AD #1697 – 2016 Prius Gets Dramatic Makeover, UAW Deadline Looms, Frankfurt Sneak Peeks

September 9th, 2015 at 11:52am

Runtime: 9:03

- Toyota Reveals 2016 Prius
- UAW Negotiations Down to the Wire
- Rolls-Royce Dawn Convertible
- Bentley Bentayga SUV
- Honda Project 2&4 Monoposto
- John McElroy Responds to Your Comments

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52 Comments to “AD #1697 – 2016 Prius Gets Dramatic Makeover, UAW Deadline Looms, Frankfurt Sneak Peeks”

  1. HtG Says:

    Bentley should have named their new SUV the Van Den Plushy. I can’t stop thinking that thing is an oversized, stuffed Teddy bear.

    No really

  2. Jon M Says:

    Toyota did a nice job on the new Prius, but it looks more like a moderately daring refresh than a gussied up Prius for the rest of us. It’s not quite as bad as watching Hillary Clinton try to change perceptions by cracking a few snapchat jokes, but it’s still laughable.

  3. Lisk Says:

    Why does Toyota think they need odd styling on the Prius? The original car looked a bit like an Echo and it’s gotten odder since. Also the central instrument locations doesn’t make sense, except to the bean counters. I think the best move on Toyotas part is the Avalon Hybrid, however the sales numbers still aren’t there. Decent mileage out of a large car. Chevrolet would do good to move the Volt technology to the Impala or Equinox.

  4. RumNCoke Says:

    Does that big Bentley share any components with more “pedestrian” automobiles? Bentley seems to be doing okay but they don’t have the kind of dough needed to develop their own AWD platform do they?

  5. Vic Says:

    Regarding the 2016 Prius: The only reason I would consider this car is to minimize overall cost. Without knowing the purchase price, it’s difficult to know whether it would be a cost effective decision over, say, 100,000 miles. And that’s with or without a crystal ball on gasoline prices.

  6. Bradley Says:

    #3

    The overall profile of the Prius is very functional for aerodynamics.

    I really like the looks of the NEW Prius. IMO: It is very smart for Toyota to evolve the Prius style. As everyone can recognize a Prius and its reputation is well known.

  7. rick bradner Says:

    What do I think of the new Toyota Prius?
    In a word, hideous!

  8. HtG Says:

    OK, OK, I like the new Prius. Especially the interior which I find dramatic and clean.

    Yes, really.

  9. Bob Wilson Says:

    Hi,

    My web link shows views of the 2016 and current Prius after scaling for identical wheel-to-wheel base. Adding lines showing the differences, it isn’t a head-snapping change. Thankfully, Toyota managed to avoid those hideous, over-sized, mock grills.

    Prius sheet metal doesn’t capture new buyers. As if they have Xray vision, Prius people want fuel efficiency and payload volume. This 2% can not be insulted or shamed into a less ride (Lutz, VW, et. al. proved that failure!)

    Two years ago, EVs and plug-ins became common and about 10% of the former Prius buyers switched. But range, price, and CARB-only sales limited that switch.

    BTW, Toyota re-engineered the NiMH battery now that the patent-sitters are gone. Unlike LiON batteries, NiMH does not create inert by-products that poison the cells.

    Let me suggest waiting until the first Prius are in the show rooms before getting a Toyota engineer in. There are tweaks still being done now that they don’t have to ‘hide’ the car. Come December, you’ll get a better picture of the Prius technology along with price.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  10. MJB Says:

    Welcome back to the chair, John! Sean does a smash-up job anchoring, but it’s good to see you once in a while too ;)

    I like the new Prius styling.

    So, silly question here… Where is that Honda Project 2&4 supposed to be driven? Not on streets, of course. But if on a race track, wouldn’t it pose an even bigger threat to life and limb than open formula one cockpits? Forget getting just your head split open by flying debris, that whole darn seat is open!

  11. Roger Blose Says:

    The new Prius looks horrible. The front end, big a.. back end, side profile, and floating roof are such turn offs that the RX350 is beginning to look acceptable.

  12. MJB Says:

    11.

    LOL. Come on Roger. I love that RX350! :)

    No. I’m being serious here. I do like the RX.

    eye of the beholder…

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3 The Prius is not designed for “odd styling.” It is designed for good aerodynamics, good space efficiency, and with a liftback body for excellent utility. Yes, the first generation Prius used a Yaris body. It was mainly a test bed for the hybrid powertrain, so they used the body they had available at the time.

    They got serious about aerodynamics and utility with the second generation for the 2004 model year, and made the car even roomier and more efficient with the third gen, for 2010.

