2016 Toyota Prius officially unveiled – 4th-gen hybrid promises improved fuel economy, ride and handling

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After plenty of leaks – including the spillage of press pictures just hours from the car’s Las Vegas launch – the 2016 Toyota Prius has finally been officially revealed! The fourth generation of Toyota’s landmark hybrid promises better fuel efficiency, added technology and improved driving dynamics compared to its predecessors.

It’s certainly a very striking car to look at – the polarising (to put it mildly) styling, clearly inspired by its hydrogen-powered Mirai sibling, will divide opinion for years to come. The arrow-shaped headlights sit above the low-set nose (the Toyota badge sits at the same height as on the 86, apparently), and feature LEDs as standard for the first time.

Although the iconic Prius silhouette has been mostly retained, the side profile has been made much sleeker – the car is now 60 mm longer, 15 mm wider and 20 mm lower than before. A more cab-forward stance, an upwards flick in character line along the sills, a lower rear spoiler and a more steeply-raked beltline combine to give a more dynamic look that Toyota says has been “inspired by a runner in the starting blocks.”

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At the rear, blacked-out C-pillars (which give the impression of a floating roof) and blown rear fender surfacing provide yet another visual link to the Mirai, while the distinctive plunging full length tail lights connect the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides. A new specially-developed Emotional Red/Hypersonic Red paint with a “deep and vibrant lustre” is one of the eight exterior colours available.

Inside, the more upright design is a departure from the previous model; the gloss black centre console now sits closer to the driver, with “wings” that reach across the full width of the dashboard. Below this, the familiar gear selector “cube” is now mounted vertically, while the lower surfaces (seen here with a Qi wireless charger, most likely optional) are now optionally available in a gloss white finish, inspired by bone china.

Up top sits a broad digital instrument cluster, mounted in the centre – as before, it incorporates a display showing the operation of the hybrid powertrain, but the screen is now in full colour. Toyota promises improved visibility and increased occupant and luggage space, despite the lower roofline.

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Safety-wise, all new Prius models will come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of active systems, which, depending on trim, includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and the Europe-only Road Sign Assist.

The 2016 Prius is the first car to be built on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) designed to lower the centre of gravity while facilitating greater parts sharing and improved resource efficiency, the latter by as much as 20%. Handling is claimed to have been much improved thanks to a stiffer bodyshell, as well as new double wishbone rear suspension that replaces the old torsion beam setup.

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Technical details remain scarce – what has been confirmed is that the new car will feature an internal combustion engine with the world’s highest thermal efficiency (at over 40%), matched to smaller, lighter hybrid components and batteries with a higher energy density.

Reports indicate that the current 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine will soldier on, but with tweaks to improve performance – total system power output is rumoured to hit the 150 hp mark – and achieve the aforementioned efficiency figure. A 10% improvement in fuel economy is promised on core models, with a forthcoming Eco model touted to offer even lower consumption. So, what do you guys think?


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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.

 

Comments

  • Library Sam Loo on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Atrocious.
    synonyms: appalling, dreadful, terrible, very bad, unpleasant, miserable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 42
    • Same L0rrrr on Sep 09, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Exterior design, is a subjective thing. Just like you think your gf is hot, but not in my eyes.

      Others are objective, like:
      1. Comfort
      2. Fuel Saving
      3. Reliable
      4. Cheap Maintenance
      5. Good RV

      You won’t go wrong with sushi car, especially Toyota.

      WHy it gonna be so expensive in Malaysia? Thanks to Proton and its protection. Proton should start seilling condom to earn extra money, since no one bother its Preve, Suprima S and Iriz.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 55
      • Same L0rrrr on Sep 09, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        Toyota got no RV. It is a failure in Malaysia. I am sorry for the past 4 years, I have been lying to everyone here in PT about Koreans having low RV. It is not true. Toyota is the Jap with low RV.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 11
        • George Abdul on Sep 09, 2015 at 6:53 pm

          Whatever !!! Including Govt tax + AP system taxes + GST + 100% Hybrid taxes = Rich people’s car and to protect AP owners and dealers so they can “untung banyak banyak” !!!
          Others country as people’s car but not in Malaysia aka bolehland policy !!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4
    • old fashion on Sep 09, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      if this is what you called trendy, i will have to call myself old fashioned

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1
  • spongewai on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    everything have inside one car except the design

    truly sry Toyota

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4
    • *twist

      Under JC08 mode Japan Fuel Test Standard:
      2016 Prius HEV : 40km/L
      2016 Prius PHEV :70km/L

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  • mastermind on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Proton, Please re-badge this product

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 29
  • powershot (Member) on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    still an ugly prius

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 5
  • With that ugly back and ugly@odd looking centered dash… Ugh…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 5
  • Ongtk on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Wow! What a looker. The extended dropped down rear lights looks good. Hope it’s price right when it hit our shores. Will definitely consider to replace my current Prius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 39
    • JustSaying on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Sorry to say this but the only comment that agrees with the design comes from an existing prius owner….wow. That proves something. Hahahahaha

