The headlights on the Prius get this slash effect, which seems to be a popular trend in automotive design, as Nissan adopted the form on multiple models. LED headlights are available as an option with the Prius.
Toyota's engineers refined the hybrid components, eliminating 20 percent of the weight. The gas engine has been upgraded from 1.5-liters to 1.8-liters, adding power and performing more efficiently on hill climbs. The new mileage figure is 50 mpg.
Toyota moved the peak of the roof back four inches for better aerodynamics and to offer greater headroom in the rear. Visually, it's a minuscule change. During our drive, bystanders didn't look twice at the car, probably assuming it was a current generation Prius.
The purplish display lights up when you put your finger to the steering wheel buttons, giving a visual cue about which button you are pushing. In practice, we didn't find this display useful, as we quickly learned the placement of the steering wheel buttons.
Adaptive cruise control is a new feature for the Prius, letting you set a cruising speed and matching the speed of slower cars ahead. This display shows that the system is ready. The display also indicates when lane departure warning is active.
Although the navigation unit incorporates better graphics for the menus along with live traffic, it is not much improved over the previous version. As before, the Prius offers Bluetooth phone support. It also gets Bluetooth streaming as an audio source, but no iPod support.