Toyota’s 2016 Prius debuts with a sharp new body and over 55 mpg in the city

The Toyota Prius may not be the most exciting car in the world, but it’s without a doubt an important one. Introduced in Japan in 1997, the hybrid has sold more than 3.5 million units globally, and has undoubtedly shaped the world’s perspective of fuel efficient and alternative energy vehicles.

The fourth-generation model has just been unveiled to a group of journalists in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the car is without a doubt the most ambitious version yet from a styling standpoint. The aesthetics were clearly inspired by the brand’s hydrogen-fueled Mirai, as the ultra-modern rear end features a similar taillight design that points sharply toward the ground. The themes are present up front as well, as the 2016 Prius wears a jumble of precise angles, cut lines, and eye-catching LED headlamps, making sure the new version doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

Underneath the modern skin lies an all-new platform, the first example of Toyota’s New Global Architecture. The car is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower than the previous model, changes that the brand says result in more interior space and improved cargo room. The lower center of gravity and rear double wishbone suspension equate to enhanced driving dynamics as well, which is great news for the thousands of people that will be driving this car come its arrival early next year.

Many of the technical specifics are still under wraps, but Toyota promises more efficient hybrid components, higher battery density, and a new internal combustion engine that boasts a thermal efficiency rating of more than forty percent. In layman’s terms, that means it utilizes the energy made from burning fuel much more efficiently than other gas engines, which equates to a ten-percent improvement in fuel economy over the 2015 Prius. Considering the current variant is rated at 51 mpg and 48 mpg highway, the new hybrid should sniff 56 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway.

For those holding out for even more savings at the pump, there is good news — a new Eco model is scheduled to be unveiled soon. Details are forthcoming, but the manufacturer promises the new Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug.

One of the major drawbacks of the 2015 Prius was its relatively low-rent interior, but thankfully it’s been much improved with this car. The cabin has been noticeably decluttered and upscaled — the infotainment system in particular — and metallic trim pieces have taken over for the cheap-looking plastic that littered the old car’s innards.

Toyota has always been a proponent of safety in its vehicles, and the bold hybrid you see above is the latest example of that. Not only is the new platform more rigid than its antecedent, the vehicle will be among the first U.S. models to offer the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite. TSS includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.

The Prius is a big deal for Toyota, so keep it locked on DT Cars for more information about new variants (plug-in hybrid, anyone?), equipment (did someone say optional all-wheel drive?), and pricing specifications. When we know, you’ll know.

Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.