Yesterday in Moscow Toyota showed the new fourth generation Prius. The car is already known in the world, it was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show a year and a half ago (the model dates back to 2016), but the Prius has arrived in Russia only now - and with changes made to the design specifically for the Russian market.
The design of the novelty is quite radical and reflects not only the Japanese originality, but also the rich technological capabilities of Toyota.
The complex shapes of the sidewalls at the rear of the body, the intersection and overlap of various planes, the star-shaped optics in the style of the Lexus LF-A supercar - more or less usually Prius looks only in profile.
The presentation took place at the Engineering Center for Prototyping of High Complexity on the basis of NUST MISIS.
The head of the center, a well-known industrial designer Vladimir Pirozhkov (who worked in many auto concerns, including 8 years in the European design studio Toyota in Nice), did not fail to add that the new form of optics is extremely complex technologically, and to ensure such an exact fit of parts and joints at the junction of the headlight, bumper and hood is very difficult.
And yet, according to Pirozhkov, the new Prius has excellent potential for external tuning, which is confirmed by the work of Japanese tuning houses (for example, TRD, WALD and Modellista).
Prius by Modellista
Lyrics aside, the car has become six centimeters longer, one and a half wider and two inches lower, and overall looks more dynamic. Toyota would say - aerodynamically, because the main idea of this car is to save fuel by all possible means. By the way, that's why the Prius has small wheels on 15-inch rims (195 / 65R15) …
Before we move on to the interior, I would like to say that the primary difference between the new Prius and the third generation lies not only in a very peculiar design, but also in a new platform, built, in turn, within the framework of the TNGA concept - Toyota New Global Architecture, a new global architecture. What does this set of letters mean? I'll try to explain.
Have you ever wondered how many different brake pedals there are for one brand or another? The question may sound silly if you ignore the answer. For example, Toyota now produces 22 different brake pedals, 8 manual transmission levers, 34 automatic transmission selectors, 64 knee airbags. Taken together, this gives over 1000 possible options for 64 platform components.
With the switch to TNGA, the company will produce 5 brake pedals, 2 manual transmission levers, 22 automatic transmission selectors and 6 knee airbag options, and the number of different platforms will be reduced to six.
The obvious advantage of this strategy for the manufacturer is simplicity, convenience, and cost effectiveness. For the average consumer, the benefits of unification are not so obvious, but the guys at Toyota assure that safety will be their main concern.
Built on the same platform (GA-C index) as the Toyota CH-R, the new Prius has successfully passed the rigorous American IIHS crash tests, including with minimal overlap, showing the highest TOP SAFETY PICK + rating in the small cars class. In the EuroNCAP crash test rating, the new Prius was named Best in Class 2016 Large Family Car, the best in the large family car class. In fairness, it should be noted that the test cars in both cases were equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, which includes a class-first automatic braking system in front of a pedestrian who suddenly ran out onto the road.
The Prius will not have a TSS system in the Russian market. Instead, there is an extended winter package that includes heated front seats, an electric auxiliary heater for the interior, heated side mirrors and a low washer fluid level indicator. But this is not the first thing you pay attention to in the interior.
Of course, Prius owners have long been accustomed to the symmetrical interior design and the placement of instruments under the visor in the center of the console, but for a common person this still looks unusual, even though the entire interior in the Russian Prius has a single-color finish (in other markets, contrasting color scheme).
However, it is clear that Toyota is using proven solutions over the years instead of striking Tesla-style tech populism. Instead of a single LCD panel, the instrument readings are displayed on two TFT-screens with a diagonal of 4.2 ", as well as a head-up display that shows the image in such a way that the eye perceives it as if it is located not on the glass, but several tens of meters in front of the car. …
The ride is 5.5cm lower than in the previous Prius, and the bonnet is also lowered. This was not done to add sportiness to the car - according to engineers, a low seating position reduces the load on the vestibular apparatus, increasing comfort. The trim and shape of the seats are unusually good for Japanese C-class cars. Low window line improves visibility.
Multimedia complex Touch 2 with a seven-inch display and touch control is well known from other "fresh" Toyota models. There is also navigation and a rear-view camera with dynamic markings. But the system works noticeably slower than you expect from the model that Toyota calls its flagship. At the same time, the sound of the JBL multimedia system is quite good (as far as can be estimated in a running car indoors).
