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Toyota gives new Prius an ample style upgrade (pictures)

The fourth generation Prius rides on an all-new platform from Toyota, giving it better handling and stronger styling.

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Wayne Cunningham
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For the fourth generation of its popular hybrid, Toyota gives the Prius a new look along with handling and efficiency improvements.

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The engine remains a 1.8-liter four cylinder, but various drivetrain efficiencies push the fuel economy up a couple of miles per gallon.

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The basic shape of the Prius remains, but the front of the hood is lower and stronger styling cues appear around the car.

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LED headlights show up in this very styled headlight casing.

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Strong contour lines appear on the side of the Prius, while interior capacity continues to offer five passenger seating.

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Aerodynamic styling for the roofline means a coefficient of drag hitting .24, better than the previous generation.

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The Prius is still front-wheel-drive, but the rear benefits from a fully independent suspension, increasing ride quality and handling.

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Black-out patches on the rear pillars give the roof a floating appearance.

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The rear liftback still has two sections of glass split by the rear spoiler.

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The liftback allows excellent access to the cargo area.

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Toyota fits the new Prius with bolstered front seats, anticipating harder cornering from drivers.

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The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split for cargo versatility.

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The basic dashboard design remains, with an instrument panel set into the upper strip.

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The drive selector protrudes from the lower part of the stack, above a new Qi wireless charging pad.

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The steering wheel has a surprisingly natural feel.

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This upper instrument panel can show driving directions or drivetrain information.

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The main display retains this power flow animation.

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A homescreen displays navigation, audio and phone information.

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The main menu screen holds simple icons for all the electronics' functions.

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The navigation system carries over from other Toyota models, and integrates with its Entune apps, allowing online destination search.

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The audio system offers USB ports supporting thumbdrives as well as iOS devices, Bluetooth streaming and satellite radio.

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The back-up camera includes trajectory lines, and is complemented by a suite of driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking.

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