Toyota Prius PHEV drives better

In the first four Prius generations, Prius form always followed function and power was subordinated to efficiency. Number five now shows a clear edge and doubles the power. Is the new plug-in gaining momentum?

No more boring cars! That's what the top Toyota chief promised. And he keeps his word. At least the Prius looks anything but boring for the first time in 25 years. Sounds good? Well, then: get in, please!

But be careful, in the rear you should duck your head because of the flat roof line and not be taller than 1.75 meters, otherwise you will bump into the roof lining. Why do you sit so high? Well, under the comfortable bench, the battery of the Prius, which is only offered as a plug-in hybrid, now stores 13.6 kWh, which should be enough for 86 electric kilometers according to WLTP. It also takes up less space here than in the trunk of its predecessor. That's why we can easily accommodate large luggage in the new model and could even completely level the backrest for bulky items.

, Prius feels higher quality

Everything safely stowed away? Then you can start with the sightseeing tour through Hamburg. Make yourself comfortable on the vegan leather and fully air-conditioned seat, although only the one on the driver's side can be adjusted electrically. The Japanese obviously copied the newly designed cockpit from France.

As in Peugeot's i-Cockpit, the instrument display spreads out close to the flat windscreen. This has to be operated via steering wheel buttons, which are just as numerous as they are confusing.

Toyota's new infotainment is tidier in the high-placed 12.3-inch touchscreen. To ensure that the system is always up-to-date, it can of course also be updated over the air. However, there is no inductive charging cradle for your smartphone here. Below the touchscreen, you press real climate control buttons here, which feel more premium than the rest of the very hard-plastic-heavy interior.

Toyota Prius howls under load

Better: The voice control system listens to the route guidance. So: "Drive to the Speicherstadt." The route is quickly programmed, and now it really starts. Put your foot on the brake pedal, press the start button and move the selector knob to the lower left to "D". The Prius gets going quickly, after all the permanently excited synchronous machine delivers 120 kW and offers 208 Nm of torque. The front wheels only have slight traction problems when starting off quickly when the similarly powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder turns on. ,

Depending on the driving mode, the hybrid drive with 223 hp system output now reacts more or less spontaneously to accelerator pedal commands and howls under load at constant speeds. According to the factory, it does the zero-hundred sprint in just 6.8 seconds, and the top speed is limited to 180 km/h.

Brake interventions - poorly metered pedal pressure - are rarely necessary in dense Hanseatic traffic, because the driver can increase the recuperation force by pulling the selector lever to "B". This energy recovery could be increased even further. But for that we would have to stop and dive into the depths of the on-board computer - unnecessary fuss. Especially since there is no real one-pedal feeling even at the highest level.

Many assistance systems make a lot of noise

Wait a minute: Are you ringing? No, that's not a new ringtone, but one of the more than 30 standard assistance systems. Although they can be switched off in their obtrusiveness, they are activated with every restart. Thank you dear EU! Yes, you say something, newly homologated cars now have to comply with all these annoying requirements. To do this, the Toyota automatically keeps its distance from other road users and stays safely in the middle of the lane.

And as we stroll past the Landungsbrücken in such a relaxed manner, it is striking how confusing the wedge-shaped Toyota is because of its flat A and C pillars. You have to bend over backwards to spot the "Michel". ,

Especially since the 19-inchers rumble badly over transverse joints on the wavy surface and bring unrest to the chassis. The MacPherson struts at the front and the double wishbone rear axle make an effort to cushion shocks. It's just stupid that the whole load starts to falter. And woe betide, we board corners a little faster. Then the driver has to readjust with the precise but callous steering.

In this country only as an expensive plug-in hybrid

But that has hardly bothered Prius drivers so far. And so we still have to talk about the price: the Prius will be available in Germany from mid-July from 45,290 euros. The almost fully equipped advanced version costs from 52,690 euros. ,

Conclusion

The new plug-in hybrid no longer plays a pioneering role, like the first Prius as a mass hybrid 25 years ago. Stronger than ever, driving dynamics remain a foreign word for the Toyota Prius. But it looks more coherent, useful and modern than last. That has its price. And how efficiently the plug-in drives has yet to be proven in the test.

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