Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fourth-Generation Toyota Prius (ZVW50/51)

When the first Toyota Prius was launched in late 1997, the term hybrid has been introduced in the world of motoring and thanks to the Toyota Prius, more and more cars have gone under the hybrid green route. All thanks to the Japanese because they were the first people to create a hybrid car for the masses and with over a million Toyota hybrids sold worldwide, over 50% of the Toyota cars sold worldwide are Priuses. Now, here we are, 18 years later, the hybrid that has been the pride of Japan has been regenerated in its fourth generation glory. Although we are not glorious about the latest regeneration, more and more people are expected to get their green-minded hands on the brand new Prius.

2016 Toyota Prius

Reflecting on today's topics ahead, this latest-generation Prius is built today, ready for tomorrow, because it features new and somewhat noticing features that will keep its environmentally friendly credentials afloat for green-minded people who want to find a better eco-car to live with on a day-to-day basis but whatever, since this is a byproduct of Japanese culture in Toyota's right.

2016 Toyota Prius interior
2016 Toyota Prius interior

First up, let's take a look at the design, and while this is rather unpleasant by some, the Mirai-inspired design still fits to its "here today, ready for tomorrow" ideology. Of course, you would definitely don't want to turn up on posh destinations except in areas where people tend to park hybrid cars because if you parked up in areas filled with fast cars, you're like a nerd getting bullied by jocks in the shower room. See what I mean? That design really speaks a lot for someone nerdy and asthmatic. As for the interior, there goes the same Prius stuff as seen on the previous model. You have seating for five people, clever instrumental panel, complicating shift lever, and nothing to toy around while you're inside.

2016 Toyota Prius

Time to get earful on this one because the new Prius is the first to incorporate the new Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA and while this new platform sounds a lot earful than an average Tenga toy under your bed, it promises to be a wide-reaching structure that can be accommodated with future models similar to Volkswagen Group's MQB platform but this is no time for VW talks as well as their recent scandal because we're mentioning this byproduct of Japanese culture here and with the TNGA platform at hand, it promises to be more stiffer and more accessible when combined with its front struts and rear double wishbones. Although not what you called sporty on the handling department, it feels not so bad to turn it on the bends or the roundabouts.

With front-wheel drive a standard issue for the new Prius, it comes with an optional e-Four for the very first time in this new model and what does this mean? With e-Four, the new Prius feels more weather-ready for the job at hand and there are now two electric motors bolted on its 1.8L 2ZR-FXE petrol engine. Of course, in some models, be it front or four-wheel drive, the old-fashioned Nickel Metal battery is still in operational but in fuel-efficient models, it's been fitted, for the first time, a lithium-ion battery. The same thing that was used on its Prius α MPV. With the Li-ion battery, 2XR-FXE, and electric motor at hand, as well as its traditional CVT gearbox, fuel economy is expected to reach up to 40.8km/L based on Japan's JC08 Mode standards. This is the highest for a hybrid car in terms of fuel consumption and all that hard work really payed off to bring the new Prius a class apart in the world of hybrids.

For safety purposes, the new Prius comes with Toyota Safety Sense P, as seen on the recently facelifted Land Cruiser 200. The Toyota Safety Sense P features a more high-tech millimeter wave radar which detects pedestrians and vehicles alike. It even comes with Radar Cruise Control which detects preceding vehicles and determines their speed. It will adjust its speed accordingly to maintain a safe distance between the cars. Other safety tech offered on the new Prius includes Intelligent Clearance Sonar, Simple Intelligent Parking Assist, Driving Safety Support Systems, and Connected Vehicles Support Systems. Of course, the new Prius comes with ITS Connect and it uses Japan's ITS frequency to receive and share data between external infrastructure and other cars via vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (Right-turn Collision Caution, Red Light Caution, Signal Change Advisory) and vehicle-to-vehicle communication (Communicating Radar Cruise Control, Emergency Vehicle Notification).

The new Prius starts from 2,429,018 to 3,394,145 Yen and because this is a hybrid, it's well-qualified for Japan's eco-car subsidies. If you're willing to buy one now, be advised that the waitlist for the new model is extremely high and it will take a lot of months to have one delivered at your doorstep. Anyway, the new Prius has a lot of potential of being the pride of Japan as well as eco-minded individuals. Although this is not what you called a fun car to drive, expect this to be your last resort when you are a celebrity who are financially burdened with debt or a granny whose mansion's about to be repossessed.

Available colors: Super White II, White Pearl Crystal Shine, Silver Metallic, Grey Metallic, Attitude Black Mica, Emotional Red, Steel Blonde Metallic, Thermo-Tect Lime Green, and Dark Blue Mica Metallic.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

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