While Prius has been picking up awards and amassing huge sales, Toyota has been busy preparing for the launch in December of another new hybrid, the Sai.
It’s bigger and more powerful than Prius and comes laden with high-tech features, which will help Toyota reach an even wider range of customers with its full hybrid vehicle line-up. Sadly that doesn’t include motorists here in Europe as there are no plans for the Sai to be sold outside Japan. We think that’s a pity, as it looks like an impressive all-round package.
Like Prius, it is powered by the latest-generation Toyota Hybrid System (known to us in the UK as Hybrid Synergy Drive), but with a beefier 2.4-litre petrol engine in place of the 1.8 unit. Combined output from the engine and electric motor is around 187bhp.
The Japanese systems for measuring fuel economy and emissions are very different from those we’re familiar with in Europe, but Toyota says consumption is on par with that achieved by the tiny, tax-busting 600cc mini-vehicles that are hugely popular in Japan.
It’s also interesting to note that the Ecological Plastic that Toyota introduced in new Prius is used even more extensively in the new Sai, accounting for almost two thirds of the cabin surfaces.
It comes with an impressive equipment list, including the novel Plasmacluster Ions, a system for feeding positive and negative ions into the cabin atmosphere to clean up air quality and promote stress-free driving.