Toyota Prius Excel
What is it?
This fourth generation Toyota Prius boasts mechanical improvements and an all-new lighter, more rigid and efficient platform that we’re promised should equal a better driving experience. Have Toyota succeeded? We’ve tried the range-topping Excel trim to find out.
- The same 1.8-litre VVTi petrol, combined with an electric motor as last time, but power is up to 97bhp and 71bhp respectively, giving 0-62 acceleration in 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. In our opinion it’s the most smooth and refined Prius ever, but business users are going to be more interested in the 85.6mpg combined fuel figure, plus CO2 emissions of 76g/km. This means just an 11% tax band.
- New rear suspension, more precision to the steering and the lower centre of gravity when compared to the previous generation of Prius, means this latest Toyota hybrid really handles.
- The most daring and opinion-dividing feature of the new Prius has to be the looks. Clearly following in-line from its big brother, the hydrogen-powered Mirai, we like the large, distinctive rear light clusters.
- Inside, again we feel the bigger Mirai has influenced the look of the new Prius’s interior. The latest Prius’s interior is dominated by the central instruments and the touch-screen infotainment system. We’re not sure about all of the white plastic interior trim, but have to admit it lightens the interior. The driving position is comfy and the leather-trimmed seats comfortable and reasonably supportive. The extra 15mm length over the outgoing model is most welcome in the back, with plenty of head and legroom for three to be comfortable. Plus, it boasts a 457-litre boot, with the extra practicality of a split/fold rear seat.
- In top Excel trim, the Prius has plenty of the safety kit that’s expected by modern business buyers including, Toyota Safety Sense, a pre-collision system which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beam and road sign assist.
- The Prius’s handling might be sharp, but we don’t like the odd, nose-heavy feel in corners – this along with the leisurely acceleration is not sporty!
- We like the modern, uncluttered feel to the latest Prius’s interior, but like its big brother the Mirai, we question whether the materials used feel in-line with the test car’s £27,000+ list price.
- The Prius’s split rear tailgate might look smart, but it compromises rear vision.
- The latest Prius in our opinion works best as a cruiser, because if you work the 1.8-litre VVTi petrol hard, the CVT transmission still gives the impression that it’s being strangled! Then the engine becomes noisy and uncouth.
Verdict on the Toyota Prius Excel
Toyota claim they’ve improved the Prius’s drive in every way and they’re right. More efficient, better to drive, more refined, more comfortable and the curvy, like-it-or-loathe-it looks certainly make it stand out from rivals
£27,945 seems a lot to pay for our Prius Excel test car, but it’s well-equipped and in the long term, we’re sure that some of that expense could be offset with the lower running costs.
Certainly this Prius could be yours for under £290 a month business rental or just £49.50 a month benefit in kind as a company car for a 20% tax-payer.
The lowdown on: Toyota Prius Excel
|Doors and body style||Five-door hatch|
|Engine/gearbox:||1.8-litre 4cyl petrol Atkinson cycle + permanent magnet, synchronous electric motor /CVT auto transmission|
|Power/torque:||97 + 71bhp/142Nm|
…..and what it costs
|Monthly business rental (ex VAT)||£287.62|
|Road tax (VED)||£0 first year|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2016/17 to 2017/18||11%, 13%, 16%|
|Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2016/17||£2,969, £3,509, £4,319|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)||£488/£41|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)||£977/£81|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£594/£49.50|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£1,188/£99|
|Figures correct at time of posting||August 2016|
|For latest figures||Use our company car tax calculator|