Toyota just announced the 20th anniversary edition of the Toyota Prius! Toyota has been a clear leader in hybrid technology for over 20 years, creating somewhat of an empire of environmentally-conscious hybrid drivers. With a wide range of hybrid, plug-in, and electric options now, consumers have more choices to suit their lifestyle and transportation needs. In celebration of the Prius’s 20 year anniversary, we at Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansas have compiled a short history of the Toyota Prius!  Take a look back with us to see just how much the iconic hybrid has grown and evolved! 


First Generation


The first Prius, model NHW10, was launched in Japan in 1997, and was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car. The NHW11 model was introduced in the United States in 2000, and early adopters fought to get their hands on one! With notable stars like Leonard DiCaprio driving them, it’s no wonder their popularity skyrocketed. 


Second Generation 


By 2003, the first generation Prius was six years old, and it was time for an upgrade. The NHW20, or Second Generation, was introduced at the New York International Auto Show for the 2004 US model year. The Second Generation model experienced a complete redesign from the original sedan to the signature Prius hatchback body. The lifted back redistributed space for increased rear-seat legroom and cargo storage. Additionally, the hybrid system “THS” went through a complete overhaul and was renamed “THS II." This new hybrid system increased fuel economy and power. In 2007, Toyota hit a major milestone by selling their one-millionth Prius! 



Third Generation


In January 2009, the third generation Prius debuted at the North American International Auto Show. The third generation got a new 1.8-liter engine that produced 134 horsepower, an increase from the 110 HP output of the 1.5-liter engine of the second generation model. Plus, this new engine was capable of delivering 51 MPG city and 48 MPG highway, and produced less CO2 emissions. Among other new features was a new aerodynamic body, intelligent park assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and three driving modes: EV, Eco, and Power.  



Fourth Generation 


The current Prius model launched in the North American market in January of 2016. This was the first generation of Prius to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform. This platform provides a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. For the 2019 model year, Toyota introduced an all-wheel-drive model utilizing Toyota’s E-Four System, and a redesigned exterior with sleek new headlights and taillights! 


Browse Our Inventory of the Toyota Prius


Prius Family Vehicles 


The Prius Family of vehicles first began with the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHV). The Prius PHV was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2011, followed by a limited US rollout in February 2012. The second generation Prius plug-in, the Prius Prime, was developed in parallel with the fourth generation Prius in 2015, and released to US customers in November 2016. The Prius Prime has an 8.8kWH lithium-ion battery with an EPA rated all-electric driving range of 25 miles, over twice the range of the first generation Prius PHV, and an EPA estimated fuel economy of 133 mpg when driving in all-electric (EV) mode. 


Browse Our Inventory of the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime


 The Prius V was revealed in January 2011 at the North American International Auto Show. The Prius V was derived from the third-generation Prius, but featured over 50 percent more interior cargo space. 


The Prius C was released in March 2012 in the United States. The Prius C was a downsized option of the Prius, combining the features of a Yaris-sized car with a hybrid powertrain.  The Prius C was ranked by the EPA as the 2012 most fuel efficient non-plug-in compact car, beating out the Prius and other Toyota hybrids. 



Prius 20th Anniversary Edition 



In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Prius in North America, Toyota released a special edition! Toyota will make 2,020 of the Prius 2020 Edition for the model year 2021. Based on the Prius XLE 4WD, the Prius 2020 Edition will be available in Supersonic Red or the new Wind Chill Pearl and feature black exterior trim. Other striking exterior features include 17-inch alloy wheels with black inserts and blackout headlight components and trim and a “2020” insignia key glove box. 


We’re amazed by Toyota’s extraordinary history of hybrid technology, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Prius.! If you’re curious about what it’s like to drive a hybrid vehicle like the Toyota Prius, come by Steve Landers Toyota of Northwest Arkansa to take one for a test drive. Once you experience how fun, futuristic, and fuel-efficient the Prius is, you can’t go back! 


Browse Our Inventory of the Toyota Prius

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