The Toyota Prius Prime now sits at the top of the model range, and it is, according to Toyota Motor Corporation, the “most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history.”
Aesthetics wise, the Prius Prime gets a redesigned front face which, to us looks a lot more presentable than the controversial standard Prius. Gone are the the overdone front headlights, as they are replaced with a slimmer LED projector lamps as seen on the Toyota Mirai. The rear gets a makeover as well, this time merging the rear spoiler into the tail lamps, creating a much sleeker looking rear end. In fact, it also reduces drag, thus making it one of the most aerodynamically efficient production cars with an impressive drag coefficient of 0.24.
The Prius Prime is powered by an improved 1.8-litre petrol engine running in Atkinson cycle, and it gets a new larger-capacity exhaust gas recirculation system which leads to better thermal efficiency – this is improved by up to 40 percent! The CVT gearbox from the standard Prius is retained here as well. Juicing the Prius Prime is a larger 8.8kW/h lithium-ion battery pack that can be fully recharged in just 140 minutes.
Thanks to the larger battery pack, the Prius Prime is now capable of travelling up to 35km in full electric mode. Its top speed, without the aid of the internal combustion engine, is 135 km/h. What’s even more impressive is its fuel consumption of 1.4 litres per 100km! This makes it the most efficient plug-in hybrid on the market to date.
Toyota has gone the extra mile to reduce fuel consumption by incorporating gas injection technology to the air conditioning and battery-powered heating systems. Thanks to all these fuel saving technologies, the Prius Prime is capable of covering up to 1,000km of tarmac with full battery power and 43 litres of fuel. This means you can drive from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and return with petrol to spare!
Inside, it’s prime time entertainment for the occupants with the vertically positioned 11.6-inch high-definition central infotainment screen. The screen allows controls for air conditioning, audio and entertainment systems to be accessed via the touch of the fingers, and can also display selected information about the car. On the safety side of things, it benefits from Toyota’s new Safety Sense P suite which comprise of pre-collision detection, autonomous braking, lane-keeping, dynamic cruise control and automatic high-beam control.
So, will the Prius Prime make it to Malaysia? That’s a tough call, seeing how fully imported hybrid vehicles don’t benefit from the current National Automotive Policy. But who’s to say UMW Toyota won’t?