How do you take a good thing and make it better? That was the challenge for Toyota engineers when designing the new generation of Prius cars. The word from critics is that Toyota has succeeded in improving the Prius while keeping its good qualities intact.
This car gains 2.4 inches in length and about an inch in width. More steel has improved torsional rigidity by 60 percent. The new Prius has an even lower coefficient of drag. Components have been shrunk to reduce weight and rearranged to achieve weight distribution. This allowed the engineers to grab more cargo capacity. Some models can claim 6 cu.ft. more, a total of 27.4 cu.ft. That’s on par or greater than many crossovers. The passenger cabin is also more spacious. Shoppers will notice higher quality materials and more styling cues inside and out.
The Prius may be a hybrid, but it is first and foremost a car. Driving enthusiasts wanted it to be more fun to drive. For 2016, the handling does improve with dramatic changes, according to reviewers at AutoWeek. Engineers switched out the rear suspension for a double-wishbone independent setup. The ride is stable and less busy. The new feel is athletic and nimble, taking corners in stride. With its hybrid motor and battery to assist it, this engine can now get 52 mpg.* Claiming 56 mpg, the Two Eco edition uses a much lighter lithium-ion pack. Dropping 70 pounds allows it to improve fuel economy even more.
The new Prius comes in six trim levels. The Two starts out right with split-folding rear seats, heated side mirrors, a touchscreen, and Siri Eyes Free. The Three adds more amenities including Entune Premium and a wireless charging pad. The Four piles on even more comforts such as heated front seats and a power driver’s seat. The Touring editions add fog lights, unique rear bumper styling, 17-inch alloys, and LED clearance lights. The Touring trim also boasts leatherette upholstery accented with blue stitching.
Every Toyota Prius comes with seven airbags and a reverse camera. As the NY Daily News notes, the Prius offers more safety options at a reasonable price than many similarly-sized rivals. That helps keep this high-tech car in the forefront of technology advancements. Features include dynamic radar cruise control. This system can stop, accelerate, and keep pace to match traffic conditions. Auto high beams ensure a good view of the road with a minimum of blinding light for oncoming traffic. The pre-collision system takes things a step further with pedestrian detection. A blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert helps drivers avoid common side swipe situations.
With the 2016 updates, auto critic Edmunds writes “going green with a Prius has never been better.”
*All vehicle mileage based on 2016 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.