The Toyota Prius has been named the Best Family Car in the UK Car of the Year Awards 2017, proof positive that the world’s most successful hybrid has evolved into a car that ranks as Britain’s best all-rounder: smart, practical, spacious, reliable and genuinely fun to drive.
Brian Joss – The independent award judges, numbering some of Britain’s most experienced and best-respected motoring journalists, had wide-ranging praise for the multi-award-winning fourth- generation Prius, which was launched last year.
Their opinions confirm Toyota’s success in transforming Prius’ dynamic performance and its driver appeal, true to its mission to create “ever-better cars”.
John Challen, managing director of the UK Car of the Year Awards, declared:
“The Prius story continues – and it’s one that gets better with every release. The shift from ‘hybrid’ car to mainstream is complete.”
His fellow judges hailed Prius as ‘a car you’d want to own rather than just benefit from its low emissions’ and acclaimed it for offering ‘everything you need in a family car – spacious, enormous boot, plenty of standard equipment and those all-important fuel economy figures’.
Many of the qualities that make Prius a stand-out choice as a family car can be attributed to the Toyota New Global Architecture-based platform on which it is built. TNGA gives the car a lower centre of gravity, which directly contributes to better handling response and stability. The driver sits lower in the car, which makes for a more rewarding and engaging experience at the wheel.
TNGA is not just about dynamic quality however. It allows designers the freedom to craft a car with richer visual appeal, with lower lines overall and a more athletic profile. Interior packaging is more rational too, with the best possible use made of the space available. Family-friendly boot proportions have been secured thanks to a more compact (yet energy-rich) hybrid battery and a double wishbone suspension system – features which don’t intrude into the load-space.
All these developments have not compromised Prius’ fundamental low emissions and high fuel efficiency. In fact, the gains made in performance with the new model are greater than any previous improvement between Prius generations. Official test figures show combined cycle fuel economy of 3 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 output of 70 g/km.
Safety is a prime concern for family motorists, and an area where Prius has excelled, winning the award for the best-performing large family car in EuroNCAP’s 2016 test programme.
Toyota is particularly proud of this recognition, as it strives to develop ‘always safer cars’ with a particular focus on active safety, through the spread of the ‘Toyota Safety Sense’ package. This package was an important contributor to Prius’ strong performance in the EuroNCAP tests.
Each year, EuroNCAP publishes a list of the cars that have performed best in their respective categories. This is the second time a Toyota received such a title, with the Verso being ‘Best in Class’ in the small MPV segment back in 2010.