Toyota’s dazzling red 2016 Prius twirled in the air, paused, then returned to earth. This is the spectacle that greeted the media-only audience at the 2016 Prius World Premiere in Las Vegas. It was a ritzy event, perfectly designed for people holding cameras (hint: everyone).
The first thing you’ll notice about the 2016 Prius is the sleek, sporty design. It’s the first redesign in the vehicle's history (read: the past seven years).
Prius owners are loyal like boomerangs, constantly coming back for more fun. However, they told Toyota that they wanted to buy a car that doesn’t look like the one they bought five years ago. Toyota replied, ‘you betcha,’ and delivered the 2016 Prius. The longer and sleeker design was inspired by the athletic shape of a runner poised at the starting blocks. The low front and high back evoke a sense of forward movement.
In case anyone was feeling a little cramped in prior models, the 2016 l is 2.4 inches longer, 0.60 inches wider and 0.80 inches lower that its predecessors. The look is similar to Toyota’s futuristic Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.
"Prius set the global benchmark for hybrids, but now is breaking its own boundaries with a more engaging style,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.
The redesign is also a bid for non-traditional Prius customers: those who aren’t as concerned about spewing clouds of carbon everywhere and have avoided the Prius because its wedged look wasn’t their style.
The second upgrade is improved handling. This Prius is on a new platform and has a rear double-wishbone suspension, which means your wishes for better handling just came true. Now’s the time to zip down some curvy mountain roads.
The car also has some other perks, like cutting-edge safety technology to keep you alive. Alerts will go off if your car starts to veer from the lane. The car will automatically slow down when you creep up on another car too closely because you’re on cruise control. It can also detect whether a person is walking in front of you and hit the brakes.
Environmentalists and budget-conscious buyers have primarily been the ones to drive these cars off dealer lots. The main draw has been the hybrid’s ability to trek long distances on little fuel … It’s like the camel of cars. The miles per gallon is expected to be about 10 percent better on this model. The current Prius earns 50 MPG. If that isn’t enough for you, wait for the Eco model that Toyota says it’s creating, or, just ride a horse to work – those get great gas mileage.
Word on the street is that you can buy this car early next year. Price is TBD but should be around the current price of $24,000, much less green than it takes to go green with Tesla.
Gas-guzzling cars, your days are numbered.
Image credit: Renee Farris