2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

Prius is on sale in the Middle East, and we’ve driven it! Is this the car that will save motoring as we know it?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius is now available officially in the region for the first time (we’ve actually got it before some other markets like the UK). It has gone on sale in the UAE available in two trims: Dynamic at AED89,900 ($25k) and the Iconic at AED97,900 ($27k).

Here’s our quick first drive review of the car from the launch yesterday in a rain-soaked Media City in Dubai.

Now I’ve gone on (video) record to say that I think in the short term future the solution for alternative fuel motoring is hybrid technology (watch by clicking below). So this is a welcome arrival to our shores.

I hasten to add though that hybrids have been available in the region for some time, from the likes of Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and even Porsche as well as others. But the Prius is the most high-profile and well-know of all such vehicles.

The Darling of the Hollywood eco-conscious  celebs has been around since 1997 and Toyota has sold 3.5 million of these in that time. This is the fourth generation of the car and they’ve had some practice at getting this engine/electric technology right.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

In fact I remember driving the first generation Prius and it was a bit of a disaster on the motorway, constantly searching for what mode or gear it should be in and making for very uneven progress. The second generation was a little better.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

Of course by 2016 (nearly 20 years later), they’ve pretty much got it perfected. Not that we could tell much during our very short drive in traffic and bizarre weather from JBR to Media City in Dubai.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

But it’s certainly extremely smooth and refined with only the indication on that expansive central display panel alerting you to what the car is actually doing the skin.

There’s a 95bhp 105lb ft 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine running on an efficient Atkinson cycle up front and this works together with an electric motor for a combined power of 121bhp powering the front wheels through a CVT transmission.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

It should be good for 0-100kph in 10seconds and a top speed of 180kph. Fuel consumption is, as you’d expect, incredible thrifty at a possible 3.8L/100km (combined 4.5L/100km).

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

Of course we couldn’t test any of that, but I can tell you that there the fabulously futuristic cabin is very appealing with a light, airy and spacious feel that remains inviting even in the rear, where my tall lanky frame was accommodated with ease.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

The boot’s not too bad either, though a raised floor (beneath which sit the batteries) rob it of some space. Is the car heavy? Not as much as you’d think, tipping the scales at 1380kg.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

All-round visibility is not bad (though there is a bar across the rear that may provide a slight obstruction, the steering is very light and easy if feel-less, acceleration appears strong enough for commuter duties, and it’s generally very quiet and comfortable in this car with a decent ride.

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

Stay tune for a more detailed review soon on Motoring Middle East!

2016 Toyota Prius – The Specs

Price:
Dynamic AED89,900 ($25k)
Iconic AED97,900 ($27k)
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder Hybrid, 121bhp, 120lb ft from electric motor
Transmission: CVT Auto, Front-wheel drive
Performance: 0-100kph 10 seconds, Top Speed 180kph, 4.5L/100km
Weight: 1380kg

Let us know what you think of the 2016 Toyota Prius below in the comments!

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive

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