Any idea who started the now apparent electrical revolution? Or more importantly, when did this start? Well, the electric revolution in the automotive world began with the first generation of the Toyota Prius, in the distant year of 1997. Yes, it seems like yesterday, but the Prius will now (2023) enter its fifth generation.
Five generations that started with a big fight on the part of the brand, because, as you can imagine, at the time nobody really knew what a hybrid car was. An effort that paid off, as for many good years, the name Prius was synonymous with electrification in the automotive world.
Having said all that, how does the fifth generation of the car that started it all fare on Portuguese roads? Let’s find out!
(Hands-On) Toyota Prius: New Generation Icon!
Therefore, the fifth generation of Toyota Prius now appears with only one PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) engine, which promises several improvements over the last generation originally launched in 2015.
After all, in addition to a lot of equipment in its base version (~40 thousand euros), the Prius is now capable of offering a combined power of 223hp (2.0L Engine 152hp + Electric Motor 163hp), 86 kilometers of purely electric range thanks to a 13.6 kWh battery, and on top of all this, the ability to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8s.
Battery charging can be done using a 10A charger (2.2kW), which is included with the car. An act that should take about 6 hours from 0 to 100%. However, if you want something more powerful, you can use a charger up to 16A, for a charge of 3.3kW. This reduces the charging time substantially, to just over 4 hours.
Numbers that by themselves are not impressive, since Plug-In cars capable of these values are nowadays something commonplace, and there are even PHEV vehicles with higher charging speeds. However, the Prius seems to be a step above, both in terms of build quality, as well as smoothness and driving pleasure.
After all, in addition to all this, as an example of what I said above, the Prius brings something that we are going to start seeing in more and more electrified vehicles.
That is, we have a solar charging system on the roof (extra available only in the Premium version), capable of offering around 8 kilometers of daily autonomy. Yes, it seems little, but over the course of 1 week there are 56 kilometers, 248 kilometers in 1 month, and finally, over the course of a year, around 2920 kilometers ‘for free’.
This functionality, which is actually a solar panel mounted on the car’s roof, is a clear improvement over what the fourth generation brought, because this panel is now capable of charging the traction battery directly, instead of a secondary battery.
It is important to point out that concern with the electrical part is apparent and important for the brand, because even with the battery at zero, Toyota promises an extremely appealing car in terms of consumption.
In fact, the Prius is even able to figure out the most efficient way to drive by looking at your route in its own navigation system.
How is it on a daily basis?
Talking about specs is one thing. Picking up the car is another!
A Leak.pt was invited by Toyota Portugal to test the new Prius, and as such, we can now offer our first-hand opinion.
First of all, the Prius is a showy car, especially in the most unusual colors (such as mustard yellow). This by presenting a modern design, but above all aerodynamic, and even a little sporty.
It is also a very complete car in terms of technology, as it offers all possible and imaginable aids when driving, as well as a very interesting feature that allows you to park the car using your smartphone. Well, parking, and getting the car out of tight spots!
Driving, in my view, is a natural evolution of what Toyota has been offering in its latest range of vehicles. This is a substantial improvement over older Prius generations. Gone are the strange noises coming from the engine!
Inside, we have two large screens, one for all the information on the vehicles immediately in front of us, and another that serves as an entertainment system. Both have good colors, are fast and fluid. The finishes are of good quality, a little different from the current rule in the automotive world, which is the use of cheap plastics everywhere. For me, the only downside is the steering wheel, which honestly has too many buttons. But… Better too many buttons than too few buttons. Toyota was smart about it, putting only what was strictly necessary on the screen. Everything that really matters is available on quality buttons with haptic feedback.
In short, the fifth generation Prius promises, and delivers, in the act of driving. It is, above all, a stable, controlled, safe car, which if you really want to, can also give you a few shivers down your spine when you put the pedal to the bottom, in sport mode.
However, it is also worth mentioning that the Toyota Prius is now available for booking, starting at €41,999. You can find out more here. The first test units are now reaching dealerships. We’ll be doing a more detailed analysis in the coming weeks.