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Toyota Launches Third Generation Prius


Toyota Launches Third Generation Prius

As interesting as fully electrically powered vehicles, such as the Smart ed, are we're going to be waiting just a while before they're available to average consumers like ourselves. In the meantime we'll just have to put up with the likes of the Toyota Prius, the third generation of which launches today.

Built, Toyota says, on a philosophy of "minimum outside, maximum inside," the 3rd gen Prius offers a number of improvements over its predecessors - some superficial, others less so and a couple helping in both respects. The new design, for example not only - at least in my eyes - improves the car's aesthetics, but also improves its drag coefficient; lowering it to a mere 0.25 - the lowest of any Hatchback apparently.

A smaller upper front grille is purported to maintain smooth airflow and a larger lower grille reduces air resistance and betters cooling. The front and rear bumper design has been tweaked to reduce turbulence in the Prius' wheel arches.

The same 2,600mm wheel base as sported by the last Prius remains, but internal tweaks provide more space. The updated dashboard offers an extra 10mm to the cabin length and backs to the front seats result in 20mm of extra legroom in the rear.

The car maintains a maximum height of 1,490mm, but the highest point has been moved 100mm further back, providing more rear headroom. Thanks to a more compact battery unit, placed under the Prius' floor, available storage improves massively from 445 to 1,120 litres - with the rear seats folded down. That's room enough for three golf bags on the resulting flat loading space!

The latest Prius will be available to buy from 1 August starting from £18,370 and we plan to take a look at one just as soon as we can.




June 22, 2009, 8:38 pm

I'd have to say that one of the biggest obstacles to greater uptake of these sorts of car, has to be kerb appeal (or lack of). The old Prius was not a looker, and this new one doesn't do much to improve that. Hondas are the same with the new Insight looking like an accident in the Halfords parts bin. Make one of these cars drop dead gorgeous (Tesla can do it) and ask a sensible amount of money and I'm sure it would improve sales.


June 22, 2009, 8:41 pm

How much CO2 does manufacting a Prius produce?


June 22, 2009, 9:20 pm

@Williamn - I'd be more worryed about what to do with the batteries at the end of its life...

Geoff Richards

June 23, 2009, 4:33 am

@needlegun - the similarity in overall shape between Prius Mk1, Prius MkII and new Honda Insight is because it is the optimal profile aerodynamically; here's a Merc "inspired" by a fish: http://www.greencarsite.co....

I don't disagree with your point, but bear in mind that Honda & Toyota aren't exactly short on sales of these cars (save for the recent drop Stateside due to oil prices falling).

@Williamn - is it really much more than manufacturing any other car? I imagine the point is that people will always be buying new cars, so why not choose one that has low tailpipe emissions?

Jon Williamson

June 23, 2009, 12:26 pm

The carbon cost of manufacture/ disposal is exagerated by people who don't like the hybrid concept. Much of the car is made from recycled/ recyclable materials. In addition the fuel miles to get the car here from Japan are because it is made there ... it has to be made somewhere, and once demand for hybrids increases more will be built in Europe/ the UK.

I will admit my bias - I drive a Mark 2 Prius. I hadn't planned on getting one, but when I gave it a test drive I was blown away by the gadgetry in the cabin - and the Mk III seems to take this further (as far as I understand it it has a head up display as standard?) - combine that with a real 55-60 MPG at proper speeds on the motorway and enough room for 5 people and a dog, and Toyota's bullet proof reliability and I am completely sold.

Oh, and the but ugly looks grow on you ...


June 24, 2009, 12:33 am

Buy a diesel. They're cheaper, more powerful and sold in everything from a Smart to an S-Class. They're generally lighter and they drive better. Some diesels can even beat a Prius on their environmental credentials.

I reckon if diesels were more common in the US, the Prius would cease to exist. Buy diesel, you silly Americans... :)

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