Silence Is Golden
No matter how many times I drive a fully electric or hybrid electric vehicle, I never tire of the essence of driving in complete silence. It’s hard to believe that the Prius has been with us globally for over 20-years, and now it’s in the fourth generation.
What is it?
I doubt you need to ask that, but more appropriately what has changed? For starters, this latest generation is sharper looking. A pointed nose leads to overall more angular lines. In terms of power delivery, the Prius is moved by Toyota’s 1.8-litre 4-cylinder petrol motor with an electric drive. Power and torque figures comprise of 100 kW and142+e Nm.
Over on the interior, this latest model features a more modernised, updated incarnation of Toyota’s typical Prius style central instrumentation cluster and electric drive shifter.
Take-off is effortless of course, with the silence of electric power. Toyota claim fuel economy figures of a combined 3.7-litres per 100 km. Not a figure which is in anywhere over-ambitious, as I was able to even achieve better than this. This Prius offers a pleasing drive, which is smooth and well-composed, typical of a hybrid electric vehicle.
With a 2.7-metre-long wheelbase, the Prius offers stretch-out space for all occupants, great emphasis has been placed on visibility out of the vehicle, as well as on the vehicles ability to remain spacious and practical in terms of its large open cabin spaces and hatchback-style boot which can accommodate 502-litres of space with the seats folded-up and increased further with seats which drop flat. Fierce Red and Sky Blue metallic (shown here) are some of the vibrant colours which make-up its on-road presence-full appearance.
The Clever Things
The cabin offers a peaceful space with some impressive tech too. The central media display offers-up major media sources, Bluetooth telephony controls, navigation mapping and just below is an easy reach of the climate-controlled air-conditioning.
Overall noise harshness levels (NVH) have been improved when compared to its predecessor and further enhanced within this latest-generation Prius is a platoon of safety systems including a heads-up-display (HUD), 7 airbags in the cabin, stability control and ISOfix child seat anchors for the rear seats.
SA Pricing, Warranty & Conclusion
There is only one Prius variant available for R490 200. Sold with a 6 services/90 000 km included, and standard 3-years/100 000 km warranty, as well as the hybrid battery with a longer, 8-year/195 000 km warranty.
In South Africa, we see only a fraction of the global Prius sales. It must be noted, however, that around 4-million have sold globally since its inception, and with its no-nonsense approach to reliability and Toyota’s Japanese Kaizen sense of striving for perfection, the Prius combines practicality, green efficiency and simply common good sense into a very usable package and one which I look forward to seeing more of on the road.