The climate control system is able to recognize the presence of passengers, and based on this, adjust the operating mode. This saves up to 2.4% fuel. Well-known from other Toyota models, the two-stage seat heating keys are located at the bottom of the tunnel (finished with the usual rough plastic), and you have to reach for them. But two modes of operation imply not only a change in the intensity of heating, but also the expansion of its zone.
Under the climate unit there is a white plastic insert, into which a small translucent joystick is integrated that controls the direction of travel, next to it are parking and mode change buttons (ECO, Normal, Power).
The insert on the console with cup holders is also made of the same plastic. The guys from Toyota assure that the new material is patented and has increased resistance to scratching. Next to the cup holders is a wireless charger for QI smartphones of an increased size (even a large smartphone will fit).
Between the seats is a spacious glove compartment that opens towards the driver.
There is more space in the back seat than in the Corolla, but the spaciousness of, say, the Skoda Octavia is far away. Two passengers are quite comfortable to sit, but the three of them will be cramped. There is a center armrest with two cup holders.
Having lost in size and weight (by only 1 kg), the nickel-metal hydride traction battery of 37 kW and 6.5 Ah is now located (like the gas tank) under the rear seat, and not in the trunk of the hatchback, so its volume has increased by 57 liters, to a significant figure at 502 liters. Under the floor there are containers for tools and a full-size spare wheel. And then there's a nice telescopic rear shelf and the ability to fold the rear seat backs into a flat floor.
From a technical point of view, there are also changes. Working on the Atkinson cycle, the 1.8-liter gasoline engine received a new cooling system. Thanks to this, as well as the introduction of electric drives for the pump and compressor of the air conditioner, heat loss was significantly reduced, reaching a record 40% thermal efficiency. The elements of the power plant (inverter and control unit) have become one third more compact, due to which, together with a new body structure and an aluminum hood, the weight of the car has decreased by 50 kg. Its curb weight is 1475 kg.
The power of the gasoline engine is 98 hp, the torque is 142 Nm at 3600 rpm. The 600-volt traction motor develops 71 hp. and 163 Nm. The total power of the power plant is 122 hp. power in this type of hybrid is only partially added. As before, the scheme of the hybrid installation is series-parallel, the front wheels are driven by both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, which also "stuffs" the traction battery with the help of a starter-generator. But the new Prius uses an electric motor to drive the car at speeds up to 110 km / h. Continuously variable transmission - planetary gears. Its settings have been changed to provide a more linear relationship between acceleration and accelerator pedal depression.
The manufacturer promises significant fuel economy - the figure of 2.9 liters in the urban cycle seems to be a real fantasy. In fact, I think the expense will be higher. Similarly, there are questions about the figure of 3.1 in the suburban cycle - I believe that the measurement technique has nothing to do with Russian realities. You need to test.
But even so, it is obvious that with proper operation, that is, aimed at saving fuel, using all the advantages of a hybrid transmission and regenerative braking, you can achieve excellent consumption figures that are unattainable for a gasoline car of comparable weight and equipment. And if you want to mess around, the new Prius has a Power mode that lets you get the most out of it.
How is the new Prius driving? The manufacturer promises improved handling and increased comfort levels due to a stiffer body, redesigned front and all-new rear multi-link suspension. How does it actually work? Need to try. There is already a queue for the Prius in the press park, so most likely I will only test the car in May.
One thing is for sure - the new Toyota Prius will have buyers from among the owners of the models of previous generations. Cars of this model have proven to be super-reliable and durable vehicles (for example, the whole of Mongolia successfully drives on "Prius" of the first and second generations, which are, respectively, 20 and 14 years old). Anyway, in 20 years Toyota has sold 10 million hybrids, of which 4 million are Prius.
The “Russian” Prius will be offered in a single “luxury” configuration at a price of 2,112,000 rubles.
Photo for memory with Vladimir Pirozhkov and the editor-in-chief of the magazine Behind the wheel, Maxim Kadakov
In the meantime, I invite everyone to express their opinion on the following issues:
1) Do you think that this distinctive Prius design is justified by the fact that people who operate hybrids want to emphasize their external appearance from ordinary motorists? On the other hand, we ourselves complain that all cars have become the same …
2) Why doesn't Toyota put huge Tesla-style tablets on its technological flagship, but rather “proven solutions”? A bet on reliability?
3) Would you buy yourself such a car, and why?
Any other comments on the topic are also welcome. And in the next post I will tell you about the Engineering Center for Prototyping of High Complexity based on NUST MISIS.