Two decades ago, the Toyota Prius introduced the alien notion of a car powered by both a gasoline engine and an electric motor unassumingly rolled into our lives, and has been humming along ever since. Even as some of its rivals have come and gone (and come back again), this year the Prius celebrates its twentieth year here in the U.S. A lot’s changed since 2001, including more than 1.9 million Prii (and yes, that’s how Toyota wants you to pluralize it) hitting the roads.
Toyota has toned the latest fourth-generation model down a bit since it launched back in 2015, and to the casual observer this is just another Prius. However, there are some unique features of the Toyota Prius “2020 Edition” that are worth pointing out. The first detail you need to know is that while it is a “2020” edition, Toyota will sell this Prius as a 2021 model.
This will be a rarer model, relatively speaking, with only 2,020 units being offered in total. This Prius is based on the XLE all-wheel drive trim, and comes in either Supersonic Red or Wind Chill Pearl. You also get blacked out trim pieces and wheels, and special “2020”-badged key fobs and floor mats.
New tech features for the 2021 Prius
Under the hood, the Toyota Prius 2020 Edition still packs the same 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle engine and two motor-generators, mated through a continuously variable transmission. Combined, the system puts out 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. Supersonic it won’t be, but it will still return 52 combined mpg according to EPA figures, making it one of the most efficient all-wheel drive cars around.
As with the normal Prius models, the Toyota Prius 2020 Edition gets an upgrade to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 for the 2021 model year. The safety suite includes features like a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, road sign assist and bicyclist detection. Apple CarPlay already came standard on the Prius, but 2021 models also (finally) get Android Auto support as well on all trims except the Limited.
Toyota did not announce pricing for the 2021 Prius lineup or the 2020 Edition, but we don’t expect it to command a major premium over the standard models. If you’re looking for one, odds are the pain point will come down to availability, rather than price.
Two new hybrid models coming
Being the first in the hybrid market, it’s no surprise that Toyota produces eight electrified models (nine including the Mirai). For 2021, however, the company announced it will introduce two all-new hybrid models next Monday, May 18.
The first one of those models is most likely the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid. It’s one of the few passenger cars the company hasn’t electrified yet, and there’s room to push in that space as the Chrysler Pacifica is currently the only hybrid minivan on the cul-de-sac. Rumor has it the van is going exclusively to a hybrid platform, and may go on sale this fall.
As for the other, rumors have been floating around that Toyota will revive its Venza name. It may go intro production in September 2021 in Alabama, so we may see another exclusive hybrid by 2022, alongside major changes in Toyota’s truck lineup.
While we wait for news on that, check out more on the all-wheel drive Prius below: