The Toyota Aqua (known as the Prius C for NZ new variants) is the smallest vehicle in the Prius hybrid range. It uses the same 1.5-litre engine and an electric motor as the Japanese-market Prius in a lighter, more compact body.
It as very low running costs with solid Toyota reliability and has zippy performance from the hybrid drivetrain.
HOW DOES THE ENGINE WORK?
The petrol engine is an Atkinson-Cycle engine engineered for very low fuel use. A total of 74.6kW is available, with 54kW of this coming from the petrol motor and the rest from the electric motor that boosts it. A variable transmission connects the two - it acts like a gearless automatic. You can set it in a B mode for additional engine braking and energy regeneration.
In normal use, the hybrid-synergy system will turn the petrol engine on and off as power is required. Once you get over 50km/h, it will be on most of the time. At very low speeds it can run on electric-only - but over a very short distance of around one or two kilometres. When you are stopped at the lights, the engine will switch itself off. There are ECO and EV modes to increase vehicle range and economy.