Detroit motor show 2009 - Toyota Prius
Toyota launched the car at the Detroit motor show, confirming that the latest hybrid car will be powered by a larger 1.8-litre petrol engine, which can run in conjunction with an electric motor or alone. Running together, they will produce 132bhp.
The current Prius uses a 1.5-litre engine, has 112bhp, averages 65.7mpg and emits 104g/km of carbon dioxide. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.9s.
Although no official figures have been released, company insiders suggest the new car will be capable of around 70mpg on average, with emissions of around 90g/km of CO2. That will make it VED road tax free. The 0-62mph time for the car has been confirmed at 9.8s.
To incorporate the larger engine, Toyota has focussed on weight savings and better packaging of the hybrid system, which is lighter and smaller than the current unit.
Further weight-savings were achieved through the use of lightweight aluminium and high-tensile steel to build the car
Toyota also says the new Prius' platform provides better handling, stability and safety.
Optional equipment - in the US at least, as full UK details have yet to be confirmed - will include a solar roof that powers the air-con on hot days.
Lexus-derived safety features will also be available, including a pre-collision safety system, lane assist and parking assist.
The bodywork has also been tested in a wind tunnel to provide the least drag of any mass-produced car on sale.
In particular, attention has been paid to airflow beneath the car, to reduce running noise, improve stability and improve fuel efficiency.
The new Prius is slightly longer than the current model, while the roofline has been altered to improve rear seat headroom. The repackaged hybrid system also allows for a larger boot.
The new Toyota Prius will go on sale in the UK this summer.
No sooner has the new Prius been shown to the world, than rumours of new variants are beind mentioned. We hear hatchback, saloon and estate models are under development, and that they could be joined by a coupe and a pick-up truck.
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