Toyota, once the world’s most complacent auto maker has awoken the rest of the big car companies.
Meet the fourth generation of the Prius, a hybrid gasoline-electric drivetrains. "It's not just about MPG anymore," the press release reads. Toyota is shifting the focus to design and technology, waxing poetic about the car's "athletic shape," better driving dynamics, and Toyota Safety Sense — a package that includes things like automatic pedestrian avoidance and full-speed dynamic cruise, it will manage your speed for you, going all the way to a full stop in a traffic jam.
Toyota says you’ll like driving its new models, rather than finding it a chore, because a re-think of body structure engineering will improve overall body rigidity by as much as 30-65 per cent. This new Prius is the first of the new vehicles using this changed approach to making cars and light trucks. Look for entirely new platforms for mid-size front-drive vehicles first, then front-drive compacts and rear-drive vehicles. Toyota has said that by 2020, half its vehicles will be riding on these new platforms.
Either way, a new Prius is sure to cost a lot less than a Tesla (or even the Mirai) — it's just going to take a little while to get used to that face.