Now that Toyota has started selling its Prius hybrid here, we have started giving more attention to news about the badge. The Prius C, which is the third and smallest member of the Prius family, has been the top selling new car in Japan over the last few years. Now Toyota has revealed a refresh for the baby Prius, with the 2017 model getting some performance and safety upgrades.
Cosmetic changes include a new front fascia, which looks more aggressive than before with a blacked-out hexagonal grille, black side rocker panels, rear bumper, and rear spoiler. It also gets alloy wheels as standard while the previous model had steel wheels in all trim except the top model.
The hybrid powertrain remains the same, with a 73 horsepower, 111Nm, 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with an electric motor to produce a total system output of 99 horsepower. But the big news is the extensive suite of safety technology that Toyota has incorporated into this compact, Yaris-sized hatchback. Dubbed Safety Sense-C, this safety package focuses on three key areas of driver assistance; preventing or mitigating frontal collisions, helping maintain driving within their lane, and enhancing road safety during nighttime driving. These include Pre-collision System, which operates at vehicle speeds of up to 137kph, and automatically applies the brakes if it senses an imminent collision, and reduces speed by up to a claimed 31kph to lessen the impact. Add to this the Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam, the Prius C becomes one of the safest in this class.
Toyota has also announced that it plans to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all models by the end of this year. This is in anticipation of the model-year 2022 industry target announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for automakers to incorporate this technology into their cars.