By 2003, 120,000 copies of the first generation Toyota Prius were already sold in Japan and Europe. By this time, a hybrid car market had formed, on which models of other companies were presented, including. In early 2003, Toyota announced that in September of the same year, the second generation Prius would come equipped with the TSH-II hybrid system. The design of the Prius has also been updated. He became a sedan whose dimension fit between the Corolla and Camry, with the features of a 5-door hatchback; the wheelbase was lengthened, the rear seats advanced into the middle of the cabin, the functional space of which expanded. The volume of the trunk has increased, which increased the ease of use.
The new generation Prius NHW20, apart from the special and anniversary versions that were produced at different times, is represented by two basic trim levels S and G, for which touring versions, which include larger rims, xenon headlights, a front and rear spoiler, were in turn offered. fog lights. The interior of the car has changed significantly. A digital icon was added with new icons. The car received a new "rich" buttons multifunction steering wheel. The transmission control lever has been reduced to a small joystick. The front panel became strict and, having lost its rounded lines, acquired more noble features. The car’s functionality has also improved - the rear door “a la hatchback” opens a huge opening of the luggage compartment, equipped with a shelf-curtain, which, if necessary, can be easily hidden in a box under the floor. The rear row seats fold down, freeing up extra space.
Minor changes associated with the design of the front and rear optics affected the car in 2005.
The second-generation gasoline engine, part of the overall Prius powerplant, has become more powerful by several hp. Thanks to the variable voltage system, the updated high-performance motor and batteries, it became possible to further reduce fuel consumption and increase the possible speed of the car on an electric motor. Fuel consumption is now only 2.8 liters per 100 km - this was the new Prius record demonstrating environmental friendliness. The improved streamlining of the model also contributed to this - the drag coefficient is 0.26. For the first time, the Prius uses an electric air conditioning compressor, which no longer needs a drive belt - this also could not but affect the reduction in fuel consumption. The suspension of the Toyota Prius in the back of the NHW20 has not fundamentally changed - in front of the suspension struts, at the rear there is a torsion bar. In general, the car's suspension is quite sturdy; in touring trim levels it is also moderately stiff. The minimum turning radius is not in favor of the second generation - with an increase in base, it has grown to 5.1 meters. It seems to be a little, but a lot. However, the Prius, stuffed with electronics, shows here one of its best features - the car is equipped with the world's first intelligent parking system. When the driver puts the car in the parking lot, handing it back, he can remove his hands from the steering wheel - the car itself will drive into the right place, choosing the distance between neighboring cars.
As standard equipment, the second-generation Toyota Prius has two airbags, plus side airbags and curtain airbags as an option. In addition to the standard anti-lock braking system (ABS), the car has regularly acquired an electronic stability control system, traction control, and an auxiliary braking system. The new body has better rigidity and provides high protection for the driver and passengers when impacting from different sides. In crash tests conducted by different companies, Prius showed good results.
Continuing the traditions laid down by the first Prius, the second generation hatchback raised the bar for the development of the hybrid direction to a new height and became a worldwide hit. He is very popular in Russia. The relatively recent years of production, the good technical condition of most cars, the relatively affordable prices are the main advantages of the second generation, and the owners of these machines no longer experience the difficulties and problems with maintenance and operation that the owners of the first hybrids faced.