2016 Toyota Prius
With sales topping 3.5 million units globally, the Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid on the market. So how did Toyota make the all-new 2016 model even more iconic? The answer was to not reinvent the wheel, but to refine its winning formula with a refreshed exterior, more fuel-efficient engine, and new active safety and infotainment features. The 2016 also includes an Eco version of the base Prius Two that bumps average fuel economy from 52 to 56 miles per gallon.
Although the fourth generation isn’t a dramatic departure, there are some important changes. The Prius has grown in all dimensions, resulting in a more spacious interior. The car sits lower to the ground to improve high-speed performance. The glass areas are bigger and the cowl has been lowered to improve visibility. Still, shorter drivers will have to raise the driver’s seat for an unobstructed forward view.
In previous models, the battery pack, which is located over the back wheels, made an irritating clunking noise when the car traversed bumpy roads. This is no longer an issue with the new model’s double-wishbone independent rear suspension in place of the torsion beam on the 2015 car. For 2016, Toyota also is offering upscale Prius models with lighter, more compact lithium-ion battery packs. Lower grades continue to come with nickel-metal hydride batteries to maintain value pricing.
Inside the car, drivers will notice a larger, easier-to-read information display in the gauge cluster and a larger center stack screen with standard Entune infotainment that includes app suites and navigation on upscale grades.
New Toyota Safety Sense, standard on Touring models and optional on most lower grades, combines pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Intelligent parking assist, available on the Four and Four Touring, automatically parks the car in both parallel and perpendicular parking spots.
NINA RUSSIN has been writing about the car industry for more than 25 years.
- 14 MPG City
- 50 MPG Highway
Key Safety Features
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
- Auto high beams
- Blind-spot monitor
- Backup camera
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Improved fuel economy
- Quieter, more spacious interior
- Enhanced ride comfort, thanks to four-wheel independent suspension
- High cowl can obstruct forward view
- Split rear glass limits rear visibility
- Soft response from the electric power steering system