Frankfurt 2011: new prius, the original full hybrid updated
The world's first mass-produced full hybrid vehicle, the Prius was launched in Japan in 1997, and in Europe in 2000. While rival manufacturers are only now introducing a first hybrid variant to their existing model ranges, the stand-alone Prius has already entered its third generation.
With global sales now passing 2.3 million units, the Prius maintains a peerless reputation for reliability, durability and low cost of ownership.
Voted Car of the Year by European, Japanese and American motoring journalists, the Prius has won numerous highly prestigious awards. Its globally recognised Hybrid Synergy Drive® is one of the most successful powertrains in the history of the International Engine of the Year awards, with a total of 11 titles to date.
Prius has been consistently ahead of its time in addressing not only CO2 emissions, but also air quality. Even operating in normal drive mode, it generates significantly lower NOX emissions that any comparable diesel or petrol vehicle. In EV mode, with a range of up to two kilometres, it generates zero CO2, NOX and PM emissions.
Internal Toyota studies performed with the third generation Prius show that during a typical city trip, when the average speed is below 30 km/h, more than 25% of the journey takes place with the engine off, resulting in considerable reductions in average fuel consumption and emissions.
The last decade has witnessed a fall in the fuel consumption of its Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain of more than 23% and a reduction in CO2 emissions of almost 26%. Yet system power has simultaneously increased by 30%. The latest Prius returns 3.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle, and generates CO2 emissions of only 89 g/km.
Customer perceptions of full hybrid technology have also evolved significantly over the last decade. First generation Prius owners were won over by the car's unique concept and technological innovation. Second generation owners are enthusiastic early adopters of niche technologies, remaining passionate about the Prius product concept regardless of the opinions of others.
Third generation customers, however, recognise the Prius as a true mainstream vehicle with on-road performance and dynamic abilities which bear comparison with conventional D-segment competitors.
The new Prius features a new, more dynamic frontal treatment. The revised front bumper design places the emphasis on an enlarged lower grille, in keeping with the new face of the next generation Toyota family. A new, clear lens headlamp design features a revised LED lamp configuration, and daytime running lights have been incorporated in the bumper.
The door mirrors now have a power-folding function, the rear combination lamps have been redesigned and the new Prius is also equipped with new 15" wheel design.
On board, the sensorial quality of the Prius interior has been raised through a change of colour scheme from dark grey to black, the addition of silver inserts and an upholstery upgrade.
The centre console design has been revised, and the push start button colour changed to hybrid blue. The multi-information display has been improved with a 16 gradation-step Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) which gives a clearer and more three-dimensional display, and driving support functions now include an EV indicator lamp.
The Prius remains a front-runner in the field of technological innovation. Each generation has introduced new, high technology features to the segment ahead of their time.
The third generation Prius showcased a head-up display, Touch Tracer switchgear and a Pre-Crash Safety system. It was also equipped with the world-first combination of a solar ventilation system and remote controlled air conditioning. The solar powered ventilation prevents the interior air temperature from rising whilst the Prius is parked. In conjunction, the air conditioning may be activated remotely, using the large capacity hybrid battery to cool the interior for up to three minutes before vehicle occupancy.
The new Prius benefits from the addition of a unique range of advanced and affordable multimedia equipment choices being introduced to every vehicle in the new Prius family Toyota Touch, Toyota Touch & Go Plus, the new Toyota Touch Pro, and a new JBL Matrix Premium Sound System with GreenEdge energy-saving technology (see Prius Plug-in Hybrid Chapter for full details).
Prius will continue to lead Toyota's European full hybrid deployment strategy. With other Toyota HSD models introducing the benefits of full hybrid drive to an every broadening customer base, the Prius will remain a showcase for new technologies and further advances in HSD powertrain design.