Toyota Prius (2009–2016)

Model History

March 2009

The third generation Prius made its European debut with the next-generation of Hybrid Synergy Drive that sees power increased by 22 per cent to 134bhp, fuel economy by 10 per cent (72.4mpg official combined cycle) and CO2 emissions down 14 per cent at just 89g/km. There are three on-demand drive modes - EV, ECO and POWER while an xxceptionally low drag coefficient Cd 0.25 helps fuel efficiency further.

The new Prius's next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive system features comprehensive improvements with 90 per cent of the hybrid drive components redesigned to create a lighter, more compact system that delivers more power, uses less fuel in real-world conditions and which operates better in cold weather.

System power output was increased by 22 per cent, from 109bhp to 134bhp and, with performance to match a conventional 2.0-litre petrol vehicle, the Prius will accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 10.4 seconds. At the same time overall fuel economy was improved by 10 per cent, returning 72.4mpg in combined cycle driving. The adoption of a larger, 1.8-litre engine reduces the rpm during high-speed driving to give a 10 per cent gain in long-haul cruising fuel efficiency.

Prius easily exceeds the Euro 5 emissions standards, producing 89g/km of CO2. And when operating in EV mode at speeds up to 30mph, Prius uses no fuel and produces zero emissions. Unlike parallel or ‘mild' hybrids, which use supplementary electric motor power purely to boost petrol engine performance, or ‘series' hybrids, which rely on electric power alone to drive the wheels, the Prius is a full hybrid capable of operation in petrol and electric modes alone, as well as a combination of both.

The system comprises a 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, a powerful electric motor, a generator, a high-performance battery, a power control unit and a power split device, which uses a planetary gear set to combine and re-allocate power from the engine, electric motor and generator as required. A new four-cylinder, 1.8-litre VVT-i Atkinson cycle petrol engine replaces the 1.5-litre unit in current Prius. Generating 97bhp at 5200rpm and 142Nm of torque at 4000rpm, it delivers higher torque at lower revs - a reduction of 300rpm at 75mph - and combines quieter running with a 10 per cent improvement in long distance cruising fuel economy.

The 80bhp electric motor that works in tandem with the petrol engine to improve acceleration, and which powers the driven wheels alone when the vehicle is operating in EV mode. Compared to the motor used in the previous Prius, the motor is 20 per cent more powerful, yet 33 per cent smaller. During deceleration and under braking, the electric motor acts as a high-output generator to effect regenerative braking, optimising energy management in the Hybrid Synergy Drive system by recovering kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat as electrical energy for storage in the high-performance battery.

Output from the nickel-metalhydride Hybrid Synergy Drive battery, a proven reliable battery technology, has been increased to a maximum 27kW (+2kW), allowing the new Prius to be driven in EV mode, using electric motor power alone. The battery has been reduced in size to minimise impact on cabin space. The efficiency of its cooling system has been improved with a significant increase in fan capacity.

Significant improvements were made to the car's proportions and packaging. The overall length grew by 15mm to 4,460mm, all of which is accounted for by an increase in the front overhang; the wheelbase is unchanged at 2,700mm (same as new Toyota Avensis). Width is greater by 20mm at 1,745mm, helping give the car better stability and a more dynamic stance. To maintain aerodynamic efficiency, the overall height remains 1,490mm, but the highest point of the roof was moved further back to help improve rear seat headroom by 12mm. Bespoke 15 or 17-inch alloy wheels are available, both fitted with low rolling resistance tyres.

A new front seat design improves comfort and adjustability. The range of adjustment has been increased in every direction: base sliding distance increases by 20mm to 260mm and, using a side lever for easier operation, height adjustment is greater by 15mm at 60mm. Although the seats have better lumbar support, the seat back structure has been reduced in thickness by 35mm, giving more knee room for rear seat passengers. Active front headrests improve protection against whiplash injuries. The rear seats gain integrated headrests, giving the driver better rearward vision. There is also more legroom and 15mm more headroom.

Larger and additional storage has been provided, including 3.0-litre upper and 6.0-litre lower gloveboxes, a console tray beneath the dashboard ‘bridge' and a 3.7-litre centre armrest box, which contains a 12V power outlet and an audio mini-jack input socket. The luggage compartment has an additional 30 litres of space, up to 445 litres, thanks to the more compact and repackaged Hybrid Synergy Drive battery.

