Well, here it is, folks. We brought you images earlier this month that gave you a glance at the front 3/4 and rear 3/4 view of the fourth generation Toyota Prius. But late last night, Toyota officially pulled the wraps off the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle.
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way — this thing looks weird; I mean really weird. With the exception of the first generation Prius which looked like somewhat like a normal econobox sedan, the following two generations were “different” in a boring kind of way. However, the new 2016 Prius has almost a French flavor to it with weird curves, jutting creases, and funky headlights that I don’t quite know how to describe.
For its part, Toyota calls it an “athletic shape” that was “inspired by a runner in the starting blocks” and one that “conveys a feeling of forward motion.” I don’t think that anyone ever took previous Prii for anything approaching athletic, and despite Toyota’s optimism, no one will mistake a vehicle aimed at mainstream America for a Scion FR-S.
The 2016 Prius is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) which will be used in a wide range of upcoming corporate vehicles. TGNA is lighter than the previous platform used for the Prius and promises a lower center of gravity for improved handling. In addition, the all-new Prius is 2.4 inches longer than the outgoing model, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower.
Toyota is also promising to deliver an outstanding safety technology suite with the Prius, including standard LED headlights, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Automatic High Beams.
As for the most important aspect of the Prius, its fuel economy, Toyota still isn’t ready to give us official EPA figures. But the company did once again quote a 10 percent improvement over the 2015 Prius, which should put combined fuel economy at around 55 MPG. Not bad, not bad at all. Now if only they could do something about that styling…