Picking up a slew of new features, minor styling tweaks and revisions to its body, suspension and steering, the 2012 Prius also brings a $1000 saving at the entry-level end.
On the outside, the 2012 Prius gets an updated front bumper with a taller bottom grille incorporating relocated foglights.
Changes to the rear are less obvious, although the braking LEDs have been reshaped to the countour of the tail-light lens.
The styling changes add an extra 20mm to the car's length, but the wheelbase and highly efficient aerodynamic performance (Cd 0.25) are unchanged.
Inside, the Prius gets new front seats, new upholstery and new soft-touch surfaces.
The centre console gets a built-in cupholder, and the 12V power socket, USB port and Aux audio input have been moved to the front of the console.
New darker tones are featured in the cabin, along with silver inserts on the centre console and air vents. The hybrid system start button is now blue.
The multi-information display has been updated with a sharper image resolution, and new functions include a monthly fuel consumption record with a rolling archive of five months' data and an ECO savings calculator.
Priced at $33,990, the base-model Prius gains daytime running lamps, power retractable mirrors and JBL's power-saving GreenEdge sound system with eight speakers.
In top-shelf i-Tech form - still priced at $45,990 - the Prius adds 17-inch alloys, a solar moonroof, eight-way power driver's seat, seven-inch colour screen, satellite navigation with a hard-disk drive, digital radio and new leather-accented interior trim.
The Prius' hybrid system remains unchanged for 2012, with 100kW of power coming from a 1.8 litre petrol engine and a 650v electric motor/generator and a 201.6v nickel-metal hydride battery.
As before, fuel consumption is listed at 3.9 l/100km and carbon emissions are listed at 89g/km.
Toyota says it has blessed the Prius with an improved driving experience and comfort, thanks to a stiffer body and changes to the suspension and steering.
The body gains more welding spots and reinforcements, its increased rigidity allowing for a softer suspension tune.
Additional sound-proofing materials have improved noise and vibration levels in the cabin.
- 2012 Toyota Prius - $33,990
- 2012 Toyota Prius i-Tech - $45,990
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include on-road costs, which vary from state to state.
The Prius is covered by Toyota Service Advantage with a capped price of $130 for each of up to six scheduled services in the first three years or 60,000km. As always, conditions apply, so speak with your dealer.
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