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Toyota Prius (2013-2016) Review: Toyota Prius - A Closer Look at the Hybrid Car

Toyota Prius - A Closer Look at the Hybrid Car

By Shiva Shankar; 20th July, 2018
Introduction

Maruti Suzuki Alto till date is the most preferred entry level car with its high reliability, best mileage, decent styling and above all the dense service network. Maruti Suzuki Alto and 800 both have the same 796 cc 3 cylinder engine. However, the one in Alto produces 47PS while that of the 800 makes 36 PS.

Toyota Prius

Undoubtedly Alto has grabbed a huge market with its power and mileage. Maruti 800 is in market for more than 20 years and has been a very successful throughout its tenure. It recently got discontinued from the metros with the application of the BS4 emission norms.

Earlier this year, Hyundai entered the mass car segment with its fluidicly designed Eon featuring a 3 cylinder 814cc engine delivering a power of 56PS. Eon banked on its fluidic design in addition to a more powerful engine which is a fresh change in the entry level segment.

Hyundai Eon and Tata Nano were the fresh entry level cars compared to the ones Maruti Suzuki was offering. As Maruti Suzuki was losing market to the newbies, they decided to reincarnate the 800 cc segment. Cashing on the brand of Alto and offering a car with better styling than the conventional 800, the Alto 800 was launched.  Will the Alto 800 set a new benchmark for entry level cars is what we find out in our review.

Exterior

The Prius has been designed with the aim of maximizing mileage. As a result, it features one of the best aerodynamic designs, aimed at reducing wind resistance and hence improving mileage.

Toyota Prius

In the Prius’ Front Portion, high importance has been given to its aerodynamic shape and good styling. Clear lens head lamps, a bold Toyota emblem, sharp bonnet and wind shield give a bold look.

The sleek styling of the side panels, the door trims and the curvy shape which is extended till the tail lamps are very impressive and the car looks aerodynamically perfect. The Prius’ boot door is designed impressively also.

The Large tail lamp cluster may have been reduced in size which would have made the rear portion more impressive. Though the rear portion is aerodynamically perfect, it could have been esthetically better.

The Prius is available in White pearl cystal shine, Silver metallic, Beige metallic, and Abyss Grey Metallic 

Interior

If anybody criticized the Tata Indica Vista with its instrument cluster at the center, the luxury Prius may cause a rethink, as the instrument cluster of the Prius is also in the center. With all its views and gadgets (Steering mounted controls, a wide dashboard, centrally placed instrument panels, the display, and the music system), the Prius’ inside gives the impression of a cockpit of an aeroplane.

Toyota Prius

Other features of dashboard include a twin push button glovebox , Push button start, centrally placed gear shift liver, and twin airbags for driver and co-driver seats.

The Prius comes with ample leg space and very comfortable seats. The design is aimed at the car being not just comfortable but even pleasurable.

The Prius’ Rear seats are good with ample leg room, thigh support, lumbar support and a cup holder in central portion. It is very suitable for four people to travel with high comfort and luxury. 

Performance

Toyota Prius features a 1.8 liter petrol engine delivering 73KW and 142 NM torque. The car also has an electric motor delivering a power output of 60KW and 207 NM torque. The car further has a so-called Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) in which both engines are used. As a result, the net system power is 100 KW.

Toyota Prius

The cars’s transmission is Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission and it comes with an automatic gearbox.

The car is highly priced. The on road price of the Toyota Prius Z3 variant is 33 lac and the Toyota Prius Z4 version comes at 35 lac. The main difference between these two variants is that the Z3 comes with fabric seatings, whereas the Z4 has leather seatings with heater as an option. The Toyota Prius’ propulsion system has several advanced features, such as a cooled EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system, intake-side VVT-I and an electric water pump, permitting an engine design with improved efficiency.The car has both a petrol and an electric engine. These two are combined in the so called Hybrid Synergy Drive, which is a computer programme that determines how and when to use which engine or even use both engines power.

Toyota Prius

The system takes care of transition between the modes and the drive experience is quite seamless.

