15 years of the Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius hybrid is one of the world’s most technologically advanced and innovative cars, and when it was first launched 15 years ago this week it marked the start of a new car revolution.

The petrol-electric trailblazer went on sale in Japan on December 10th, 1997 with the tagline ‘just in time for the 21st century’.

We thought we’d celebrate the milestone by taking a look back at the Prius and its history, adding a few facts and figures to this car’s remarkable impact on the new car market:

Prius by numbers…

3 – So far there have been three generations of the core Prius model, released in the UK in 2000, 2003 and 2009.

72 – The petrol-electric hybrid system that powers Prius gives it a stunning fuel economy of 72 miles per gallon. The original model had an equivalent figure of 57mpg.

89 – The current Prius emits just 89 grams of CO2 per kilometer. The original Prius I achieved a figure of 114g/km.

1994 – Toyota’s G21 project began in 1994. It aimed to create a vehicle with low emissions and impeccable environmental credentials through using an alternative drivetrain.

1995 – Toyota’s G21 project was shown as a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show.

1997 – Just three years after it was first conceived, the Prius went on sale in Japan.

3,000,000 – Toyota has sold almost three million Prius across the world so far.

5,000,000 – A total of five million full hybrid Toyota vehicles have been sold to date, including Prius.


Critical reception…

The first generation Prius, Model NHW10 helped break ground for a revolution in mass production hybrid engined cars. Designed in California, it’s since become a world wide hit, scooping prestigious design and engineering awards, and now inspiring an entire family of vehicles.

The second-generation Prius remains a favourite even today – in fact it was named best medium car to own in the 2012 Which? Car Survey.

Importantly, the Prius paved the way for Hybrid Synergy Drive in other models – notably the Yaris Hybrid and British-built Auris Hybrid.

And of course, there is now more than one Prius available. The Prius+ MPV and Prius Plug-in hybrid joined the range this year, giving eco-conscious buyers the option of increased space or extended EV-only running respectively.

Do you remember when you first saw a Toyota Prius? Or do you have a Prius story to tell? Let us know in the comments box below.



  1. Not sure where to post this, anyway I’ve had a Prius since April 2010 and can’t recommend it enough, so much so that several colleagues have been so impressed they have gone and bought one!

    So when it comes time to change mine (i.e. now!) I have no hesitation in the local dealer loaning me a T-Spirit for a few days.

    After a cursory consideration of the new Auris I feel that Toyota haven’t done enough with that car in terms of styling both interior or exterior.

    I’m impressed with the 2012 Prius, in terms of mods to the ride / road noise and brakes, and. of course the extra bits of toys.

    What doesn’t impress me is the amount of blank fillers on the dash on a top of the range model, and even the lack of the Nav into the heads up display.

    Anyway not to be too negative I’m still going to order one, main problem is after having a white one now what do I do another white or a black on lol.

    I do have some questions though as follows:-

    The Website config will not let me choose ‘style’ and ‘protection’ packs together? – Why?

    Also the touch and go plus doesn’t have a speed dial option? or have I missed it?

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thank you for writing to us and for your loyalty! We very much appreciate customer feedback and have passed this onto our Product Marketing department.
      The Touch & Go Plus doesn’t have a speed dial option in the same way the previous Prius navigation system operated, however it has the ability to store numbers into a smaller contact list.
      With regards to the website configure function, we unfortunately haven’t been able to replicate your issue. The Style and Protection packs are options available on the T4 and T Spirit grades, the Style pack is not an option on the T3 grade.
      We hope this information helps.
      Kind regards.

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