Posted by John on Mon 19-Jan-2009
Full details on the new model 2009 Prius have been released by Toyota, although we will not see it in Australia until around August/September this year.
As expected, the overall look is very much along the lines of the current NHW20, although most panels have been changed for a sleeker, slightly more angular look which has even better aerodynamics. The front is the most changed, there is a stronger body line crease, and the roofline has been re-profiled. The rear is also more angular, and has all-new tail lights. Two sizes and styles of alloy wheels are offered, a 15″ and a 17″. A moonroof incorporating solar cells which power a ventilation system for cooling while the car is parked is also available. LED lights are now used for the low-beam headlights as well as the rear lights.
Mechanically, a new 1.8 litre petrol motor links with a redesigned and lighter Hybrid Synergy Drive to deliver more than 20% more power while using 10% less fuel than the NHW20. The Prius petrol motor is the first to have a belt-less design, with the water pump now being electrically driven, as is the air-conditioning. The air-conditioning can now be turned on remotely from the key fob so the car is cool when you enter it. Main traction battery remains Nickel-metal Hydride in construction.
In some markets, park assist is offered, whereby the car literally parks itself. Prius cruise control now incorporates radar guidance. This can be shown on the dash display, but monitors the car’s distance from any objects ahead and adjusts speed to maintain a safe distance from them.
The Prius interior is new, with 9 airbags standard, and the previous central screen display incorporated into a flowing console extension linking the centre console and the dash proper. Energy monitoring, fuel consumption, and a range of other info displays can be selected in the main instrument display just below the windscreen. These displays are selected by thumb buttons on the new steering wheel. The new console also incorporates the navigation system (when fitted), climate control screen and controls, and the audio system screen and controls. It also houses the redesigned gear selector. An overhead console incorporates interior lights, moonroof controls (when fitted), and a button to activate Toyota’s SOS emergency assistance system. Seats are new, with more pronounced side bolsters and scalloped-out backs for more support and greater rear kneeroom. There is also more rear seat headroom thanks to the new roof profile. Two gloveboxes are retained, along with the usual array of drink holders, bins etc, and an I-pod socket in the centre console. A lot of the plastics and seat materials used in the new Prius are plant-derived rather than using petroleum – thus extending the Green image.
It will be interesting to see what standard equipment Toyota Australia specifies for our market, and what optional accessories we are offered. Pricing, of course, will not be announced until just prior to release, so we have to wait for that. Hopefully the world economic crisis might have settled a little by then.
Enjoy the photo album of the new Prius, you can link to it here….