Having presented the redesigned GT 86 a few days ago, Toyota has shifted focus to a new addition to the Prius range, the plug-in hybrid Prime.
Making its world premiere at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, the new Prius Prime comes with an increased driving range, more power, a higher top speed in EV mode and a modified exterior over the regular Prius hybrid.
A significant upgrade compared to the previous version, it uses a larger 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which allows the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain to remain in EV mode more frequently, for low periods of time, improving fuel consumption and ultimately the car's driving range.
With a claimed average fuel consumption figure of just 168 mpg (1.4 liters/100 km), the best rating of any PHEV, it emits 32 g/km of CO2 and allows a total driving range of 22 miles (35 km) in full electric mode at speeds up to 84 mph (135 km/h).
Compared to the new Prius Hybrid, the Prime adds a drag-reducing automatic grille shutter, different headlights, with a quad layout and LED technology, a new bumper incorporating vertical LEDs and redesigned fog lamps.
Its side profile remains pretty much unchanged, but the rear has been updated with LED taillights running across the boot's entire width, a redesigned bumper and diffuser and a full-width aero glass panel over the rear spoiler to enhance visibility.
Its refreshed exterior isn’t just eye-catching but also functional, as it improves its drag coefficient, expected to be "among the lowest for production sedans". Its size is now more generous, being 2.4 inches (6 cm) longer, 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wider and 1 inch (2.5 cm) lower than its predecessor, boosting cargo room.
Inside, it features a four-seat layout, a 11.6-inch multimedia screen with standard navigation and full color head-up display and a premium JBL audio with integrated Navigation and App Suite, Prius Prime Apps, Siri Eyes Free mode for iPhone users, wireless smartphone charging for Qi-compatible devices and a 4.2-inch full-color TFT.
Toyota also says its new PHEV has an "intelligent" climate control system, which uses an electric compressor and heat pump that cool or heat the cabin while driving in EV mode. The Safety Sense pack comprising of active and passive safety features is standard, along with the Intelligent Park Assit that uses wave sensors to automatically park the car into parallel and perpendicular spaces.
The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime will arrive in showrooms later this fall.