(TORONTO, ON – March 23, 2016) What’s in a name? Everything. And that’s what you’ll find in the Prius Prime, a distance range-topping model with a plug-in hybrid powertrain from the world’s leading hybrid vehicle leader, Toyota. “Prime” = best, and when it comes to electric vehicles, there’s no doubt that sparks flew at the Toyota display at the recent 2016 New York International Auto Show, where the brand’s best-equipped, most technologically-advanced model to date was unveiled.
The Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 1.96 or lower Le/100km (Litres equivalent per 100 kilometres) represents a substantial 22-percent reduction in fuel consumption from its predecessor, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid Le/100km equal to or better than the Prius liftback.
The 2017 Prius Prime combines an electrifying design with an even more capable electric powertrain than the previous-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Prius Prime is expected to offer an estimated electric range approximately twice that of the previous model.
As sparing with fuel as the Prius Prime may be, it drives with the same verve as the standard new-generation Prius hybrid, one result of the new high-strength platform and double-wishbone independent rear suspension.
Prius Prime adds even more premium touches and exclusive tech features compared to the all-new Prius hybrid, including its available 11.6-inch, HD central multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full colour head-up display. “Prime” also describes the vehicle’s advanced standard safety technology, Toyota Safety Sense™ P. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite, bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available for additional peace of mind.
All 2017 Prius hybrid models come standard with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.
Electrifying Design Cheats the Wind … and the Scales
If the 2017 Prius Prime looks like the future, it was purely intentional on the designers’ part. The new-generation Prius Prime is 60 mm longer, 15 mm wider and about 22 mm lower than its predecessor. The growth boosts cargo room over its predecessor and gives the Prius Prime a road-hugging stance.
The wind-cheating body and its high-strength/low weight structure are critical factors in the Prius Prime’s astoundingly low energy consumption. Its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. Automatic grille shutters help reduce drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed.
Yet the Prius Prime is no aero jellybean. It’s chiseled profile and edgy character lines seem to dare the wind to stand in its way. Energy-conserving quad LED headlights glow like diamonds cutting the night, and LED rear combination lamps leave an unforgettable nighttime signature. Driver visibility remains excellent, aided by a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler and a standard backup camera. The distinctive aero rear window is eye-catching and adds to its slipstream character.
While giving the new-generation Prius models more features, Toyota kept vehicle weight in check by using aluminum for the hood, carbon fiber on the rear hatch, and by using high-tensile strength steel in other parts of the structure. In fact, the lightweight carbon fiber rear hatch makes opening and closing almost effortless.
EV or Hybrid? Both.
The Prius Prime will please anyone who wants to reduce trips to the gas pump, or maintain the utmost in fuel efficiency on a long trip, allowing drivers to stay in EV mode in more situations, helping to enhance vehicle range on one tank of fuel. You can plug it in, gas it up, or both. On one 43 litre tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates a class-leading estimated total driving range of over 965 km.
Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which seamlessly combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in at home to recharge its larger 8.8kWh battery pack.
In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime can run on the gasoline engine or electric motor alone or a combination of both. Even when not running in EV mode, the Prius Prime will automatically rely more on its electric capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips.
The Prius Prime will also feature a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system, using both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.
Even better, there’s no special equipment for home charging. Just use the supplied cord and the Prius Prime takes approximately 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet. Charging takes less than half the time with a 240V source.
Not to be overshadowed by all the electrical magic, the Prius Prime’s gasoline engine also plays a starring role in that efficiency. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine – the same as in all 2016 Prius hybrid models – earns a groundbreaking 40 percent-plus thermal efficiency. Most modern automobile engines reach about 25-30 percent. Myriad details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to the efficiency, including an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up.
Looks Marvelous, Feels Marvelous
The Prius Prime looks and feels far from frugal on the inside, where a four-seat cabin layout, with center console running front to back, looks more like a high-end luxury coupe. Practicality remains ever present, however, with standard 60/40 folding rear seatbacks. It’s a quiet cabin, too, thanks to the sound-insulating laminated windshield and front door glass and the optimized aero shape that helps keep wind noise where it belongs – outside.
High Tech, Low Effort
The centrally mounted gauge panel, a Prius hallmark since the model’s inception, appears to float above the dashboard. The panel features dual 4.2-inch full-colour TFT (thin film transistor) multi-information displays, and the driver can change their content by using steering wheel controls.
Want to cut the cord? With available wireless cell phone charging for Qi-compatible devices, just place your Qi-compatible devices on the console pad to charge it wirelessly.
Sound and vision inside the Prius Prime likewise meet the standard of “prime.” An available Premium JBL® Audio system with Integrated Navigation puts 10 JBL GreenEdge™ speakers in six locations for sonic bliss. The multimedia system includes AM/FM cache radio (letting you pause songs and play later), HD Radio™, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary SiriusXM All Access trial and Gracenote® album cover art.
Of course there’s a USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control, plus advanced voice recognition and hands-free phone capability, phonebook access and music streaming via Bluetooth®. For iPhone users, Siri® Eyes Free mode adds yet another in-car assistant.
Built-in Parking Valet
In the urban jungle, where hunting for a prime parking space is a sport, the Prius Prime wins. Available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the Prius Prime into perpendicular spaces and automatically steer it out of a parallel space.
When the way forward gets narrow, such as in a parking garage, the system’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides.
The 2017 Prius Prime will begin arriving in Toyota showrooms in late fall.
About Toyota Canada Inc.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles. Toyota has sold over 4.9 million vehicles in Canada through a national network of 285 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships. Toyota is dedicated to bringing safety, quality, dependability and reliability in the vehicles Canadians drive and the service they receive. TCI’s head office is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax and parts distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver. Toyota operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada. Having produced more than six million vehicles, popular Canadian models built at these facilities include Toyota RAV4, Toyota Corolla, Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid.
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