The fuel-sipping nameplate, a byword for eco-friendly driving since its 1997 debut, will not be a whole lot greener with the redesigned fifth generation. But it will sure be a whole lot meaner.
On tap is a new range of more powerful drivetrains with significantly more oomph and a zero to 100 kph (62 mph) sprint time as quick as 6.7 seconds. Total output, for the plug-in at least, should top 200 hp.
What is more, it's all wrapped in head-turning, sports-car-inspired sheet metal that rides on a new platform that is lower and wider for spunkier handling. The Prius family's familiar and polarizing wedge shape has actually morphed into something sexy.
Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, the so-called Father of the Prius who stunned the auto world by developing the first-generation hybrid, says the Prius is no longer a compromise car.
"We wanted to show we could maintain the efficiency and see a jump in performance," Uchiyamada told Automotive News. "We do not have to have a trade-off. We can do both."
Total horsepower jumps as much as 77 percent in the plug-in variant and up to 60 percent in the standard hybrid. That surge comes thanks to the introduction of Toyota's fifth-generation hybrid system, which gets a bigger engine, new battery and tweaked electric motor.
While Toyota did not offer fuel economy figures, it said overall miles per gallon will stay roughly the same. The plug-in's EV-only driving range, though, leaps by up to 50 percent.
The specifications released in Japan pertain to the global-market version, The redesigned Prius makes its U.S. debut Wednesday at the Los Angeles auto show.
Uchiyamada introduced the first-generation Prius under the slogan "Just in time for the 21st century." Today, a quarter-century later, the new catchphrase is "Hybrid Reborn."