Toyota Prius S

Toyota Prius Review: “If you’re getting the S Grade, I recommend that you mount it with 15-inch tires” by Naoki Aoyama

The all-new Prius has an extremely high fuel efficiency with 40.8km/L. However, the 40.8km/L fuel efficiency is only available in the special E-Grade, as its standard grade only has 37.2km/L (and 34km/L for the E-Four). Even so, since the previous generation model has only 32.6km/L, its fuel efficiency has indeed become even better.

The all-new Prius’ HV battery is composed of an NiMH battery that has better temperature stability than the conventional kind, and a Li-ion battery that generates efficacy, just like that of an EV, with its high value. The S-Grade adopts a NiMH battery, while the special model E-Grade with advanced fuel efficiency adopts a Li-ion battery. In terms of weight, the Li-ion battery is lighter by 15.8kg.

I test drove the standard S-Grade, which costs 2,479,091 yen and has an FF layout.

For owners of the previous generation Prius model, you would certainly be impressed that it yields a great difference, as perceived when you turn it at intersections and curved areas.

The dull steering operability due to direct shocks (including sound and vibration) on the roads, which was the disadvantage of the previous generation model, has also been improved.

It has gentle ride quality and is stable and flexible on bumpy and rough roads with its 15 inch tires that have full air pressure. Thus, it doesn’t have unpleasant heavy shocks, which exist in the previous generation model. Comparing it with the previous generation model, it felt like I was riding on a car that is two grades higher.

Moreover, it allowed me to turn directions as I pleased while I was steering it. This is because its wheel rim is wider (from 6J to 6.5J) and has higher rigidity. Also, when I compare it to the 17-inch tires of the A Touring Selection that I rode later on, there were no major differences between their steering operability on regular roads. I also tried the Touring Selection mounted with 17-inch tires, but there weren’t any opportunities to drive it on mountain roads, so frankly, I would recommend that you use the 15-inch tires.

Another reason for that is that there is a high level of quietness that only exists in a car with 15-inch tires. Its 15-inch tires and wheels were developed as a set. The interior part of its wheel was padded with noise suppressor in order to negate the noise frequency.

It has mild power performance with the eco mode. The all-new Prius has excellent fuel efficiency, if we are to compare it with the previous generation model, so it made me think that its normal mode that has adequate acceleration response should be made standard. With that, it can generate more than enough power performance and acceleration performance as a Prius car. (The acceleration from zero to 100km in the previous generation model was 10.8 per seconds, while the all-new Prius has an acceleration of 11 seconds.)

Acceleration when in high areas of the city felt comfortable. Stepping on the accelerator and subsequently producing acceleration felt great.

Its actual fuel consumption when I drove it for about 40 minutes along the highway near Minato Mirai 21, Yokohama up to Yokohama Line was 28km/L, back and forth. The fuel efficiency of the previous generation model when I passed through the same route was 22km/L, so I can simply say that the fuel performance of a hybrid vehicle is extraordinary and astounding.

However, I also have concerns regarding some points. First, it doesn’t have a one-touch blinker, and the base of its A-Pillar and panels around the door mirror were made of black resin material (I prefer these to be embellished with glossy black coating to have better material feel). These cause imbalance, considering its more advanced design.

Furthermore, is the all-new Prius a pet-friendly car? I let my dog embark and disembark the vehicle. The aperture of its backdoor was reduced by 10mm, but it still has a current width of 680mm; thus, it would be a bit narrow for them if they pass through this area. However, dogs (even older ones) can easily embark and disembark the car because its height from the ground was made lower by 40mm, from 600mm of the previous generation model. The car’s running performance (silent, smooth and has low ground clearance) is also very dog-friendly.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior / Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★
Pet-friendliness: ★★★★

Naoki Aoyama | Motor Journalist/ Dog Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer specializing on automotive magazines, and then of general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication related to pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program, as well as events. He is currently expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is a Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee member.

(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)