We’re finally beginning to get some real details about the new 2016 Toyota Prius that’s built on Toyota’s new TNGA platform. It’s being loaded with new technology from its improved hybrid powertrain to a new chassis and then some. All of this helps explain how the new Prius will get about 10-percent better fuel economy than the current model — and that comes out to around 55 mpg. Toyota says that gives the fourth-generation Prius the highest fuel economy of any vehicle that’s not a plug-in.
The biggest technology to note is the completely re-engineered 1.8-liter VVT-i-engine that achieves 40-percent thermal efficiency, as well as its newly developed lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride batteries. Yes, for the first time, the Prius will come with a choice of batteries. Toyota’s also boosted the energy density of both, which means you can crank more power out of a smaller battery unit. (This also allowed Toyota to move the battery to beneath the rear seat, increasing cargo space.)
The new Prius won’t weigh as much either because its hybrid system is both smaller and lighter. Extensive changes to the transaxle, engine and combined hybrid system, generate an expected 10 percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, with an Eco model that will achieve an even greater improvement. Toyota says there’s also a better exhaust gas recirculation system and improvements in combustion efficiency. Lower friction in the piston skirts, rotating parts and the oil pump also help as does the use of low-viscosity oil.
In terms of driving dynamics, Toyota says its new TNGA chassis increases body torsional rigidity by more than 60 percent. Combine that with a lower center of gravity, a new double wishbone rear suspension, and more high-tensile strength steel and it sounds like quite a change from the third-generation model.
For all the nitty gritty details check out Toyota’s full press release.
Photo Credit: Toyota