It has not been a good couple of months for Toyota when it comes to the Prius. April 2019 saw zero units being sold. Zilch! And that is even with the updated Prius arriving in South Africa in March. It was only launched to some of the media now so let’s hope we can turn things around for Toyota.
The updates to the Prius are very minor. Just a few tweaks here and there to the front and rear including that of a revised lower grille, new slimline Bi-LED headlights and new tail lamps that mimic the headlight design. There is also a new wheel cover design and two new exterior colours which include Fierce Red and Sky Blue Metallic.
Inside you will now find a wireless cellphone charger as standard and new piano-black interior trim and console. Black leather is also now standard. The interior has always been a bit odd, but now with these slight changes, it feels more like Toyota. The comfort levels are excellent and the space for both front and rear passengers is generous. I had my in-laws in the back and they were more than happy, in fact, they were considering trading in their Corolla for the Prius. I reminded them that I do not come with the Prius as standard and so they would have to get used to not being chauffeured around.
There is no change to the 1.8-litre petrol engine that works together with two motor generators. It has just 100 kW of power and while it is the fuel consumption of 3.7-litres/100 km that is of importance, it is a shame that it isn’t following some of the other hybrid footsteps which prove that performance doesn’t really need to be sacrificed in pursuit of low economy. With that said, when driving the Prius, I found it to be pleasantly calming. It’s as if the silence in the cabin and lack of engine noise makes you want to just take it easy.
This is something to bear in mind when considering the Prius. It has no competitors and as a hybrid, is not exactly all about performance and figures. This car is for cruising and if you buy it for the right reasons, think environment and low emissions and consumption, there is no reason you won’t be happy with your purchase.
The cost of the one model line-up is R490 200 and it comes with a host of standard features that won’t leave you wanting for anything. Think smart entry, climate control, dual-zone cruise control, reverse camera, Heads UP Display (HUD), rain sensing wipers, 6-speaker touchscreen audio and auto-dimming interior mirror.
A 6-services/90 000 km service plan is included with intervals pegged at 15 000 km. The warranty period on general items is 3-year/100 000 km whilst the hybrid battery warranty is stipulated as 8-year/195 000km.
Let’s hope we see more Prius’s sold in the coming months. If you look at the rest of the world, we are certainly lagging. It’s time we caught up.