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Next Toyota Prius to sip below 4.0L/100km

Better return: Toyota's Prius will be more fuel efficient than the previous generation.

Toyota’s third-generation Prius hybrid will be 0.5L/100km more economical

9 Mar 2009

TOYOTA has proclaimed its next-generation Prius hybrid hatch will be Australia’s “greenest” car when it goes on sale here in July.

European fuel consumption and emissions data released at last week’s Geneva motor show reveal the new Prius will return combined average fuel economy of just 3.9L/100km in Europe, while emitting only 89g/km of CO2.

Given the similarities between Australia’s and Europe’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions test standards, Toyota Australia expects the third-generation model to reclaim the Prius’ mantle as Australia’s most environmentally-sensitive new vehicle.

While the current-generation Prius officially returns 4.4L/100km in both Europe and Australia (0.5L/100km more than its successor), the new model will officially lower its CO2 emissions by 15g/km in Europe – from 104 to 89g/km.

The CO2 emissions output of Australia’s current Prius is stated at 106g/km – good enough for Toyota’s petrol-electric icon to top the federal government’s official Green Vehicle Guide, which ranks new vehicles in a star rating based on manufacturer’s greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions figures.

The outgoing Prius lies second on the official government list behind Smart’s ForTwo, but sits ahead of the Fiat 500, Fiat Punto and Toyota’s Yaris light-car.

Toyota’s press release points out that its full-size, five-seat Prius, which employs a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that requires regular unleaded petrol, was “pipped by a solitary gram by a two-seat car with a three-cylinder, one-litre petrol engine requiring premium unleaded fuel”.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota Prius. Below: Toyota's David Buttner.

It says that despite a 20 per cent improvement in performance from its larger-capacity (circa-100kW) 1.8-litre engine, the new Prius will bring a 14 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions, as well as a 10 per cent fuel consumption reduction.

Toyota highlights the fact that only one other petrol-powered vehicle sold in Europe achieves a sub-100g/km CO2 figure – Toyota’s own iQ, which is under consideration for release in Australia – and that none of the Green Vehicle Guide’s five-star performers are diesel vehicles.

It stresses that diesel vehicles – some of which offer fuel economy that rivals that of the Prius and iQ – are generally regarded by the Green Vehicle Guide as being ‘dirtier’ than comparable petrol or LPG vehicles because they produce particulates and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) that can cause a range of adverse health effects.

For the record, the turbo-diesel Mini Cooper D will match the new Prius’ 3.9L/100km fuel consumption figure when it goes on sale here in June, while its European CO2 emissions rating is identical to Europe’s current Prius at 104g/km.

Toyota Australia’s senior executive director of sales and marketing, David Buttner said current Prius customers already knew they could drive an environmentally sound car without sacrificing space, comfort or performance.

“The next-generation car takes a further leap forward with an improved Hybrid Synergy Drive system that increases performance at the same time as cutting emissions to levels never before seen in Australia.

“New Prius will send a clear message to car buyers about saving money at the petrol pump while being kinder to the environment.

“Prius is an essential part of Toyota's development towards its global goal of sustainable mobility.”

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