Toyota has updated the Prius plug-in hybrid for 2021, fitting a host of safety and technology upgrades to the eco-friendly hatchback. The changes allow the family five-door to get a step closer to autonomous driving, as well as offering extra smartphone connectivity.
Chief among the new model’s features include the addition of Lane Trace Assist, which comes as part of the Toyota Safety Sense package. Fitted as standard to all models, the Lane Trace Assist system keeps the car in the centre of its lane on the motorway – a feat accomplished with the help of a forward-facing camera and millimetre-wave radar.
Using that technology, the system monitors the lane markings and provides gentle steering inputs to keep the car on course. If the markings on the road are faded or obscured, the vehicle will follow the course of the vehicle in front.
The system also works in tandem with the car’s adaptive cruise control system, which maintains a safe distance to the vehicle in front. Together the two systems are designed to reduce the “burden” on the driver, particularly on a busy motorway or A-road.
It’s a feature that’s included alongside the Prius’ established Safety Sense systems, which include an autonomous emergency braking system that can apply the brakes automatically if it detects an impending collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian. Road Sign Assist and an Adaptive High-Beam System are also included among the Prius’ fixtures.
Plug-in hybrid Prius models also come with a Blind Spot Monitor, which notifies the driver of any vehicles in the blind spots over their shoulders, while a reversing camera and cross traffic alert, which tells the driver if there’s an oncoming vehicle while they’re reversing out of a parking space, is also included. The Excel version, meanwhile, comes with a part-automated parking assistance system.
In addition, the plug-in Prius now comes with an updated multimedia system, including the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity systems. The software allows the user to access smartphone functions via the car’s eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
That’s joined by a new MyT app system, which allows the car to alert the emergency services in the case of a serious impact. Furthermore, the system means drivers can use their app to find where they parked or plan their next journey. Mileage, speed and performance data is also stored, so the information can be accessed and analysed at a later date.
Of course, all this comes alongside the existing plug-in hybrid powertrain, which allows up to 34 miles of electric motoring before the petrol engine needs to step in. In total, the system offers 120 bhp, which is enough to get the Prius from 0-62 mph in just over 11 seconds. More importantly, though, the 28-24 g/km CO2 emissions mean the car sits in the 12-percent company car tax bracket.
The updated Prius Plug-In is on sale now, with prices starting at £32,645 for the Business Edition and £34,745 for the Excel model.