Toyota Prius
Handling enhancements and leather option for Prius

You might have thought a rack of international awards, acres of positive press and soaring sales would have been rewards enough to convince Toyota that it had achieved an all-round success with Prius, a car that’s steadily reshaping the way people think about environmentally-aware motoring.

Such an assumption ignores the principle of kaizen - continuous improvement - a philosophy that is at the heart of everything Toyota does. So despite the fact Prius has claimed both the 2005 European Car of the Year title and the International Engine of the Year award, and achieved excellent market performance in the UK and around the world, Toyota engineers have focused on how they can make it an even better car.

The result is a number of small but effective adjustments that improve Prius’s all-round dynamic performance with better roadholding and steering feel and lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Body rigidity has been increased and the springs and dampers have been tweaked, delivering greater straight-line stability and ride comfort. Fine-tuning of the electric power steering system and stiffer wheel construction yield improved steering feel for the driver.

Travelling in a Prius has never been a nerve-jangling experience, but now NVH levels are lower than ever before thanks to the adoption of an acoustic windscreen, which has a special noise-absorbing film between the layers of glass, and improved insulation materials in key areas around the dashboard.

From 1 May, owners can also indulge in extra luxury with the addition of black leather as an upholstery option, in addition to the Alcantara suede-effect trim that’s already available. The price for both is £1,350, including VAT and fitting.

Published : 28/04/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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