At low speeds and when the vehicle is stopped, the vehicle runs on battery charge only. As the speed increases to around 40KMPH, the petrol engine starts giving power output to move the vehicle, while also charging the battery. Thus, at high speed the petrol engine power is used and the battery keeps getting charged.

In practice, when the vehicle is turned-on with the "start" button, it is ready to drive immediately on the electric motor, while electric pumps warm the petrol engine with hot engine coolant, before the internal combustion engine can be started.

A button labeled "EV" maintains Electric Vehicle mode after start up and under most low-load driving conditions. This overrides the HSD system and permits driving with low noise and no fuel consumption, and it is advertised as a "quiet" option for short journeys, for example in residential areas at night. The car automatically reverts to normal mode if the battery becomes exhausted.The Fuel Efficiency of Hybrid cars greatly depends upon the mode of driving. For example, it is best to use electric motor power in most of city traffic conditions and engine mode at higher speeds.

Toyota Prius

On average, 22KMPL can be expected in city and 20 KMPL in highway. It is to be considered that the average fuel efficiency of a car fitted with 1.8 liter is around 12KMPL.

As the battery charges itself while driving, extra charging is generally not required.The Prius has been launched with a 3 year or 1 lakh KM warranty in which repairs and parts are covered. However, it can be assumed that replacement of parts specific to the hybrid system will be more expensive than can be expected in ‘normal’ cars.

However, do not be concerned about the battery, as it as a life span of about 8 years, at which point replacement may be required.

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Toyota
 Model Prius
Variant Z3
Petrol Engine 1.8L
Power in KW 73
Torque in NM 142
Electric motor Power (KW) 60
Torque in NM 207
Transmission Automatic
Minimum turning radius in Meter 5.2
Tyre rating 195/65 R15
Dimensions in MM
Length 4460
Width 1745
Height 1510
Wheel base 2700
Features
Features Z3 Z4
Steering mounted controls Yes Yes
Power Steering Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes Yes
Rear wind shield washer Yes Yes
Defogger Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes
Air bag 2 2
Average fuel efficiency 22 17
Indicative Onroad Price Bangalore in lac 33 17 (discontinued)
Competition
Specifications
Toyota
Prius
Toyota
Prius
Variant Z3 Z4
Petrol Engine (capacity) 1.8L 1.8L
Power in KW (petrol) 73 73
Torque in NM (petrol) 142 142
Electric motor Power (KW) 60 60
Torque in NM (electric) 207 207
Combined power Electric and Petrol 100 100
Transmission Electrically controlled continuously variable transmission(AT) Electrically controlled continuously variable transmission(AT)
Minimum turning radius in Meter 5.2 5.2
Battery type Sealed Ni MH Sealed Ni MH
Tyre rating 195/65 R15 195/65 R15
Length (mm) 4460 4460
Width (mm) 1745 1745
Height (mm) 1510 1510
Wheel base (mm) 2700 2700
Steering mounted controls Yes Yes
Power Steering Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes Yes
Rear wind shield washer Yes Yes
Defogger Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes
Air bag 2 2
Average fuel efficiency 22 22
Indicative Onroad Price Bangalore in lac 33 33
Warranty 3years/100000 KM 3years/100000 KM
Seat Material Fabric Leather
Seat Heater No Yes
Conclusion

The Toyota Prius is a practical implementation of the Hybrid concept and it redefines the Luxury car segment which otherwise was synonymous for high capacity engine and very low mileage.The body styling and the combination of battery operated Electric motor and petrol engine is a great achievement indeed.

Toyota Prius

However, the car’s pricing is very high and whether people who are willing to spend this much money on a car will be concerned to such an extent about mileage remains to be seen.

On the other hand, the Prius is also much cleaner than normal cars as it brings reduced emissions and is also less dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, it is a good choice for environmentally conscious buyers. (In electric mode, emissions are nil!)

It will however be an even greater achievement if the same concept is introduced in cars in the range of 10 lacs. If done, it will surely be a great development in global efforts to cut down fuel wastage.