    I have a 2010, and the things I’d like to see improved are the appearance of the interior, and the noise level at high speed. My Prius is substantially quieter than my MINI at 75-78 on the interstate, but quieter would be nice. I suspect they dealt with both interior decor and quietness in the new fourth generation, and the styling is a little more “conventional.” The styling should draw a few new customers, while not running off current Prius drivers, as long as the new one is at least as efficient and roomy as the outgoing one.

  14. Bob Seeley Says:

    REALLY good to see you back, John.

  15. T. Bejma Says:

    “King Corvette”

    I kinda like that…

    “So quick was the $100,245 Z06 — Corvette’s 650-horsepower performance model — that in the nine-year history of the famed Lightning Lap only one car has ever recorded a faster time: the 2014 Porsche 918 hybrid, a carbon-fiber cyborg from the future that costs nearly nine times as much the Corvette. The $875,175 Porsche was faster by a mere 1.5 seconds. That’s over $250,000 per half second.”

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/general-motors/2015/09/08/chevrolet-corvette-beats-elites/71865642/

  16. william scshultz Says:

    I’d drive the Honda on the track, but not on the open road!!

  17. william scshultz Says:

    I’d drive the Honda on the track, but not on the open road!!

  18. william scshultz Says:

    I’d drive the Honda on the track, but not on the open road!!

  19. John McElroy Says:

    William, where do you want to drive that thing?

  20. MJB Says:

    15.

    Good read, T.

    You know, I’d really like to know what most European car enthusiasts think of the Vette when compared to their prized Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini and others.

  21. HtG Says:

    I think he’s got lapping in mind.

    (Sorry William, just kidding)

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 I suspect Europeans will continue to under-appreciate the Corvette, no matter the performance. They will poo-poo the plastic body, pushrod engine, and torque converter automatic, never mind that the C7 is world class in every measurable way.

    Also, ‘Vettes are pricey in Europe, closer to a 911 than they are here.

  23. jack576 Says:

    This is one of the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. But, being it’s a Toyota and not a GM, the media will be easy on it’s ugly looks. They might even say it looks great.

  24. jack576 Says:

    This is one of the ugliest car I’ve ever seen. But, being it’s a Toyota and not a GM, the media will be easy on it’s ugly looks. They might even say it looks great.

  25. HtG Says:

    Where would Ferrari and Porsche be without GM engineered magnetic ride? Not to mention the war.

  26. MJB Says:

    22.

    I was hoping you’d say that.

    Rather ironic then that so many Americans de-value (the likes of) Cadillac when considering a luxury sedan. Even after major strides in reliability, performance and interior appointments (and overall design too, in my opinion), many folk just “poo-poo” them as never being “as good as” their European rivals, when in many respects they are in a dead-heat with or even out-perform them.

    But, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”

  27. GND Says:

    The Honda engine/driver side by side arrangement is similar to the Oswego Supermodifieds or even closer to the to the Smokey Yunick “Sidecar”
    Indy project.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gswetsky/4488837342

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 I saw that car run at Indy in 1964. It made some practice laps, but didn’t qualify.

  29. aliisdad Says:

    What is with Toyota’s weird styling, lately… The new Prius is pretty “out there” although it might be more efficient than previous ones..
    I also think of the latest Lexus vehicles styling as examples of more “weird” styling…
    Do you remember how Datsun/Nissan went “weird” in styling many, many years ago; and that was when Toyota really pulled out ahead?? Hope Toyota designers wise up before it is too late!!

    Also, it is really good to see and hear John on the webcast!!

  30. aliisdad Says:

    Oh, one more thing… I am sure that the new Prius will be a very good car (like most Toyota products); so remember that if you buy one, you will be inside looking out, and you won’t have to look at it… So, not really a problem?!?!

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    All of this talk about the appearance of the gen 4 Prius, but I haven’t been about to find out what I’m really curious about. Did they go to GDI?

  32. Toni Bajer Says:

    Hi John.

    Is there any word if there will be an AWD option on the new Prius?!?

    If the Prius is sportier to drive and there is an AWD option, I would be taking a long hard look at it, because you know sooner or later the days of cheap gasoline will end. I have a feeling that when it does, the oil companies will do everything they can to drive up the price of gasoline to historic prices.

  33. Buzzerd Says:

    Prius- not my taste, seems like it’s trying too hard to not look like a boring car, and let’s face it, it is.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wouldn’t think they would even consider AWD for Prius. It has low enough ground clearance that, with FWD, it will easily go through any snow that doesn’t drag the underside of the car a lot. That could change if they wanted to do a different hybrid system than their current power splitter “synergy drive,” but that seems unlikely. The system they have is very efficient, and reliable.

