Toyota’s third generation Prius looks quite similar to gen 2. However, Toyota made several significant changes, which resulted in wide acclaim and customer affinity. The gas assist engine has been upgraded to 4 valves /cylinder. The electric motor gets a boost, too, up to 80 kW. The combined engine and motor outpu was also improved to 134 horsepower, and fuel economy increased to 51 miles per gallon in the city, and 48 miles per gallon highway. The engine compartment looks surprisingly ‘clean’ because the new powertrain uses all electric accessories (power steering, air conditioning, and water pump). Prius is the first production vehicle with no serpentine belt system or pulleys.
The wheelbase and size of the vehicle remained virtually the same as gen 2, but weight reduction, and significant interior upgrades (JBL sound system, navigation, leather seating, etc.) were also made available. The generation 3 Prius, like it’s predecessor, received car of the year honors when it was introduced in the US. The Prius remains the industry leader in the hybrid and e-vehicle segment.