A solar ventilation system prevents the cabin air temperature from rising while the vehicle is parked. Solar panels integrated into the rear section of an optional sliding glass sunroof power an electric air circulation fan, with no need for the engine to be running. The first system of its kind to run on battery power alone, it reduces the cool-down time when the driver returns to the car, so minimising air conditioning use during start-up. In a world first, as part of the system, the air conditioning itself can be operated remotely using the key fob, letting the driver cool the car down up to three minutes before starting a journey.

Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) can help the driver negotiate parallel or series parking places. It uses a rear camera and ultrasonic sensors on the front wings to identify viable parking spaces and then input the appropriate steering angle. The system controls the steering to automatically guide the vehicle into the target parking position; no steering input is required from the driver, who simply controls vehicle speed during the manoeuvre. The system has been improved for new Prius, making it easier to use with significantly reduced operating time


01-09-2009: Prius went on sale in the UK An LED Tech Pack option is now available for the Prius, introduced in direct response to customer requests. Features include LED headlights with dusk-sensing function and washers, together with electrochromic auto-dimming rear view mirror and water-repellent treatment on side window glass.

June 2010

A lease demonstration of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) was launched in the UK in June 2010, as part of a worldwide evaluation programme. The Prius Plug-in functions as an electric vehicle on short trips and as a conventional hybrid when travelling longer distances. As with the standard Prius, it runs on both a petrol-powered internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

What sets it apart from its sister model and other hybrids is its use of a lithium-ion battery. This offers greater capacity, enabling an extended driving range in EV mode, using the car's electric motor alone, at speeds up to 62mph. It also has a battery charging function that lets users fully recharge their vehicle from an external source, such as an ordinary domestic electricity supply, in less than two hours.

The Prius Plug-in's enhanced EV mode offers significant benefits: compared to the standard Prius, it can run more frequently in electric-only mode, further reducing CO2 emissions andimproving fuel economy Official figures for the car featured in Toyota's demonstration programme are 59g/km and 108.6mpg.

July 2010

A new Safety Pack option was introduced which includes the Pre-Crash Safety system (PCS) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which use radar-based controls to help the driver avoid accidents happening, and minimise the consequences should the worst happen. The pack also includes leather upholstery, dusk-sensing headlights, LED low beam headlights with washers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and water-repellent front side window glass.

October 2010

'Street-sharp' special edition Prius with front, rear and side skirts, 17-inch smoked-finish alloys, dark-tinted privacy glass, high-quality black leather upholstery, embossed with the 10th anniversary logo. The new look belongs to a special edition model that celebrates the world-beating hybrid’s first 10 years in the UK. The new Toyota Prius 10th Anniversary remains as fuel-frugal and tax-friendly as its more sober-suited stablemates, with 70.6mpg and 92g/km combined cycle consumption and CO2 emissions.

Prius 10th Anniversary shares the same equipment specification as the top-of-the-range T Spirit model, so comes equipped with HDD satellite navigation (with integrated sound library), rear parking monitor, Bluetooth, Intelligent Park Assist, cruise control, smart entry and start, rain-sensing wipers and head-up display.

Only 1,000 examples are to be built, making this the most exclusive production Prius yet. White Pearl or Astral Black exterior paint finishes are available, and the on-the-road price is £26,150, inclusive of VAT at 20%. Orders are being taken from October 2010, with first deliveries to customers January/February 2011.

March 2011

Toyota aimed to bring Prius Plug-in to the global market in the second half of 2012 and in preparation for this around 600 vehicles took part in demonstration lease programmes worldwide, including 20 in London. These projects are designed to assess every aspect of real-world use and verify the car’s overall environmental and technological performance before going on sales

Initial feedback from European lease project customers is very encouraging. Most of those surveyed have reported that the car exceeds their expectations, in many cases by a significant degree. Two thirds have expressed themselves fully satisfied with the car’s EV driving range.

April 2011

Airport taxi service Checker Cars took delivery of the first of an order for 80 Toyota Prius cars. The five full hybrid hatchbacks arrived at the company’s Stansted, Essex office in early March to take their place in an existing fleet of 80 MPVs, and will be followed by 10 more at Stansted over the next two months.

Checker Cars employs 1000 drivers and is the official taxi operator not only at London Stansted but at Gatwick, Bristol, Cardiff and Southampton international airports. The company also services London Heathrow from an off-airport office.

The Toyota Prius in T4 form offers low carbon dioxide emissions of 92g/km and it's low stress, simplified drivetrain has proven extremely reliable with trouble free mileages of 400,000 + being recorded.

