Confession time: we’re a Toyota family. My first car in college was a Toyota Corolla; my Mom, brother and sister-in-law all own Toyotas as well. While I’ve been behind the wheel of many models over the years, I’d not yet had the chance to drive a Prius — until yesterday.
Toyota Canada was in town to showcase their spiffy new models, complete with a new refresh. Since Toyota premiered the world’s first hybrid back in 2000, Prius and hybrid have bonded for life.
We started the morning off with breakfast at Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s 1927 Lobby Lounge before making our way up to the second floor to hear a brief presentation by Stephen Beatty, Toyota Canada’s VP who reiterated that these cars have come a long way since their introduction.
This fourth iteration of the iconic hybrid promises to go “beyond possible”, the team’s motto for the campaign launch. The Prius is set to become a mainstream vehicle in 2016, marrying advanced tech with amazing emissions performance.
2016’s Prius is all grown up, offering striking details and a gorgeous interior. You can select from a beautiful Hypersonic Red as well as Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Grey Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic and Blue Crush Metallic.
The vehicles are built with a new suspension system and use a lower centre of gravity, creating a low aerodynamic silhouette. Engine, motor and seating positions have all been lowered to help visibility.
For a modest car of its size, the roomy trunk space can accommodate 697 litres of gear.
2016 Prius Touring Tech Features
– Wireless charging pad
– 7” display audio, Bluetooth
– Back-up camera
– XM Satellite radio
– Intelligent Clearance Sonar, Intelligent Parking Assist (Advanced Package)
– Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert system (Advanced Package)
Toyota has marketed these hybrids to create a bond between the vehicle and its driver. As in the third-generation Prius, Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the output of a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically-controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2016 Prius boasts a remarkable fuel efficiency of just 4.5L/100KM (city/highway combined), making it one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on Canadian roads.
It also incorporates smaller, lighter hybrid components, including a newly available lithium-ion hybrid battery in addition to the existing nickel-metal hydride. The new battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than beneath the luggage area, resulting in all that cargo space.
The new hybrid system operates more efficiently and more quietly and offers a higher level of driving performance than in the previous model. The smaller transaxle and power control unit allow for the auxiliary battery to be installed in the engine compartment.
New shift-by-wire technology uses electric signals to transmit shift operations and offers light, fingertip operation from the dash-mounted shifter. A “P” position switch provides one-touch engagement of the parking gear.
We paired up and took the Prius through its paces, first doing a couple of rounds around Stanley Park for fuel efficiency checks, then heading down to Richmond to get a sense of how it handles on the highway. For my feeling, the car feels sturdy while hugging the road. And does it quietly.
Once in Richmond, we tested the Intelligent Parking Assist features. It’s pretty much a hands-free experience, once you align the car with the one you’d like to park behind. With a few gentle taps on the brake, you allow the car to guide you through the process.
I’ve done this type of test with Ford vehicles as well; it takes some getting used to but does the job just fine. Having lived in parking space-challenged San Francisco, I’ve mastered the art of parallel parking. I can imagine more timid parallel parkers appreciating this feature though.
The 2016 Prius is offered in three models (Prius, Prius Touring, Prius Technology) starting at $25,995. Visit Toyota Canada online for more info.
This post is not sponsored. Non-watermarked images courtesy of Toyota Canada.