Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0117 Contents Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder/electric motor
Transmission: CVT Power: 73kW/53kW
Torque: 142Nm/163Nm Fuel consumption:
3.4L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: ★★★★★
Price: From $42,990 (plus ORC)
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Putting the brakes on fun
The fourth iteration of the Toyota Prius has sportier handling but weaker performance
THERE ARE TWO VERSIONS of
Toyota’s fourth generation hybrid – the
Prius and the Prius i-Tech. Prices are
$2500 more than the previous base
model but $1000 less for the i-Tech.
The base model gains features
previously only on the i-Tech such as a
pre-collision safety system, lane
departure warning with steering input,
auto high beam and active cruise control.
Other new features include a colour head-
up display, Qi wireless phone charger and
an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.
The i-Tech gains blind spot monitoring,
rear cross traffic alert, leather-accented
coverings and digital radio.
The new battery is 10 per cent smaller
and can be charged faster. Fuel
consumption drops from 3.9L/100km
to 3.4L/100km and the larger fuel tank
(43 litres) means the Prius can,
theoretically, travel more than 1250km
on a tank. It can also drive on full
electric power at speeds up to 105km/h
(previously only 30km/h).
It’s longer, wider, has a lower centre of
gravity and a more rigid chassis for
better handling. Redesigned seats mean
improved head room front and back.
The better dynamics are evident even
around town and on a twisty road it’s like
chalk and cheese from old to new. The
new electric-assisted power steering is
more direct and communicative. The ride
is also comfortable and not as floaty as
the previous generation.
Tyre noise is still evident but has
improved. There’s some protesting in
hard corners – though it’s not surprising
given the more eco-friendly tyre
compound. The brake pedal still feels
wooden and the ‘grab’ of regenerative
braking does take getting used to.
Disappointingly, given the car’s
newfound handling prowess, the 1.8-litre
four-cylinder engine has less power
(73kW versus 100kW). The electric motor
also drops in performance (53kW versus
73kW). You have to push the car harder,
which slightly negates the improved fuel
economy. Gear changes are smooth,
though, and the transition from electric
to engine power is as seamless as ever.
One aspect that becomes tiresome is
the continuous beeping when reversing.
It’s not from parking sensors; the car is
simply telling you it’s in reverse. The
reworked exterior – with its thin upper
grille and sleek, sculpted headlamps – is
also likely to polarise potential buyers.
The interior is a step up in quality and
design compared with the previous
model, but it still looks very much the
same. Toyota is not pushing any design
Personally, we’d opt for the Corolla
hybrid as a green alternative (see page
38). It’s not as ‘look at me’ as the Prius,
but offers good fuel economy in a more
attractive body. It’s more than $16,000
cheaper, too. – Jaedene Hudson
Pros: Great fuel economy; better
dynamics; more luggage space
Cons: Detuned engine; no Apple CarPlay
Both engines have
less power than before.
OPEN ROAD 47
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16/12/2016 10:22 am
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