New Toyota Prius uncovered

4 Apr, 2014 7:30am Jack Rix

The Toyota Prius gets bolder and posher with 4WD

An all-new Toyota Prius will launch next year, and it’s not just the styling that will be radically different. 

The first model to be based on a new TNGA platform – Toyota’s answer to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture – the new Prius will be significantly more efficient, feature a lower centre of gravity for improved handling and move upmarket with four-wheel drive. 

Despite heavy camouflage, our latest set of spy shots confirms that the 2015 Toyota Prius will retain the wedge-like shape of the current model. The high tail, low nose and smooth roofline are all essential to maintain the slippery 0.25Cd drag coefficient. 

However, our exclusive image shows the overall look will be quite different. The styling is inspired by the Toyota NS4 concept first seen at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, and is intended to give the Prius a more aggressive character. Slimmer headlights, LED ‘eyebrows’ and a wider lower intake will transform the front end, and are the latest in a series of bold design moves from Toyota. The company is beginning to shrug off its reputation for drab design with stunning concepts like the FT-1 Supra successor and bold production models like the new Aygo and GT86.

New Toyota Prius: engine details

With an all-new platform to work with, Toyota’s engineers have been free to develop a clean-sheet hybrid synergy drive powertrain. The new configuration will bring an improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, to around 90mpg and 70g/km, and while the front wheels will still be driven by a 1.8-litre petrol engine and a downsized electric motor, the rear axle will also be powered by an electric motor. 

The so-called ‘e-4WD’ system will only work at speeds of up to 37mph, Auto Express has learned, but willboost grip in poor weather conditions.

One of Toyota’s major dilemmas has been deciding whether to stick with cheaper but bulkier nickel-metal hydride batteries, as used in the current Prius, or upgrading to lithium-ion cells. It’s believed the four-wheel-drive system and significant interior quality upgrades have helped to justify the extra costs of lithium-ion. As a result of the more premium mechanical package, the Prius could move upmarket slightly, starting from around £25,000, leaving the Auris and Yaris hybrids for those on a tighter budget.

A new Prius Plug-in will also be introduced next year, featuring a small boost in the electric-only range of 15.5 miles and an incremental improvement on the current economy and emissions figures of 134mpg and 49g/km. These will come from upgrades to the lithium-ion battery pack, aerodynamics and friction losses in the powertrain.

Disqus - noscript

The sale of hybrids is pacing up much faster than fossil fuelled cars as more and more car makers turn to this technology for lower emissions.
It is this growing competition that is making Toyota develop Prius to keep it ahead of the competition. 90mpg, 70g/km, AWD, impressive!

I would prefer to get a hybrid than diesel, now the eu laws want hybrid to make some noise for safety reasons lol

They would be impressive if they were moer reasonably priced. Unfortunately the gains in fuel economy are cancelled out by the high purchase price.

It seems to look very upset.

The only way it was 'ahead of the competition' is because it had practically no competition. With the new Outlander, and the other forthcoming hybrids, Toyota HAVE TO offer a car that's not a pig to drive, be more reasonably priced and have far lower emissions than they do now! The Ampera was nearly there but stupidly only has four seats.

Take off £5000 from the government incentive and it only costs £20 000 - the going rate for a well-specd hatchback.

£5000 grant is only for the plug in models. The current prius plug in costs £33.4k!

Just goes to show how Toyota have tried to fleece their customers especially when they use such old, cheap tech like nickel-metal hydride batteries. They must have a much higher profit margin per vehicle compared to something like the BMW i3. Anyhoo, that will all change now.

No, the £25K price is after the mug taxpayer has helped to buy this car. If you want to save money, get a diesel doing 70+ mpg for less than £8K, keep £12K for fuel and you're still quids in. No worries about batteries going end of life. Still no economic sense from these cars.

I'm glad that some idiots are buying them though, will help to develop the tech. I'd rather not fund it through my tax.

What percentage of the over 5 million Toyota Hybrids sold have had their batteries replaced?

An understanding of battery technology would be useful, before making statements about the use of nickel-metal hydride batteries in Hybrid vehicles.
Li-On battery technology is still evolving and there still issues around heat dissipation as well as the costs.
Case in point why can you not buy an entry BMW i3 for same price as entry 1 Series?

So you'd rather get a slow grandpa's eco-diesel that sounds like a tractor? Well good on you, we need more idiots like you so that hybrids will remain affordable for everyone else to enjoy

What's more telling is you can buy a BMW I3 Range extender for the same price as a plug in Prius, both of which use Li-on battery technology but the I3 has over 4x the battery capacity of the Prius. Lithium batteries are expensive but it seems to be much less of a problem for other manufacturers than it is for Toyota. Seeing as they have been working on hybrids for so much longer they should do a lot better.

No, I'd rather not do that and I don't drive one. But, if I needed to drive economically then currently the hybrid is not the answer because the tractor sounding diesel does that job better. I have no need for economy and do most of my miles on 2 wheels getting less than 30mpg,

Most hybrids have a grandpa type at the wheel and are attempting badly to hypermile.

