Uber X drivers, rejoice! It's the new Toyota Prius! | Top Gear
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Uber X drivers, rejoice! It's the new Toyota Prius!

The world's most famous hybrid enters its fourth generation, and it's gone all pointy

Published: 09 Sep 2015

This is your first look at the new, fourth-generation Toyota Prius, a ground-up rework of the hybrid superstar that propelled dual-fuel into the Big Time back in the late Nineties.

Taking aesthetic inspiration from its gawky Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell sibling, the new Prius is quite an, um, arrestingly complex thing to behold.

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The front is pointier and lower than the last generation, with new, sharper headlights that make it look rather furrowed and angry. The Prius’s slabby side incorporates a few slashes and sculpts, with a blacked-out C-pillar to create the in-fashion 'floating roof' effect. At the back, you'll find tall 'boomerang' taillights integrated into a glass hatch that doubles up as a spoiler.  

Underneath, the MkIV Prius's chassis and double wishbone rear suspension system is all-new, part of Toyota’s ‘New Global Architecture’ (TNGA) platform. Think of it as Japan’s answer to VW’s highly successful MQB structure.

Like MQB, TNGA allows for a universal modular set of components to used on diverse cars. As VW has proved, this helps to cut down on development time while offering cost savings by effectively buying in bulk. Costco of the car world, if you will. 

Beyond that new platform, Toyota is remaining tight-lipped about the new Prius’s running gear and numbers. It’s more than likely that a revised and more efficient version of its 1.8-litre petrol engine is under the bonnet, coupled to a smaller but more energy-dense hybrid battery, all running through a CVT transmission.

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For better or worse, there’s no denying that the Toyota Prius has caused a seismic shift in the motoring landscape. When the first rolled off the line in 1997, few would have thought that over 3.5 million would have followed. But they have. And with Priuses now forming a family of products, expect plenty more plug-in and flexible-seating variants to follow. 

We’ll see this new fourth-generation with our very own eyes at next week’s Frankfurt motor show. You'll be seeing them scampering around cities picking up iPhone-enabled octogenarians or app-happy drunkards via a certain controversial taxi service early next year.

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