Toyota’s Prius, a household name that has come to define hybrid cars for nearly two decades, was reborn in Las Vegas on Tuesday with the introduction of a redesigned and re-engineered model for 2016. To mark the occasion, Toyota hoisted a new fourth-generation Prius into the night sky on cables from the top of the Linq hotel, while the band Atlas Genius played for the crowd of journalists, dealers, and company brass. A roundup of what analysts, journalists and others are saying about the car:
"Now we have a car that's not just for mom and dad, tree-huggers and people on a budget. This is what America's been waiting for: a hybrid car with edge. Something the kids will want to drive."
-- David Rodgers, general manager of the Sullivan Automotive Group's Toyota-Scion stores in Livermore and Roseville, Calif., via The Associated Press
"The fourth-generation Prius is debuting at the right time for Toyota. With the aged outgoing model and low gas prices dragging down sales, the 2016 Prius will be a much-needed shot in the arm for not only Toyota, but the entire green car segment. Along with improved MPG estimates, the 2016 Prius boasts a distinctive new design that has broader appeal and presents the opportunity to capture new customers. But more importantly, it has the potential to reinvigorate the loyalty of Prius owners who now find many more affordable hybrid and EV options on the market than they had five years ago."
-- Edmunds.com analyst Jeremy Acevedo
"One of the main complaints about the Toyota Prius from owners, car writers and the artist formerly known as Jeremy Clarkson is that the Prius was no fun behind the wheel. Well that’ll be fixed when the new car rolls into showrooms early next year on an all-new platform with a double-wishbone rear suspension and a sportier front strut setup (at least it looked like a front strut when we tried to crawl underneath the car). That and a handful of other as-yet-unnamed improvements will lift it from its mundane, efficiency-focused past and put it before the eyeballs of a wider audience of buyers."
-- Mark Vaughn, Autoweek
"The egg-shaped profile has been flattened and sharpened, and the handling stiffened, reflecting the need to compete on performance and style as well as efficiency. The current Prius, launched as a 2010 model, has faced increasing competition from both conventional cars and an array of plug-in hybrid and all-electric models. The car’s pricing, not yet released, will be another important factor. The outgoing model’s base price of about $25,000 represented a significant premium over comparable conventional vehicles, which have narrowed the fuel efficiency gap. One version of the Honda Civic -- which last year displaced the Prius as California’s top-selling car -- now achieves up to 41 mpg on the highway and starts at about $20,000."
-- Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times