With the arrival of the fifth-generation Toyota Prius, something truly odd happened. It was actually desirable. Even though it remained an economical hybrid, for the first time it genuinely looked good and served as a refreshing alternative to a swathe of new wannabe SUVs. Until a few months ago, that was all rather moot for those of us in the UK, as Toyota had no plans to bring it here.
However, it had a change of heart last October after a massively positive response to the new version’s looks. In a statement to Car Throttle when asked about the Prius’ UK return, a Toyota spokesperson said: “I can, indeed, confirm that it’s happening”. Now we know when it’ll be available, and for how much.
The new Prius will be exclusively offered in the UK as a plug-in hybrid, which pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to an electric motor powered by a 13.6kWh battery. We’ll only get the range-topping combined 220bhp output, which is an increase of almost 100bhp over the previous plug-in Prius. Other markets have access to 191bhp and 149bhp PHEVs, as well as ‘self-charging’ versions.
The UK-spec car will manage a claimed 54 miles on electric power alone, and will do 0-62mph in a fairly brisk 6.7 seconds. Two trim levels will be available, with the entry-level Design trim starting at £37,515. That rises to £39,995 for the Excel trim, which brings an increase in wheel size from 17 to 19 inches, a digital rear-view mirror and electric front seats.
UK orders open on 4 March, with the first deliveries scheduled for July. It remains to be seen whether the punchy price makes the new Prius as popular a taxi as the old one is, but if so, the handsome new look should make it an even more welcome sight outside a kebab shop at 3am on a Sunday morning.