Released date : 1997/12/10

body type



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  • Specification
  • Description
  • Plant
  • Name origin
Grade Prius
Model type
Model type HK-NHW10-AEEEB
Curb mass(kg) 1240
Dimensions Length(mm) 4275
Width(mm) 1695
Height(mm) 1490
Wheelbase(mm) 2550
Engine Engine code 1NZ-FXE
Engine type Water-cooled, in-line 4-cylinder, DOHC (transverse engine)
Displacement(cm3) 1496
Max. output kW(PS)/r.p.m. -/58/4000
* The specifications are those of representative model grades.
* Max. output represents a net rating. In the above table, digits separated by slashes ( / / ) stand for kW, PS, and r.p.m., respectively.
* The model numbers of these vehicles are NHW10(1500).
Launched as the first production car in the world powered by a hybrid system, the Prius was equipped with a specially designed VVT-i 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor. This hybrid system could optimally balance the power of these units to suit the driving conditions. The power split device with a planetary gear set served as a continuously variable transmission, while also efficiently distributing the engine power to the drivetrain and the generator.

The Prius significantly reduced the energy loss through a mechanism to stop the engine when in idle, and the regenerative braking system for converting the kinetic energy into electricity when decelerating and braking. The front-engine, front-wheel-drive sedan could accommodate five passengers, and featured the uniquely proportioned design including a relatively tall body, a large cabin, short overhangs, and a centrally located instrument panel.

The initial ad copy for the Prius touted "Just in time for the 21st century," signifying that it was the forerunner of fossil fuel-free automobiles of the 21st century. While its driving performance was comparable to that of existing gasoline-powered cars, the Prius doubled the fuel efficiency and cut the CO2 emissions by half. As its export began in 2000, the Prius caught the attention of environment-conscious American consumers, with many celebrities causing a social phenomenon.

The Prius won the 1997 New Car of the Year and the 1997-1998 Car of the Year Japan.
Plant Motomachi plant [from May 2000 to July 2003], Takaoka plant [to Feb. 2000]
"Prius" is Latin for "prior" or "previous."

This page is part of TOYOTA A HISTORY OF THE FIRST 75 YEARS website. For information on currently marketed vehicles, please refer to the Toyota Motor Corporation website.