Car Reviews, News & Advice

Prius & Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive: From Curiosity to Icon

Published: 28 October 2010

At first glance, there was little about the first generation Toyota Prius that suggested it could be the start of a global phenomenon, a quirkily designed saloon that proved to be the pathfinder for game-changing engine technology.

Ten years on from its arrival in Europe and Prius – now in its third generation – is unchallenged as the world’s – and Malta’s – most popular hybrid, with more than two million global sales to its credit.

While Toyota has continued to develop and improve the performance of its hybrid technology, rival manufacturers are only now bringing their own systems to the marketplace. And within two years, the next chapter of Prius history will open with the first phase in the introduction of Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle), a model that is currently undergoing a trial leasing programme around the world prior to its market launch.

Prius was the first full hybrid car for the mass market, breaking new ground with its innovative Toyota Hybrid System (THS) power-train, a combination of a petrol engine and an electric motor that worked together or independently of each other to achieve consistently class-leading low emissions and excellent fuel efficiency. It augured well for the original model that it arrived in the UK in the wake of a national fuel shortage caused by a tanker drivers’ strike, an event that focused the public’s mind on the value of vehicles with low fuel consumption.

Toyota’s pioneering technology quickly won plaudits, not least a succession of International Engine of the Year Awards that have made the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, the most honoured engines in the history of the annual competition.

Hybrid was a novelty for our market, but today it enjoys wide acceptance and appreciation from motorists who are grasping both the technical concept and the benefits it can deliver in environmental performance and running costs.

Backed by the established reliability record of its predecessors – Prius has fewer warranty claims than any other Toyota model – the current 3rd Generation Prius raised the performance bar. At the same time, Toyota has broadened its hybrid range, introducing its the Auris Hybrid earlier this year as the first full hybrid model in the family hatchback segment.

Thanks to its success and proven qualities of Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota looks with confidence to future development of the model, notably with the planned introduction of Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle). It also aims to introduce hybrid versions of all its European model range by the early 2020s, and to be selling one million hybrid vehicles a year within the next few years.

For further information regarding the Prius and Auris Hybrids visit the state of the art Toyota showroom situated in Mdina Road Zebbug or log on and join us on our ToyotaMalta Facebook page.


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