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Toyota Prius 2006

Broadcast date : 2nd July 2006

The first tentative steps towards offering an environmentally sound motorcar in this country were taken by Toyota, who announced that you could lease the acclaimed Prius back at the beginning of 2005.

The fact that you had to return the electro-petrol powered vehicle after four years was seen by most people as too big a commitment to reducing smog emissions, with lease costs in the R4000 a month bracket over a four-year period.

But Toyota, like many Japanese, American and European manufacturers is aware that something has to be done.

Not only did Toyota offer the Prius Hybrid at the very reasonable price of R269000, but it also took the opportunity to sharpen up the package with a beautifully-trimmed leather interior, as well as a very advanced and easy-to-use Satellite Navigation system. Itís a thoroughly modern luxury hatch with acres of interior room.

The hybrid power plant gives you 57 kiloWatts of petrol power, and an additional 50 kilowatts of electric power. This means itís none too shabby in the performance department. Different, maybe, but not slow.

Quiet enough to hear the birds and smooth enough to smell the roses. Yes, you canít help but become environmentally aware in the whispering Prius.

The gentle touch applied to the accelerator activates the energy monitor. It becomes an on-going challenge in the Prius to generate more battery-charging energy than the fuel you are using.

At the heart of car is a planetary gear transmission which effortlessly switches between electric, petrol and battery generator mode. The drive to the wheels is via a constantly variable transmission, so there are no gears to worry about.

The only down side is some intrusive engine noise when accelerating hard. But Car Torque has averaged about 6,3 litres per hundred during a mix of town and fast country driving, and that counts for a lot.

Toyota Prius Hybrid

  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol 1 497 cc / electric 500 V
  • Power: 57 kW @ 5 000 rpm / 50 kW @ 1 200 rpm
  • Torque: 115 Nm @ 4 000 rpm / 400 Nm @ 0-1 200 rpm
  • Transmission: Epicyclic CVT
  • 0-100 km/h: 12,35 seconds (Car Magazine)
  • Top speed: 171 km/h (Car Magazine)
  • Fuel consumption: 6,3 litres/100 km (Car Torque average)
  • Price: R269 000
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