Review - Toyota Prius
March 28, 2021
Fancy a high-tech drive while saving dollars on fuel? Toyota’s Prius i-Tech could be the car for you.
A snazzy hybrid that gets you where you want to go
The Prius is Toyota's vision for a high-tech, low-emissions passenger car come to life, and has indeed sparked a revolution for green motoring across generations. Over 3.5 million Prius models have been sold since it was introduced in 1997, and the technology continues to advance each year, along with its quirky design.
You can choose between two variants of Prius in Australia. The i-Tech adds several upgrades to the basic model (which starts at $34,990): 17-inch alloys, leather upholstery, digital radio and the latest safety features such as blind-spot monitoring. Both models include lane-departure alert and adaptive cruise control, as well as an impressive infotainment system, head-up display and wireless phone charger.
Aerodynamics are top priority for the latest Prius, and there's been a radical, aviation-inspired restyle. You'll find new active air vents, a thin and pointy front grille and a very polarising rear end. This car will definitely raise eyebrows, so it's a great choice for drivers who want to make a statement.
Space-wise, the interior has an open and airy feel, with spacious front and rear seats. But the aerodynamic sloping roof restricts headroom in the rear – fine for kids, but may inhibit taller passengers.
If you're heading off for a weekend eco-retreat and need to bring luggage, the i-Tech offers plenty of extra boot capacity (from 457 litres to 502 litres), as the spare tyre has been ditched in favour of a pump and repair kit.
A silent performer delivers a smooth driving experience
The 2016 Prius is actually a bit less powerful than the previous model (by a slight 10kW) but it has better handling. Three driving modes – Normal, Eco and Power – provide different power delivery.
Eco mode is slightly sluggish but great for when you’re in heavy traffic and want to save fuel. Normal has a good amount of torque and throttle response, and gains speed effortlessly, while Power mode on the open road is fun to drive and offers impressive acceleration. Steering is also light, but still with enough feedback.
Like its predecessors, the Prius’s cabin is a peaceful place to be, reducing noise and vibrations. Toyota has also improved both the efficiency of the 1.8-litre engine and the redesigned battery pack charges 28 per cent quicker.
The official fuel economy is 3.4L/100km, but during testing it returned around 4.5–5.5L/100km, which is still very impressive.
Toyota has improved the Prius with each year, and the latest model really feels like the series has hit its peak. It's definitely the most impressive generation of Prius to hit the road. It still has its archetypal Japanese quirkiness, but there’s also a maturity. If you're considering an eco-vehicle, it's definitely worth taking the 2016 Toyota Prius i-Tech for a spin.
5 specs you need to know
- Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder hybrid.
- Transmission and drive: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive.
- ANCAP safety rating: Not tested (previous model five stars).
- Official fuel economy: 3.4L/100km (4.5L/100km during test).
- Time from 0-100km/h as tested: 11.42 seconds.
- Great handling and steering.
- Excellent fuel economy.
- Modern and well-equipped interior.
- Lower power than previous model.
- Exterior design may not appeal to everyone.
- Less rear headroom.