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 4
  • jamban bergerak

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 6
  • If the logo is Perodua, what do u think? Is rubbish right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 11
  • Untung Manyak Wang on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Import Tax + Gov Tax + UMW Tax = Min RM 300,000++ exclude GST

    :p

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
    • George Abdul on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      U forget mention AP system taxes or “cronies gets FREE money just sit at office wait Government contribute every month” !!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2
  • These stretched lamps seem to be a trend now..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  • mosar on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    does it really have to look like that? i meant, come on…there must be a way to have something that looks decent whilst still have very good aerodynamic efficiencies..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  • sohhai on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    This is one of those acquired taste case, you either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  • Cheung on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Gonna change to this car :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11
  • shawal on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    from the side it looks like 2 1/2 cuts joined together at the b-pillar…

    when u look at it on its own…you might think….well, thats not too bad…

    but when comparing with gen 2 & 3 , it is completely atrocious …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • VeCtOrIaN on Sep 09, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Front – is bold and unique.. can accept
    Side profile – so so but also can accept
    Back – pengsan… like got punched in the face.. cannot accept

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0
  • FUGLY!
    Beyond my comprehension how the heck did Toyota comes up with this design idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0
  • Initial impression : Toyota hired some Mitsuoka designers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  • Ugliest shyt on Sep 09, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    With that look ur target segment only aged 17-20. Im good thanks

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Oil price so low…do we really need hybrid?
    and design is fugly
    I am waiting for Mazda Turbo Diesel..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
    • W204 C63 AMG on Sep 09, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      You do realize that the current oil price is kept artificially low by the American’s middle eastern partner Saudi Arabia, right? They have been dumping oil into the market, hoping to hurt the Russian economy.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • mazda on Sep 09, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      exactly…go for skyactiv-D

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Krasher on Sep 09, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Dear Toyota,
    Please fire your exterior designer for both Prius & Mirai.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0
  • mr_em on Sep 09, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Huh? What’s this?
    Is this Toyota’s way of making its car to become more INTERESTING?…..

    Easiest way is to make it dammnn ugly… and good luck with that Toyota… hahaha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • mr_em on Sep 09, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    improved everything else (economy, ride, handling) but Toyota you forgot to improve the looks? huhuhu

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • kington on Sep 09, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Yes, it may look ugly, hopefully it grows on you.. but i doubt…

    But i am surprised with the use of double wishbone suspension for a company like Toyota, being cost conscious although Akio did mention he wanted newer Toyotas to have improved handling.

    It was quite a surprise seeing rear double wishbone on the new Alphard and Vellfire and now the Prius.

    Hopefully the bread and butter Corolla gets it too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  • Erwin on Sep 09, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    The car looks like it’s crying from its ugliness

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
  • Jennifer on Sep 09, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    My colleague couldnt wait anymore.
    booking a Camry 2.5HV Hybrid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
  • toyotacopycat on Sep 09, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Copy p1 to promote ride.and handling but quality lightyears behind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • Victor Tang on Sep 09, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I am a prius 1.8 owner. I can say im proud to own one. I dont know why so many people cant accept the thruth about hybrid but i know since i bought it in 2013 until now, there’s only good experiennce and no bad memory. It can give me power i need and at the same time give me the cheap low consumption of fuel. Love it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8
  • policeman on Sep 09, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Homer Simpson designed this car!

    Good luck to owners. Once you get rear ended, say goodbye to your tail lights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • Superglue on Sep 09, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    ***puke******more puke** after seeing this Prius.

    I think many toyota showrooms will be spontaneously combust due to super ugly Prius within.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • kelvin on Sep 09, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Is it just me i see darth vader in the middle of the dashboard. Guess i have wild imagination!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • old dog on Sep 09, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    OMG!! FUGLY inside out!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • I dunno what to say….car from the future?…its looks funny insideout…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Alson P on Sep 10, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Perodua Prius..
    first ever perodua sedan..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Comolot on Sep 10, 2015 at 7:41 am

    just thought of owning this car when first time seeing the headline with front view photo of it

    ….until I was almost vomitting to see the rear view of it. Dont know what is actually in Toyota designer’s mind.

    Perhaps it’s a manifestation of “future car” during the year of 1970s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
  • Soreeyes on Sep 10, 2015 at 9:45 am

    The design looks so bad that even the car is cry at itself with the tear-shaped headlamps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • albag on Sep 10, 2015 at 10:12 am

    too desperate to stand out of the crowd Toyota?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Pratamad on Sep 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    What a stunning design! Definitely won my heart. If not because my current Prius is still less than 3 years old, I would definitely look for it. Those who have not driven/owned a Prius don’t know the joy of driving that they are missing out. Instead, they continue to blindly bash Toyota/Japanese for the sake of bashing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Jon L on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    When would Malaysia’s national car policies allow us to buy Prius cars affordably again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • It’s like Toyota doesn’t really want to sell a Prius anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Cay Tea on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    We Malaysians will never be able to design a good car like Prius from ground up. It is a very good car, designed well. I bought one in 2011 but got stolen 4 years later unfortunately and probably now in Thailand black market. I will buy one anytime again if not for our blood-sucking govt and UMW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Pro 2 my v on Sep 20, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Woow

    Is that an alien spaceship?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
 

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