Skip advert
Advertisement

Green Car of the Year 2016: Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the 2016 Auto Express Green Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Kia Niro commended

If there’s one firm that knows a thing or two about building hybrids, it’s Toyota. The pioneering Prius is now into its fourth generation, and nearly 20 years on from the original model, it’s more efficient and user-friendly than ever, which means it’s a deserving recipient of our Green Award.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The latest version is also a car that has embraced its eco sensibilities, thanks to a new look that shouts green machine from every angle. Of course, it won’t be to all tastes, but the low, narrow nose, rising waistline, flared wheelarches and chopped-off tail are a refreshing change from the bland previous-generation Prius.

• Best hybrid cars on sale

It’s equally hi-tech inside, with gloss-white trim and a two-tier central dashboard that has a raft of eco-driving displays in the top section, as well as a large central touchscreen within easy reach.

Press the start button, and you’re greeted by the usual chime from the car that tells you it’s ready to go, then simply put it in drive and let the petrol/electric drivetrain decide which form of power is best. And that’s the best thing about the Prius: as it’s so user-friendly and easy to drive, it demands no compromises.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

You can travel in whisper-quiet EV mode, but the transition to combined power is seamless and the petrol engine is hushed, even when you’re using its full potential. Elsewhere, the on-board electronics manage energy flow between the wheels, engine and battery.

Toyota Prius - front cornering

Best electric cars on the market

Advertisement - Article continues below

The low-slung driving position takes a bit of getting used to, but it gives a clue to the Toyota’s new-found cornering ability. The batteries are mounted low to keep the centre of gravity down, while direct steering and a sharp chassis make it surprisingly entertaining.

What’s more, as the Prius is packaged around its hybrid system, no space has been sacrificed, while the near-silent running will be a revelation to everybody on board. 

Our choice

Toyota Prius Business Edition Plus (£25,595)

All Prius models are powered by the same petrol/electric powerplant, so your choices come down to price and kit. The well equipped Business Edition Plus is great value, but make sure you tick the box for 15-inch wheels, as they lower emissions from 76 to 70g/km. 

Commended

BMW i3

BMW i3 front tracking

BMW’s electric i3 city car embraces the very definition of hi-tech with its stand-out looks and advanced construction. There’s generous use of carbon fibre to help keep the car’s weight down, and if range anxiety still prevents you from buying a full EV, the range extender version has a motorcycle engine that gives you some added peace of mind.

Kia Niro

Kia Niro - front/side static

The Niro is the new kid on the hybrid block, and it’s a good first effort from Kia. It’s primarily sold on its family friendly qualities, but its petrol/electric drivetrain claims 74.3mpg, and the SUV looks and practical cabin mean it’s a great alternative to the Prius.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2016 

For complete, in-depth coverage of the New Car Awards 2016, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...  

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Best hybrid SUVs to buy 2024
Best hybrid SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Best hybrid SUVs to buy 2024

Plenty of SUVs now come with hybrid power, and we’ve picked out the very best buys on today’s market
13 May 2024
Best hybrid cars on sale 2024
Best hybrids - header image
Best cars & vans

Best hybrid cars on sale 2024

With more hybrid cars on the market than ever before, these are the best ones to buy according to our road test team…
19 Apr 2024
Best small SUVs to buy 2024
Best small SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Best small SUVs to buy 2024

There's a huge range of small SUVs out there, so we’ve picked out the very best
19 Apr 2024
Kia Niro EV review
Kia Niro EV - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Kia Niro EV review

The Kia Niro EV boasts a number of key upgrades over its best-selling predecessor, the e-Niro, but range isn’t one of them
28 Mar 2024

Most Popular

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up
Nissan Qashqai reveal - full front
News

New 2024 Nissan Qashqai prices and specs announced as family SUV war heats up

The start price for the Nissan Qashqai has increased by £3,000 due to the loss of the old entry-level Visia trim
24 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month
Volkswagen Tiguan - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: new VW Tiguan in well-equipped Match trim for under £300 a month

Volkswagen’s practical and refined mid-size SUV is our Deal of the Day for 24 May
24 May 2024
Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle
MG3 and Suzuki Swift - front cornering
Car group tests

Suzuki Swift vs MG3 2024 twin test: bargain small car battle

The Ford Fiesta’s demise has left a yawning chasm in the supermini class. Can the new MG3 and Suzuki Swift fill it?
25 May 2024