So the Toyota Prius finally hit the market of the UAE and it’s about time. The Prius was introduced in Japan in 1997 and started exporting to their biggest market, the Unites States, in 2000. The momentum was slow in the beginning but it was when Harrison Ford and Leonardo DiCaprio started taking their Prius to the Red Carpet did people take notice. It has become cool instantaneously to the intellectuals and cool people.
2016 Toyota Prius Review | Changing perspectives
Toyota has sold over 5 million Prii since its launch and that’s a true testament on their hybrid blend. Fast forward to present and what we have here is the 4th Generation Toyota Prius in Iconic trim which retails for AED 97,900.00: there is also a Dynamic trim which retails for AED 89,900.00
The Prius retains its 1.8-liter VVT-i equipped Atkinson cycle petrol engine and it’s good for 121hp couples with the electric motor. There has been quite a few advances in the engine as in geek terms, this engine achieves a maximum thermal efficiency of 40%, and basically what it means is that there is less loss of efficiency in converting petrol to energy. The battery has also be re-located from the trunk an now resides below the rear passenger seats keeping the center of gravity low while increasing the boot space.
The design of the Prius is something of an enigma. Shall we say it’s just different? It’s very easy to say that it’s not pretty, but you need to throw away the old thinking cap and see it from a different perspective. The design of the 2016 Toyota Prius is actually working on multi dimensions. It has to create less drag, while keeping the internals low enough, which includes the batteries, while creating space for its passengers. This the Prius does rather well.
Jump into the interior and you can see that this is different. The gear lever is unlike anything in the market. It does take some time getting used to it, but the trick is to always refer the “dot” as the position of the gear lever. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature just like any other gearbox. There is wireless phone charging station which works well with the new generation Samsung Galaxy’s. Driving aids such as blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic monitor is also available making the Prius an everyday car. The interior is a blend of white and black, with subtle blue accents which points to its hybrid nature.
The “EV” button is good for electric driving provided that the speed is low and the accelerator is not depressed hard, a silent way to sneak out of your villa without waking up your parents.
So what’s it like to drive? It drives like any other small sized family sedan with a CVT transmission. The steering is effortless and the suspension is compliant and comfy for the road. Yes, it’s not something we would take corners hard with but we did scare a few cars on interchanges. There is good enough room for rear passengers and 4 people can sit pretty comfortable in it. We averages 5.3L/100kms which was the best we ever had. Just to put it to perspective, the Toyota Yaris we drove earlier averaged 7.4L/100kms while the new Honda Civic’s average around 7L/100kms. Yes the latter two are not hybrids but saving 2L every 100kms is a big deal, well not so much in the UAE but then again we did take pride in knowing that we are fuel efficient at a time when natural resources are getting scarce.
UAE has de-regulated fuel prices which means that in the future when the cost of fuel rises so does the dent at every fuel stop. The Prius in our opinion is a lifestyle vehicle, it’s probably the second or the third car in the family. There are few things we don’t know off, like the resale value of the Prius after a few years and what happens when the battery gives, time will tell on those. But what we have here is a car that cares not only for the environment but it retains the everyday driving factor which we expect from a car. The Prius is not just a tool to go from point A to point B, it is also a statement and personality of its driver. Other manufacturers would be keen on seeing the sales figures of the Prius here in the market before they start bring in theirs, in that way Toyota has been bold. We liked this little green thing, let me rephrase it, we liked it a lot.
|2016 Toyota Prius|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||CVT transmission|
|Fuel Consumption||5.3 L/100kms – As tested|
|Price (AED)||Dynamic – AED 89,900|
|Iconic – AED 97,900|
Pics by Charn Kamal: