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2016 Toyota Prius Faces Tough New Challenges

Japanese maker hopes to broaden appeal in an era of cheap gas.

by on Sep.09, 2015

Toyota will boost the mileage of the 2016 Prius by 10%, to around 55 mpg.

It’s not only the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle but has routinely been one of the top sellers overall in green-minded markets like California and Japan. Now, Toyota is launching an all-new version for 2016, but cheap gas prices may be just one reason why the Toyota Prius could face its biggest challenge yet, industry experts warn.

The market has been flooded with hybrid competitors since the Toyota Prius was last redesigned in 2009, along with a variety of other high-mileage options. Meanwhile, sales of battery-based vehicles, in general, have been plunging this year. That helps explain why Toyota is downplaying fuel economy and putting more of an emphasis on the other attributes of the new Prius, including what it promises will be a more fun-to-drive road manner.

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The new model “has a certain presence to it that will appeal to a broader range of buyers,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota brand in the U.S., following the unveiling of the fourth-generation Prius Tuesday night in Las Vegas.


Toyota Rolls Out 4th Generation Prius, Promises 10% Mileage Increase

2016 Prius is longer, wider, lower - but more conventional in styling.

by on Sep.09, 2015

The 4th generation Toyota Prius rolls out during a splashy preview in Las Vegas Thursday night.

Amidst the glitter and glow of the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip, Toyota put the emphasis on energy efficiency as it unveiled the eagerly anticipated, fourth-generation Prius hybrid Tuesday night.

The world’s first battery-electric vehicle, the Toyota Prius has helped usher in a new era of advanced powertrain technology, but the compact model has been losing momentum at a time when cheap gas has many buyers migrating back to SUVs, pickups and muscle cars. Toyota is again boosting the fuel economy of the Prius, but the 2016 hybrid also is longer, lower, wider and a little more mainstream in appearance.

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“It’s going to expand our appeal,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota brand in the U.S. Where the original model largely targeted a “practical buyer concerned about fuel economy,” the 2016 Prius “that will appeal to a broader range of buyers.”


Toyota Set to Unveil All-New Prius

New model expected to be larger, more sophisticated, more fuel-efficient.

by on Aug.19, 2015

It's unclear what Toyota has in mind for the next-gen plug-in version of the Prius.

What goes up must come down, something even the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle has experienced in recent months. So, Toyota officials have reason to be excited as they get ready to reveal an all-new version of the Prius next month.

Like virtually all battery-based vehicles, sales of the Prius has been hit by low gas prices in recent months, but it remains the world’s most popular hybrid – and one of the best sellers among all vehicles in the big California market.

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The Toyota Prius hasn’t had a major update in seven years, and early reports suggest the new one will grow longer, get a little more power, improve fuel economy and possible stretch its range in all-electric mode. Some reports indicate an optional lithium-ion battery may also become available on the 2016 Prius.


Acura Hoping Hybrid Version Can Charge Up Sluggish Sales of ILX Model

2014 remake of ILX Hybrid to start just under $30,000.

by on Oct.16, 2013

The 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid's new single-motor gas-electric drivetrain delivers up to 38 mpg Combined.

The new Acura ILX Hybrid has charged into dealer showrooms.  The question is whether anyone will notice.

Aimed at entry-luxury buyers, the ILX seems to have missed out on what has generally become the fastest-growing segment in the high-line market. But with increasing interest in “green” technology among the younger buyers fueling that growth, Acura is hoping the ILX will finally plug in.

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The new hybrid model will carry a relatively modest $2,000 price premium over a comparable, gas-powered Acura ILX, at a base MSRP of $29,795. Equipped with the Tech Package – which includes such nicety as satellite radio, navigation with real-time traffic, and an upgraded audio system — the price jumps to $35,495. Both figures include $895 in destination charges.

Even the base model will carry such upscale touches as keyless entry, push-button start, a moonroof, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Pandora radio and an Active Noise Cancellation system. But the EPA Combined rating of 38 mpg is expected to be an equally important selling point.