As a full hybrid, this means Prius can be powered solely by the electric motor at lower speeds which means zero fuel consumption and zero emissions. Standard features on the T4 five-door hatchback include Bluetooth, heads-up display, seven airbags, electric windows front and rear, 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers and cruise control. In addition, Checker Cars has specified the leather option pack.

August 2011

Toyota debuted the production version of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid features a new, more compact lithium-ion battery which has been developed to meet Toyota’s rigorous standards for reliability. The new battery offers extended EV (electric power only) range, enabling the Prius PHEV to achieve the remarkable fuel efficiency of 128.4mpg* and to lower CO2 emissions to 49 g/km*, almost half the standard Prius.

While debate continued over the relative merits of electric cars, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers drivers the best of both worlds; extended EV driving range for shorter journeys in towns and cities, while the efficient hybrid petrol engine gives the car uncompromised long range capability and the very low fuel consumption of the standard Prius.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid represents the latest development of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system. This trusted and reliable full hybrid technology has a track record earned through worldwide sales of over two million cars and billions of miles of driving.

The new Prius Plug-in becomes the flagship of the Prius range, a showcase for new technologies and further advances in hybrid technology. In 2012 it will join an expanded Toyota hybrid range consisting of the Prius, the British-built Auris hybrid, the new, seven-seat Prius+ and the new Yaris hybrid, demonstrating Toyota’s commitment to introduce Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to the wider market.

January 2012

Third-generation Prius improved from March 2012 UK deliveries. It continues to deliver 89g/km CO2 emissions on petrol – the lowest level in its class – and combined cycle fuel economy of 72.4mpg (the figures for models running on 17-inch wheels remain 92g/km and 70.6mpg).

For 2012 the front of the Prius was given a new Tioyota corporate look, while in the cabin there are new front seats, new upholstery and new soft-touch surfaces that combine to give a higher quality feel.

Equipment levels were raised, notably with the introduction of the Toyota Touch touchscreen control system in all grades. The advanced Toyota Touch & Go Plus multimedia and navigation system is a standard feature on Prius T Spirit and an option on T3 and T4. This brings with it Bluetooth, a rear-view camera, USB port and an on-board connectivity feature that allows access to a raft of on-line information services sourced through Google Local Search using a compatible mobile phone.

Extra stiffness in the bodyshell and changes to the suspension and steering column have improved comfort and steering feel.

UK sales of the revised Prius began in March 2012, with on-the-road prices from £21,350. Later in the year Prius will grow, with the introduction of the ultra-efficient Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Prius+, the world’s first seven-seat full hybrid MPV.

The new styling brings a new bumper and a larger lower grille that gives the vehicle a low and wide look. There are new clear-lens headlights and the LED daytime running lights have been relocated in the bumper beneath the turn indicators, while the foglights move to within the lower grille.

T Spirit models now use LED headlamps, which come with a washer system, while all versions gain new power-folding heated door mirrors. At the rear the combination lamps have a new look, and there are new-design wheelcaps for the 15-inch wheels on the T3model. The 2012 Prius is available in eight exterior colours, including new Dark Blue and Cabernet Red metallic.

New, darker materials are used for the dashboard and T4and T Spirit models gains a new black seat trim. Silver inserts have been added to the centre console and air vents and the hybrid system start button gains blue illumination. The front seats are new and offer wider adjustment, both fore and aft and in height range, making it easier for the most comfortable driving position to be achieved.

The centre console box now has a built in cupholder that can be used without having to open the box lid. The 12V power socket, USB port and AUX audio input terminal have been moved to the front of the box for easier use. All models adopt the innovative Toyota Touch touchscreen system for audio, multimedia connectivity and Bluetooth, plus a rear-view camera.

T Spirit versions are fitted with the Touch & Go Plus premium package with satellite navigation, advanced traffic pattern intelligence on programmed routes, voice recognition for calls, music search and play, and phone contacts search and call functions. The system’s connectivity allows access to Google Local Search (using a compatible mobile phone, and pre-registration via a Toyota customer portal) to obtain useful information on navigation locations and services such as live parking and fuel prices.

Touch & Go Plus also provides a text-to-speak function and, using Gracenote, “play more like this” audio selection. The satellite navigation is supported by three years’ free map updates, with two updates a year.

Toyota Touch Pro is available as part of the optional Technology Pack for T Spirit. This provides increased functionality and more advanced features, including 3D representations of landmarks; lane guidance and an automatic zoom at intersections; speed limit and TPEG traffic flow data, and parking, weather and fuel price information. It also provides a better interface and functionality for connection and playback from iPods and other digital music players, and allows route points-of-interest (POI) to be searched and uploaded from the Google Local Search database.

