity to appliances and even powering homes during outages, utilizing the 13.6 kWh battery system.
Safety features in the 5th generation Prius include standard airbags, Toyota Safety Sense, and advanced driver-assistance systems like collision detection, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and more. Notably, the vehicle introduces "Toyota Teammate," an advanced remote auto-park function.
While the pricing and availability details for various markets, including Japan, Europe, and North America, haven't been fully disclosed, the anticipation for the Prius's updated model is high. Europe will exclusively receive the 2.0L Plugin version, reflecting the growing interest in more fuel-efficient and appealing models. In markets like Pakistan, where the Prius holds popularity, its availability might depend on factors like import restrictions and local economic conditions, with hopes for potential local assembly in the future.
The advancements in the 5th generation Prius present a significant leap forward, both aesthetically and functionally, marking a commendable evolution in hybrid vehicle technology.