02 January 2009

The Prius is right

It might not be the future of green motoring, but it’s definitely showing Detroit the way

Toyota Prius

Just in case you needed reminding just how far ahead of the game Toyota is with all this ‘green' tech, here's the all-new Prius.

While the US Big Three were banging on all weekend about a battery-powered future - founded in varying degrees of reality - the third generation of the world's most famous hybrid made its debut.

This latest version works in fundamentally the same way as the last one, but gets a larger 1.8-litre engine. Combined with the electric motors that means power is bumped up to 132bhp and the car's a little bit quicker to 60mph.

The figures that really matter though are the as yet unconfirmed 70-odd mpg we're expecting and road tax-busting 90g/km emissions output.

Kit-wise, expect more safety features as they trickle down from the Lexus range and, for the US market at least, a solar roof panel that'll power up the aircon.

That new body shape is a bit prettier than the old one (really showed up Honda's dreary-looking Insight, don't you think?) and hours of wind tunnel work have also made it the slipperiest mass-produced car you can buy.

The new Prius will reach UK showrooms in the summer, by which time we'll know whether rumours of other body shapes will bear any fruit. Fancy a coupe Prius? How about a pick-up?

Also on the Toyota stand was the FT-EV, a fully-electric concept based on the iQ. It offers a 50-mile range and is said to demo new tech Toyota plans to put in mass production by 2012.

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.