The Toyota Prius has grow to be a massively standard hybrid because it made its debut again in 1997. With good purpose, too: they hardly go fallacious, they’re straightforward to drive and, most significantly, they’re actually low cost to run.
And now the most important title in hybrid tech advantages from a refreshed exterior look and minor cabin tweaks so as to keep aggressive in opposition to its foremost rival, the Hyundai Ioniq. There’s a brand new mannequin becoming a member of the vary, too.
That is the Prius AWD: the primary hybrid Toyota exterior of its SUV vary to come back with 4 pushed wheels. The additional drive is provided by a 5.3kW motor and inverter mounted to the rear axle, and is engaged always under 6mph to supply smoother traction when pulling away from a standstill. From six to 44mph it engages solely when the automobile’s sensors detect front-wheel slip, whereas the remainder of the time it operates in front-wheel drive mode.
There’s no mechanical connection to the drivetrain on the entrance, which stays similar to the remainder of the Prius vary. Meaning the combustion factor takes the type of a 1.Eight-litre petrol engine, whereas a front-mounted electrical motor supplies additional shove. A small 1.31kWh battery is topped up by means of a mixture of regenerative braking and, often, the petrol engine performing as a generator.
On the transfer, the Prius AWD behaves a lot the identical as another Prius. The powertrain is easy, the steering gentle and exact, and the trip comfy. Save for arduous acceleration – when the engine revs rise to an disagreeable drone – refinement is nice, too. The additional weight of the second motor dulls efficiency solely very barely, with the Zero-62mph time rising by three-tenths of a second. Nonetheless, it stays completely adept at each pottering round city in close to silence, or sitting at a gentle 70mph on the motorway.
Its foremost promoting level is its gasoline economic system and, as ever, on this space the Prius completely excels. Our time with the AWD mannequin revealed gasoline economic system within the high-sixties is feasible at a cruise, whereas heavy cease/begin visitors delivered outcomes nudging 60mpg. The difficulty is, the usual mannequin is healthier nonetheless: CO2 emissions for the front-wheel-drive automobile are 3g/km decrease (the hole grows to 10g/km in the event you go for the smaller 15-inch wheels), and it ought to use much less gasoline, too.
The front-wheel-drive Prius advantages from the identical mid-life upgrades as this all-wheel-drive mannequin. They tone down the curious appears to be like of its predecessor; the headlights are extra standard and the bumper is a smoother form than earlier than, whereas the rear will get new tail lights and a brand new bumper. There are a few new colors and wheel designs to select from.
Inside, Toyota has labored to enhance the infotainment system. Loading instances have diminished, and it may well now recognise pinch and swipe motions to maneuver by means of menus and maps. Enhancements, sure, however decide any rival set-up – Kia/Hyundai, PSA, or the VW Group – and so they all supply vastly superior tech.
The Toyota’s graphics are fussy, the interface clunky and the small display screen is low down and never angled in the direction of the motive force which implies that, not solely is it extra of a distraction to make use of, however on-screen data is commonly obstructed by a big, diffuse glare. Even the buttons across the exterior really feel low cost and fiddly. At the least it’s straightforward to pair a cellphone by means of Bluetooth.
The digital dials aren’t nice, both, mixing a load of kinds, colors and warning lights right into a relatively cluttered panel. The one optimistic is that the pace is displayed in a big and clear font, however that doesn’t matter a lot as a result of the heads-up show, which may present navigation directions, is brilliant and clear and in your line of sight anyway.
Elsewhere, the Prius is a spacious automobile, simply edging the Ioniq for legroom. The AWD’s additional motor compromises boot area barely, although; the shallower 412-litre load bay is 45 litres smaller than in front-driven variants.
The AWD system is barely provided within the Enterprise Version+ trim, which presents all you’d ever want by way of gear. The usual package record consists of dual-zone local weather management, electrical lumbar adjustment on the motive force’s seat, wi-fi cellphone charging, a rearview digicam, and LED headlights. Security tech is properly stocked too, with a forward-collision warning system that detects pedestrians, adaptive cruise management, lane departure warning, and highway signal help all included.
So do you have to get the all-wheel-drive mannequin? Nicely, no. At £28,970, the AWD prices £1,650 greater than the common Prius. That’s £1,650 extra for a automobile that’s thirstier and fewer sensible than a regular Prius, and can solely reveal its traction advantages within the rarest of circumstances.