Revamped Prius goes on sale
MARIKO TAI, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor's remodeled Prius hybrid hit the market in Japan on Wednesday.
"We have thrown all sorts of technologies in to make it fun to drive," Mitsuhisa Kato, Toyota's executive vice president, told reporters in Tokyo.
The automaker says the car is 25% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, thanks to a revamped gasoline engine and a design that reduces air resistance. The company says the fourth-generation Prius can run 40.8km per liter of gas -- putting it among the world leaders on the mileage front, excluding plug-in hybrids.
Koji Toyoshima, the chief engineer for the Prius, said Toyota sought to create a car that would "appeal to all five senses." This included striving for smooth controls, a quiet cabin and doors that close with a satisfying thump.
The car is 2cm shorter at its tallest point than the third-generation model. The front of the hood is 7cm lower for improved driving stability.
The new Prius comes in nine colors, with prices in Japan ranging from 2.42 million to 3.39 million yen ($19,500 to $27,300). In its home market, Toyota is aiming for monthly sales of 12,000 units. It has already racked up about 50,000 orders since it started taking them in early November. Deliveries could take around three to four months.
The model goes on sale in North America and other Asian countries in January, followed by Europe in February.