If hybrids are to "remain affordable" then first they have to become affordable.

As for "idiots" well, you show the way very well on that score.

Dunno. Is the answer in anyway interesting? I'm sure you'll attract a lot of girls with amazing facts like that one.

Yes, Prius is a pretty poor effort and "MaxHybrid" appears to not have a clue what he is talking about.

I didn't even know that Toyata/Lexus used nickel-metal hydride batteries instead of the far superior Li-on type. It explains a lot. I always wondered why their emission figures were never that impressive! Toyota have probably put a lot of people off hybrids completely thanks to their half hearted attempts.

Also the petrol engines they use to generate electricity are relatively old and inefficient so it's a bit of a double whammy.

If that wasn't bad enough, the eCVT gearbox and slow throttle response in Toyota and Lexus hybrids makes them unpleasant, and even irritating to drive.

What nonsense! Why don't you educate yourself and stay away form motoring forums until your old enough to drive! Off course Lexus use Li-on. They are the leaders in hybrid technology!! Other manufacturers are cueing up to by there technology!!

Your remarks are stupid and quite amusing really. I don't own a hybrid but to say they are driven by 'grandpa' types is off the mark - I see a lot of different people driving hybrid cars. And I would point out that top end super cars like Mclaren P1, Porsche 918 spyder use hybrid power. The forthcoming NSX will be using a hybrid and the next Mitsubishi Evolution will be using hybrid power. And lets be honest BMW are now in bed with Toyota for their hybrid know how -sounds like you need to get with the times 'Punetang'.

'Toyata/Lexus'?! Seems like you don't have a grasp of spelling nevermind hybrid technology.

What utter rubbish. Toyota group powerplants are some of the most sophisticated around - always were. As for unpleasant to drive? Toyota/Lexus? Why do they top ownership satisfaction surveys year after year?! Lexus sit in 1st place every year of Auto Express Driver Power survey. And why post remarks that clearly illustrate a complete lack of knowledge of the car world?

You took the time to post a criticism of one mistake and yet you thought St Hybrid's post was perfectly OK?

Hmmm... actually it is an interesting question that's relevant to this subject. Anyone have an idea?

Another dull design from Toyota.
You could bet money on it.

Off course, I think it's you that is OFF course.

Can't you spell Skoda, well here it is for you.

A lot of F*RTING around like the beurocrats. I believe.

Why has the main picture got a Köln registration are they building it in collaboration with Ford?

Looks positive move in all directions - Prius have certainly established the market for Hybrid and it is a most interesting vehicle. Judging by various reports i have seen they seem to be both economical and trouble free and people come back for more. Having said that i do agree that the Hybrid mode of driving is not to everyone's taste, you pay your money and take your choice. Toyota are a conservative and thorough motor company and seem sometimes to lag behind but then their reliability certainly does not!

"form, your, off, cueing, by, there". An educated person would write "from, you're, of, queuing, buy, their".

That's £5k from you and me. The government does not generate revenue, other than via our tax.

What planet are you on?
"Toyota group powerplants are some of the most sophisticated around" - They had some engines 15 - 20 years ago that were competitive but now they are well behind the pace. It's as if they just gave up. The mainstream Toyota engines are now, pretty much, the most inefficient examples in the whole industry.

You can say the same about their cars in general IMO.

Why don't you wait until the new Prius is launched before deciding how rubbish it is? Yes the current model is totally outclassed by the Outlander, and i3 but they are new and fresh on the scene. The Golf GTE and BMW 3 Plug-in aren't even available yet so why compare them to the Prius which was launched years ago and is now at the end of it's life? I agree that the current Toyota and Lexus hybrids are awful but, as I said, lets see what they offer us next. It's like a game of chess!

The key is getting lithium batteries in this vehicle. Toyota also wants to increase fuel efficiency by 10% but there will be a lot of competition from EVs---Nissan, VW, Mercedes, Ford, Tesla, etc. Plus there is a $7500 tax credit in the U.S. if you buy an EV. However, the current Prius is the number one selling vehicle in the state of California, so the new one should do well for those who own the current one and want to purchase a new one.

We in the U.S. have the oldest Toyota technology. In the Prius V, they still use nickel-metal hydride batteries, whereas in Europe we understand they are lithium which allow three-row seating. Here in the U.S. we only get two-row seating as the batteries are the old, bulky ones. However, Toyota does use lithiums in its plug-in here in the U.S., and I would assume worldwide.

I would say you are a little behind the times. ALL manufacturers in the world (except Toyota) use lithiums exclusively. Tesla is building a lithium factory in the Southwest USA to supply its vehicles and Mercedes EVs. In Japan and Europe when given the choice, consumers chose the Prius V with lithiums over the last-century nickel-metal hydride batteries. NMH are on their way out.

Auto Express 1,342
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links