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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
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
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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