OpenRoad Driver Volume 13 Issue 1 - Page 72

72 » OpenRoad Driver 2016 Toyota Prius » Since it was launched in 1997, the Prius has introduced a large number of people to electric hybrid technology in a mainstream car. Over 3.5 million Prius units have been sold since inception. The all-new fourth-generation Prius’ new looks may be polarizing to some, with its boomerang-shaped LED headlamps, sliver-like grilles, and LED tail lamps and tail fins. However, Toyota says that the styling is not only functional aerodynamics-wise, but also meant to be distinctive and futuristic. The new chassis in the 2016 Prius gives it the agility that previous models could only dream about, backed with steering that gives noticeably more feedback and accuracy than before. Power comes from a revised 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that has been reengineered to deliver significantly better fuel economy. Refinement was high on Toyota’s engineers’ priority list, with increased sound insulation, a hybrid system that can spend more time running on silent battery power, and a new Continuously Variable Transmission gearbox that doesn’t ask the engine to rev as often as before. There is a plethora of new active safety features available, including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and automatic high beams.