"The next-generation Prius brings a quantum leap in technology with a remarkable double - improved performance and better fuel economy," Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said.
"We expect power gains of at least 20 percent and significantly improved torque characteristics, at the same time as cutting fuel use by approximately 10 percent. As a result, Prius owners will enjoy greater driving pleasure while having less impact on the environment."
Prius highlights include three driving modes - electric only, eco and power -, ecological plastic for the seat-cushion foam and other interior elements plus dynamic cruise control, a pre-collision system, intelligent parking assist and belt-less engine, as Toyota said in a statement for the press.
The car also boasts solar panels mounted on the roof to power the ventilation system, keeping the battery itself to be used for supplying electricity to the engine.
"Acceleration will be punchier and highway cruising more relaxed, and yet Toyota's internal testing shows it will emit fewer than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre," Buttner explained. "That is impressive from a full-size car with a 1.8-litre petrol engine that seats five adults in comfort and swallows their luggage."
The third-generation Prius is expected to go on sale in Australia in July, while the other markets across the world will receive it in late 2009 and early 2010.