According to Toyota the latest Prius also offers an enhanced value proposition with additional specification valued at R32 000 with no increase in the recommended retail price of R269 000.
Minor changes on Prius include new taillights
Exterior changes include the addition of a front spoiler below the valance, a change to a chromed moulding from body colour for the insert above the front bumper, additional identification as a hybrid vehicle, and revised front and rear light clusters.
Interior revisions are more substantial. Heading up the list is the addition of satellite navigation as a standard feature, the first time that this has been made available on a Toyota in South Africa.
Leather trim is also now standard and the backing of the rear seat has been increased by 50mm in width and the hip point has been lowered for improved comfort.
The look and feel of the dashboard is enhanced by the addition of embossed leather trim and soft padding inserts.
Auxiliary switches have been revised for improved visual appeal and the transmission shift indicator is enhanced for improved visibility.
Toyota says that the addition of the SatNav system comes after lengthy trials. Route finding is a simple process using a touch screen for inputs. Ten methods are available to search for a destination and route to it.
A full keyboard is available on screen to search by address, intersection, motorway entry or exit, or point of interest (POI).
Waypoints can be stored in memory for later access, previously accessed points can be recalled.
Points of interest near the cursor or vehicle location can be searched and points of interest can even be searched by phone number with a huge number of these points stored together with their phone numbers on the system?s database.
A destination can also be selected by locating it on the map with the cursor, or by entering the co-ordinates if these are known. A user can register home or frequently used destinations to allow for a one-touch route search option.
The multi-map screen offers versatility in the choice of just how the driver wants the navigational information displayed.
The single map screen offers a broad overview of the vehicle?s position while the dual map screen offers this broad view together with a zoomed view down to street level. The zoom function is also available to provide detailed visual representations of intersections and the route to be followed through them.
The Motorway mode and upcoming turn list provide a listing of upcoming turns and there is a compass function too.
The audio system, compatible with MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) CD formats, features Bluetooth and there is an audio ?mini-jack? too which allows the connection of external devices such as iPods.
Under the skin
So what is the Prius all about, and how does it work?
Essentially, it's a car with an ultra-clean petrol engine that also has an electric motor, and the two are linked by a very clever computer so they can work together.
That means that when you first pull away, you're on electric power, getting the benefit of 400 Nm of torque from zero revs. Later, while still accelerating, the petrol engine joins the fray, so you get the added thrust of the 115 Nm of torque from the advanced 1.5-litre DOHC 16-valve VVTi.
And when you've topped 45 km/h, the petrol engine takes over completely, and at the same time starts to top up the electric motor's batteries.
Or, if you're in thick traffic the car will run on electric power only as you creep forward, with the petrol motor only kicking in when the batteries start to go flat.
You can even elect to run on battery power only you can do so, though your range is limited to one or two km, and top speed can be no more than 45 km/h.
Outside those parameters the petrol engine kicks in again.
The electric motor produces 50 kW between 1 200 and 1 500 r/min and has 400 Nm of torque from rest to 1 200 r/min, while the engine, which only runs when you press the accelerator (otherwise it shuts off) gives 57 kW at 5 000 r/min and 115 Nm of torque at 4 000 r/min.
Price: R269 000
The Prius comes standard with an 8-year/195 000km service plan included in the price. Toyota?s standard 3 year/ 100 000km warranty applies with 24-hour roadside assistance available during the warranty period.