|The 2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco.|
And then one day, you decide to roll the dice. Push the envelope. Instead of another smoothing of the existing design, you dare to dare. Even the propulsion system, praised for delivering on its EPA estimate of 51 city/48 highway no longer looks good enough. You swing for the bleachers.
|2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco.|
|2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid Powertrain.|
Altogether, the changes add up to a remarkable year-to-year leap in fuel efficiency, according to EPA estimates. The 2016 Prius should be good for 54 miles per gallon city---an increase of three miles per gallon from last year---and 50 miles per gallon highway---up from 48 in 2015.
Our tester was the Prius Two Eco, which has even higher EPA estimates---58 city/53 highway. That additional improvement was accomplished by still more aggressive weight savings. The primary nickel-metal hydride battery has been replaced by a lithium-ion one which can now fit under the rear seat instead of under the luggage floor. That moves weight closer to the center of the car, improving ride and handling, and allows for a lower cargo floor, meaning more things can be carried in the back of the Prius Two Eco. That alone saved 35 pounds. Another 30 was shaved off by deleting the rear window wiper and eliminating the space-saver spare and jack. In their place, you'll find a tire repair and inflator kit.
It all paid off. In a week's worth of driving in less than ideal conditions, including constant A/C use in the first week of July in Phoenix, Arizona, I averaged 54.7.
|2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco interior.|
There are six models of 2016 Prius, and by that we mean the Prius, not the Prius V or Prius C or Prius Plug-In, which are all considered separate. The base price range begins at $24,200 for the Prius Two and ends at an even $30,000 for the Prius Four Touring. Our test vehicle, the one-step-up and more economical Prius Two Eco, starts at $24,700 and our test vehicle came optionless, so with $835 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price was $25,535.
However you feel about the new look---there seem to be fewer new ones on the road than you might think, and Toyota is offering $1,700 cash back on the 2016 Prius, which might indicate some resistance---the 2016 Prius is a major improvement in every other respect. We're looking forward to driving the other models in the lineup.