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Bigger, roomier, more efficient Toyota Prius


Toyota has stuck with the tried and true for the styling of its third-generation Prius petrol-electric hybrid unveiled at this week’s Detroit motor show in America

Toyota has sold more than one million Priuses since launching the first generation model in 1997.

It says the new Prius takes the hybrid to a new level, with better fuel economy and performance and reduced full lifecycle emissions, from manufacturing through to ultimate disposal.

It has freshened the exterior styling, improved interior space and comfort and made the car better to drive. The Prius can run on its petrol engine or electric motor alone, or on a combination of both.

The 2009 car has a larger, 1.8-litre, VVT-i petrol engine, and re-engineering the Hybrid Synergy Drive system has reduced its weight and size, helping improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

Using lightweight aluminium and ultra high-tensile steel has also cut the Prius’s weight. It’s built on an all-new platform for better handling, stability and safety and the restyled body has better aerodynamic performance.

Toyota did more wind tunnel testing and development of the new Prius than any car it has built till now, and has achieved a coefficient of drag of 0.25, which it says is the lowest of any current mass produced car.

Engineers worked extensively on improving airflow beneath the car, which has helped to make it quieter running, more stable and more fuel-efficient.

The new Prius is marginally longer than the current model, but changes to the roof profile improve rear seat headroom and revisions to packaging of the hybrid drive system allow more boot space. Expect to see the car here later this year.

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