The All-new 2016 Toyota Prius: It’s All About the TNGA

The Prius is the most successful hybrid car ever.  Period.  It’s name now means hybrid car, no matter what the brand of the hybrid is.

Prius has that”top-of-mind” awareness that marketers yearn for, where a product name becomes the standard term for the product.  It joins “Kleenex”, “Jet-Ski”, and “scotch tape” as the primary representative of the brand.

The fine people at Toyota, being good marketers, aren’t interested in ceding this advantage.  The newly redesigned all-new 2016 Toyota Prius is their statement that the car and the brand is not going away soon.

Now I’m sure you’ve looked at the video above and say to yourself “it still looks like a Prius.”  To which I would say “did you expect it to look like a Lamborghini?”

Toyota build a category on a hybrid engine and a distinctive look.  Don’t expect them to abandon that.  The 2016 Toyota Prius keeps the basic triangular shape, but tones down the quirky; smoothing lines in some places and adding them in others.  It borrows some design elements from the hydrogen powered Mirai.  Bottom line, it’s better looking than the millions that have come before it.

But the key to the new Prius is the TNGA, or Toyota New Global Architecture.  It’s Toyota’s newest modular powertrain and vehicle platform upon which all vehicles will sit.  Other car companies have deployed modular platforms.  The engineers in the Aichi Prefecture think that powertrains AND platforms must be developed in sync:

…To enhance driving performance and fuel efficiency while also giving vehicles more attractive styling and improved handling, Toyota is focusing on joint development of powertrains and platforms together to create a lower center of gravity, on making components lighter and more compact, and on applying unified design through modularization. By improving thermal efficiency in engines and energy-relay efficiency in transmissions, Toyota has increased the overall fuel efficiency of its powertrains by approximately 25 percent and overall power output by more than 15 percent. Also, by rethinking drive unit layout and making electric motors, inverters and batteries smaller, Toyota expects to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its hybrid vehicle systems by more than 15 percent….

 

TNGA means a Prius that is stiffer, wider and lower to the ground–the fundamental formula for a sports car.

The new Prius is 60 mm longer, 15 mm wider and 20 mm lower than the model it replaces, providing a much more planted on-road presence while also delivering more occupant and cargo room.

 

A class-challenging low center of gravity and completely new and far more responsive front and rear suspension package provides a significantly improved driving experience. The height of the Prius’ front badge is exactly the same as that of Toyota’s 86 sports car―an indication of the advancement made in achieving optimum reduction in height and mass.

 

The new front suspension and rear double wishbone suspension gives the new Prius a greater connection to the road, providing greater control and feedback in all driving conditions.

 

Improvements to chassis rigidity mean that the Prius is noticeably more responsive in corners. Whether going up a winding mountain road or urban terrain, the car’s handling is taken to an all-new level while maintaining excellent occupant comfort.

 

In addition to creating a dynamic, exciting driving experience, TNGA provides a high-strength framework and stiffened structure to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Additional reinforcements have been adopted to distribute side collision impact energy.

 

So will the new Prius drive like a Toyota 86?  No.

But it will drive a lot better than a Prius.

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Copyright 2015 Hybrid and Electric Car News

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Sebastian James

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