  35. HtG Says:

    31 Kit, does your Prius have a flat bottom like this new model? Does yours have a very high compression engine?

  36. HtG Says:

    Mazda gets 14:1 in their Skyactive motors

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Even if the efficiency could almost be maintained with one of the motor/generators driving the rear wheels, it would mess up the packaging, with a motor, diff, and drive shafts back there. The current Prius has a very useful under floor storage area in the back, along with a spare tire and jack. I suspect AWD would displace all of that.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35 The bottom is mostly flat, with plastic panels. The geometric compression ratio is pretty high, I think 13:1 or so, but with the Atkinson cycle tuning, the effective CR is lower.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect it takes GDI, with a stratified charge that is rich near the plugs to allow Mazda’s very high CR.

  40. Drew Says:

    Prius impressions – it is trying too hard to be different. It lacks good, holistic design. And the interior looks like it has several issues – the transmission level seems to be very low in the instrument panel and far forward (awkward reach?), and the Apple-like trim lower I/P panel and steering wheel spoke trim is fad-ish and won’t look clean for long.

    It just seems Toyota is clueless in styling attractive vehicles. I understand the desire to be different, but there is no future in “different wired” or “different ugly”.

    With respect to the Bentley SUV, I see a lot of family resemblance in the rear 3/4 view with the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg.

    So, what is thevUAW going to do to help avoid future bankruptcies and close the labor cost gap to most other OEMs (except M-B)?!?!?!? Attack the 2-tiered wage? How quick we forget why it was created!

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Bentley SUV is on the same platform as the Q7, and probably the next generation Touareg/Cayenne.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    All these Toyota haters making fun of the new Prius, well, they will sell as many as they can make and it will continue to be the best selling hybrid. Period.

  43. HtG Says:

    Did you see some of the GIFs the kids were posting on another site this morning? Mikey no likey

  44. len Simpson Says:

    The proven dependability & sophistication of the Prius drive train puts Toyota far ahead of the rest of the automotive world. This olwrench was quite impressed w/our 2 test sessions. Can’t
    get my petite wife out of our SUV tho, she likes to “situphigh” on the road.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive

  45. Bob Wilson Says:

    #31 – No GDI was announced but earlier articles (see link) suggests new intake manifold/valve trick for ‘tumble flow’ and internal friction reduction. We will probably have to wait for April 2016 SAE papers to read all of the tricks.

    #29 – Style is a judgement call but let me share what many Prius owners see: internal_volume * MPG. This simple formula, the product of payload and miles per gallon is a simple, vehicle efficiency rule. For example:

    11,400 – Tesla
    6,725 – BMW i3 Rex
    6,380 – Prius 2016 (projected)
    5,800 – Prius 2015
    3,080 – Chevy Cruze Eco

    Then buy the car with the highest efficiency you can afford.

    Bob Wilson

  46. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Unique styling, especially with the Prius, denotes the type vehicle it is. Personally I think it’s ‘edgy’, others might like it because it still tells others, “I’m driving a Prius”. Ah, variety; the spice of life.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45 Thanks for info. I’d rather not have GDI, unless there is a real efficiency benefit. I don’t see much benefit with GDI in non-hybrids, except that it helps some of the turbos get by with regular gas.

    Another bit of “newer” technology I’m glad my Prius doesn’t have, is lithium batteries. The NiMH batteries seem to have an exceptional record for lasting a long time in Priuses, clear back to the first generation. The life expectancy of lithium batteries is unknown, at best, and I know that they last no more than about 4 years in my computers.

  48. Rob Says:

    The Prius team should go look at a Pontiac Aztek. They would realize that it actually was a pretty amazing vehicle in concept but was plagued by the awful (different) design. They will retain repeat buyers by reputation alone but attracting new buyers, good luck!
    As for the UAW and people being allowed to drop out, you’re also allowed to open carry in most states but who does? I cannot imagine the workplace hostility of a non-union worker among the typical solidarity within a plant. It’s an option but doubt it will have much effect on contract negotiations.

  49. MJB Says:

    48.

    I agree with you about the UAW workers. Peer pressure will keep many potential defectors in line.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Rob, Prius attracted a new buyer, me, when I actually looked at the car in a serious way. What I found, was that the Prius had similar room, both for people and cargo, as my Malibu Maxx, while using about half as much gas in town, and less than 2/3 as much on the interstate. I dodn’t buy it for the styling. I bought it because it works exceptionally well for what it was designed to do.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to me, that anyone who “drops out” of the union at plants under union contracts should forego and pay raises, health care benefits, etc. that the union has negotiated for the workers. Either that, or they should pay dues, even if not a member. The latter was the case in Indiana at one time, but probably not now.

  52. Rob Says:

    Kit I am a car guy and I often forget that many people out there look at cars as just a means of transportation. They will often make a more effective buy putting a higher priority on things like fuel economy space and practicality. I do let style and design alter my decision and will sacrifice some practicality over a great looking car. So no doubt the Prius will serve you well and is probably a great car I just dont like the looks of it.