Toyota Prius – The Rebirth Of A Classic


When Toyota launched its now-famous Prius in 1997, it was ahead of its time. Incorporating a battery alongside a traditional petrol-powered internal combustion engine, it promised superior energy efficiency. Throughout those early years, however, the car found itself mired in what we might now think of as a culture war, with various non-scientific claims being made about the car’s lack of energy efficiency.

Since then, however, attitudes towards carbon neutrality, and to the electric car more specifically, have undergone a considerable transformation, making the humble Prius once again attractive.

A Brief History Of The Prius

The first Prius, called the NHW10, was sold exclusively in Japan. The car made a loss for the company for every unit sold, but Toyota judged that the design and engineering lessons learned along the way would provide a reward in the form of superior cars further down the line.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the second model, the NHW11, reached markets in Europe, Australia, and the Americas. Then came a complete redesign in 2003, with the debut of the XW20. This was the first vehicle to use an all-electric compressor in its air conditioning.

This version of the Prius sold more than a million units worldwide and was succeeded by the XW30 in 2009. The XW30 provided drivers with three different ‘modes’, including a performance mode and an EV mode which allowed the onboard battery to work in isolation at very low speeds. The car also made use of a range of bioplastics, mostly derived from kenaf – which is a kind of gigantic nettle with extremely strong fibres.

These cars are still highly desirable and should be investigated by anyone interested in a used Toyota.

The fourth and fifth generations, the XW50 and XW60, arrived in 2015 and 2022 respectively. The former was the first vehicle to make use of the Toyota New Global Architecture, which is a modular platform used as the basis for a range of modern Toyota and Lexus cars.

In early 2022, the Prius was actually widely reported to have been retired, following poor sales in an increasingly competitive market. However, the announcement of the XW60 puts paid to that.

The New Prius

So, what does the newest version of this classic car have to offer the modern motorist? The exterior has been redesigned, with a wedge-shaped front end that resembles a performance car. Under the hood, there’s a drivetrain capable of delivering nearly 200 bhp, at around the equivalent of 57 mpg. It’s set to become available in early 2023, and it’s based on a second-generation version of the TNGA-C platform.

The various models of Prius have sold more than twenty-million units since the first was launched more than two decades ago. The company hopes that a trusted name will help to.


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