For 2012, T Spirit grade includes water-repellent glass, dusk-sensing LED headlamps with washers, and an auto-dimming electrochromatic rear-view mirror.

Changes have also been made to the multi-information display (on all models) to make images clearer and simpler to understand. New functions have been added including a monthly fuel consumption record, with a rolling archive of five months’ data, and an ECO savings calculator. The calculator works by the driver inputting a target consumption figure and fuel price; the system records the driving time during which consumption is lower than the target and calculates a monthly saving compared to the expected fuel cost..

February 2012

Toyota announced the official EU CO2 emissions and economy figures for the new Prius Plug-In Hybrid. The car emits 49g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle and travels 134.5 miles on one gallon of petrol, making it the most efficient Toyota ever on British roads.

Toyota’s engineers have improved the car’s EV driving range to 15.5 miles. And, at only 90 minutes using a conventional plug, recharging is quicker than any other electric vehicle on the market today. When the EV battery is depleted, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid automatically switches into HV mode, delivering CO2 emissions of 85 g/km and economy of 76.4mpg, an improvement on the emissions and fuel economy of the standard Prius. This leading performance helps to deliver a total driving range of 769 miles.

April 2012

Satnav system allows speed camera warnings to be switched off for travel through France.

April 2012

Prius Plug-in offers all the familiar virtues of Prius, and then some. Like its sister model, it is powered by a smooth, refined and ultra-efficient full hybrid powertrain, but thanks to new, rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology, it can cover longer distances and reach higher speeds on electric power alone, cutting tailpipe emissions to zero. And unlike all-electric vehicles, once the charge in the battery is used up, the car switches seamlessly to its hybrid system, so the driver need have no anxiety about journey distances.

As a result, Prius Plug-in achieves a new low benchmark in its class for official CO2 emissions, 49 g/km.

Recharging the battery is simple and speedy, using a power point linked to a standard domestic or workplace supply, or an on-street charging point. Prius Plug-in comes with a charging cable set as standard, including five metres of cabling, that can be stored neatly in a dedicated area beneath the boot floor. Toyota has teamed up with British Gas as its UK partner which can provide both fleet and retail customers with site surveys and install the appropriate hardware.

Prius Plug-in is offered with a single equipment specification that, true to the car’s reputation for user-friend technology, includes a generous range of advanced features. These include LED daytime running lights and headlights; Toyota Touch and Go Plus with touchscreen controls, satellite navigation, voice recognition, rear-view camera and advanced Bluetooth for phone connection and audio streaming, a DAB digital tuner, eight-speaker JBL sound system, rain-sensing wipers and cruise control.

Heated front seats, 15-inch alloy wheels with wheel caps and leather steering wheel trim are also included in the package. Black leather upholstery (£1,500) and rear privacy glass (£270) are available as options, together a Protection Pack (rear parking sensors and boot liner) and a Style Pack (exterior chrome trim elements), both at £360.

Four exterior colours make up the palette for Prius Plug-in, led by Sky Blue (metallic), a new shade exclusive to the model. Tyrol Silver and Novus Grey metallics and White Pearl Pearlescent are also available. In the cabin the upholstery is Minowa black fabric with optional Setana black leather.

The on-the-road price for Prius Plug-in is £32,895, but this falls to £27,895 with the benefit of the £5,000 Government grant available on new vehicle purchases, provided through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

The organisation of the grant element of the purchase will be undertaken by the Toyota Centre handling the sale Toyota (GB) and OLEV, placing no burden on the customer. The price the customer pays will include the grant, so he or she will not have to claim the money back after purchase. Toyota’s UK sales network is well experienced in handling this kind of arrangement, having handled similar processes for the previous PowerShift grants for hybrid vehicles and the Government’s scrappage scheme.

July 2012

Final price for Prius Plug-in announced of £28,630 after £5,000 OLEV grant. For company car drivers Prius Plug-in attracts a 5 per cent benefit-in-kind tax rating for the first three years, rising to 13 per cent in year four. For fleet operators it benefits from a 100 per cent write-down allowance in the first year. And for all owners, the 49g/km CO2 figure means there is no annual road tax (VED) bill to pay, plus exemption from theLondon congestion charge.

June 2015

1,324 Toyota Plug-in Prius sold between 2012 and May 2015.

What does a Toyota Prius (2009 – 2016) cost?

Contract hire from £224.63 per month