Next Tuesday in Las Vegas Toyota will take the wraps off the 2016 Toyota Prius, but were the honors already done this summer?
As some of you saw, on July 3 we posted pictures from a Taiwanese automotive website, Autonet.tw, that we were tipped about by a reader. The site represented the images as being the actual 2016 Prius and Prius PHV – which gets differentiating headlight treatment this time around, but the PHV (pictured at bottom) is not expected to be shown next week.
Those images, while caution over their authenticity was expressed, were quickly circulated around the U.S. by other major and minor automotive sites, and now in retrospect, it would appear these may have been bootlegged drawings from Toyota.
Not exactly the same, wheels are bigger, shark fin antenna is missing, profile seems a bit more rakish, but it may be the difference in photo angle. Sporty side skirts are present in what is obviously a glorified artist’s sketch.
That said, identical in the sketch to actual photos of the 2016 Prius grabbed by someone else are the headlight shapes, other key design cues, general profile, and taillight shapes.
It basically appears to be the same car, one stylized, one actual, and it’s unlikely this was a pure guess by an artist working for Autonet.tw.
So, if the Taiwanese website had access to that much contraband info, how much else did it have right?
It presented everything as matter of fact, and for your review here’s what was said:
Have 2016 Toyota Prius Specs Already Been Revealed?
According to the Taiwanese report in July, the 2016 Prius Liftback earned 40 km/L on the very liberal Japanese JC08 cycle, or close to 94 mpg. This is high but not impossible, as the report says the present version has been rated up to 37 km/L.
If correct, this is an 8-percent increase on the Japanese cycle. The U.S. rates the 2015 at 50 mpg, and an 8-percent increase would be 54 mpg, although testing is different in the U.S. so an actual number might not be proportional to Japan.
The increase in efficiency, says the report, comes from tweaks to the powertrain architecture for the Hybrid Synergy Drive.
A roughly 105-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC VVT-i inline four-cylinder gasoline engine, presumably Atkinson cycle like the present, is said to be retuned with an electric water pump, Cool EGR exhaust gas recirculation system and exhaust heat recovery system to increase fuel efficiency and reduce engine warm-up time.
The electric motor is said to be 90 horsepower, a lithium-ion battery is mentioned, but specs are not given. and total system horsepower is said to be a bit more than the current mode, or by the report’s reckoning, “145-150.” A 2015 Prius is rated 134 horsepower.
Power is reportedly routed as with the present Prius, through a CVT transmission with four modes – Normal, Power, Eco and EV.
The report says the new Prius has dimensions slightly larger than the present model’s 4480 × 1745 × 1490mm (176.4 x 68.9 x 59.7 inches).
Styling-wise, the vehicle has cues similar to the Mirai FCV, and present Prius Liftback.
The 2016 has been said by Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz as a better driving car, more dynamic than present, and it’s been reported more sporting appeal is a design goal.
Curb weight is pared from the 2015 model’s 3,042 pounds to 2,843 pounds (1,290 kg).
How Close To Accurate Are These Specs?
That will be revealed hopefully next week. We were told by a fully reliable source that Toyota will dribble out Prius info over the fall season, and this seems to be confirmed by what’s planned next week.
Ceremonies are basically a one-evening affair, then everyone drives or flies home. How much will be disclosed at the media unveiling is in question, and Toyota has not scheduled a media drive.
To date, Toyota has done a decent job of keeping solid info under wraps — but maybe not if the Tawanese website’s info is true.
Originally it looked sketchy because the publication did not so much as say an “insider” gave it the info, and just presented it as fact without hinting where it came from.
As it is, they got the images right. Are they right about the rest? Some people already think so, and info of varying reliability besides is floating out there.
We’ll probably lay these questions to rest next week.