What is new about the 2016 Toyota Prius? If you have heard the rumors or read the review by our own Micah Wright, you know the buzz has surrounded the arrival of the Eco model and the increase in the top fuel economy to 52 miles per gallon in standard models. However, Toyota recently confirmed the rumored 58 miles per gallon for the Prius Two Eco, which separates this hybrid even further from the pack.
For consumers concerned with frugality on the road, the new Prius Two Eco should fit the bill with 56 miles per gallon combined (58 miles per gallon city, 53 miles per gallon highway). Toyota reps went on the record saying these extraordinary figures are no longer provisional, HybridCars reports. The achievement for a car without a plug has to be acknowledged here.
Taking a look at Toyota’s price structure for 2016 Prius, you can anticipate the sales potential of the model which will make its debut in January. Following the base Prius Two ($24,200), the Eco edition comes in just $500 higher ($24,700). As a hedge against current and future gas prices, the extra investment seems like a no-brainer.
The Prius Three ($26,250) is the model that brings more standard convenience features and tech options to the table, while the Three Touring model ($28,100) promised a more engaging driving experience courtesy of P215/45R17 tires, a special rear bumper treatment, fog lights, and LED clearance lamps. Toyota’s range-topping Prius Four ($28,650) also has a Touring edition ($30,000) for consumers to consider.
However, you can say the story begins with the Two Eco, which now straddles the middle ground between a plug-in hybrid and conventional gas vehicle.
Viewing the lineup of 2016 plug-in hybrids on fueleconomy.gov, you will find the popular C-MAX Energi rated at 88 miles per gallon combined. The new Hyundai Sonata PHEV (99 miles per gallon) and Audi A3 e-tron (86 miles per gallon) offer a summary of the new plug-ins on the market.
Prius Two Eco’s rating of 56 miles per gallon is the halfway point between models with electric mode and the average new vehicle economy of 25 miles per gallon.Of course, drivers who are less diligent about plugging in for battery power will have a hard time meeting the new Prius Eco’s standard. The top economy of a plug-in hybrid is the Chevy Volt’s 42 miles per gallon in gasoline mode.
It wasn’t long ago that a vehicle claiming 58 miles per gallon anywhere is U.S. driving would have seemed like science fiction. Even with gas prices setting record lows across America, it seems like the $24,700 investment in a Prius Two Eco is the best hedge against future oil fluctuations for any consumer skeptical of plug-in technology.
Follow Eric on Twitter @EricSchaalNY