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New Toyota Prius has evolved beyond recognition.

New Toyota Prius has evolved beyond recognition.

The new, fifth-generation Toyota Prius is a really big deal for the Japanese manufacturer, as the previous four generations racked up combined global sales of more than 5 million units. Toyota’s experience making hybrid drive systems dates back to 1997 when the original Prius went on sale in Japan, followed by its launch in Ireland in 2000, so it will come as no surprise to hear that the new Prius benefits from a seamless transition between EV and engine-assisted driving. Available in Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) format only, the new Prius is sportier, sleeker, more rakish and more desirable than ever before. The new Prius is 50mm lower and 46mm shorter than its predecessor, but the wheelbase has increased by 50mm, and the overall width of the car has grown by 22mm.

Plug-in Powertrain.

Available in one, highly-specified trim variant, the new Prius PHEV combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an uprated 161bhp electric motor for a total combined output of 220bhp. The petrol engine produces 190Nm of torque, with the front-mounted electric motor providing 208Nm, resulting in brisk acceleration right from the off. Through a combination of mechanical improvements and sleek aerodynamics, the new Prius can sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.8-seconds, a full 3-seconds quicker than the model it replaces. The 13.5kWh battery pack provides a pure-electric range of up to 71kms, and the on-board 3.3kW AC charger enables the battery to be fully charged (0-100%) via a wallbox charger in just 4 hours. A combined Co2 emission figure of 16g/km results in annual road tax of just €140.

Outstanding Fuel Efficiency.

The new Prius PHEV shares its underpinnings with the highly-acclaimed Corolla family hatchback, providing it with a perfect balance between comfort and handling. Drivers can choose between Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom drive modes at the flick of a button. The Eco drive mode moderately mutes the throttle response, and it relies on EV power as much as possible in order to enhance fuel efficiency, especially in urban settings. Official fuel economy stands at 0.7l/100km (404mpg) but, as is the norm with a plug-in hybrid, the achievable real-world figure will depend on how frequently you charge the battery and the type of journeys undertaken.

Advanced Safety Tech.

The new Prius PHEV comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3 (TSS3) as standard. This advanced driver assist safety tech consists of eight airbags, Pre-Collision System with Intersection Collision Avoidance Support, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian & Daytime Cyclist and Motorbike Detection, Front-to-Front Oncoming Car and Motorbike Detection (day) on Pre-Collision System, Emergency Driving Stop System (which can safely bring the car to a halt if the driver is taken ill), Proactive Driving Assist, Emergency Steering Assist on Pre-Collision System, rear seat belt reminder, rear-view camera with washer, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Control, Road Sign Assist, Lane Trace Assist, and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, along with a Blind Spot Monitor and Safe Exit Assist.

New Infotainment Tech.

Toyota’s new infotainment system includes a 12.3-inch multimedia display touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration incorporating Apple CarPlay™, and connectivity to a range of interactive services via the ‘MyT Connected Services’ app. Also included is a six-speaker audio system, DAB Radio, Touch 2 Go navigation system, Type A & Type C USB ports, and a Bluetooth™ hands-free system with smart voice assistance.

Test Car Details.

My test car was finished in Storm Grey metallic paintwork with stylish 19-inch diamond-cut two-tone alloy wheels. The new Prius looks like a futuristic concept car when compared to some of its rivals, and its striking design is enhanced by the stylish front light bar and glitzy rear light bar. The Prius pulls away silently and smoothly, and it drives with pleasing fluidity in urban settings as well as at motorway speeds. When the four-cylinder petrol engine kicks in, it does so in a refined manner, with none of the judder that was somewhat evident in previous generations of the Prius. Body control on twisty back roads is excellent, and the responsive and direct steering makes it easy to negotiate bends, with plenty of power available to maintain momentum. The new car drives like no other Prius ever has, and it has to be complemented for its nimble and fun character. It really is a delightful car to drive. The ergonomic cabin can accommodate up to five occupants, but the sleek profile does impact on rear headroom. Materials and finishes are of typically solid Toyota quality, and the well-laid-out dashboard ensures that all of the important controls are within easy reach of the driver. The standard boot capacity of 284-litres is accessed via an electric tailgate, and the rear seats fold in a 60:40 fashion, creating a practical flat surface when required.

Pricing & Warranty.

Toyota’s reputation for outstanding build quality, reliability and durability is legendary, and the new Prius PHEV has all the necessary ingredients to be yet another huge success for the Toyota brand. The Prius PHEV is priced at €46,530 (excluding delivery & related charges) and is available to buy now. A 3-year/100,000km warranty comes as standard on all Toyota passenger cars, along with a 5-year/100,000km warranty on Hybrid Components and a 12-year unlimited mileage warranty body protection warranty. Also available is a free extended warranty cover (Toyota Relax Warranty). All you have to do is get an annual service with a Toyota Approved Repairer to avail of an additional 1-year warranty for a total of up to 10-years/185,000km.

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