The Toyota Prius Celebrates 20 Years in Canada

Twenty years ago Toyota launched a new kind of car in Canada: the 2001 Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car. With a $29,990 base price, it was meant to be and affordable fuel efficient sedan, a concept that may not have been a priority for many Canadians at a time when a litre of fuel cost only 69 cents in Ottawa.

The Prius was introduced in December 1997 in Japan. Over its first decade, Toyota would go on to sell over 1.8 million worldwide and more than 20,000 in Canada.

One of the first 2001 Toyota Prius on Canadian roads.

Today, over six million vehicles with a Prius badge — hatchbacks, subcompacts and wagons derivatives — have been sold all over the world. In Canada sales of Prius family models reached 90,000 through 2019, and the model name has become synonymous with hybrid technology.

Each generation of the Prius has moved the bar higher. When the first-generation sedan was launched in 2000, Canadian consumers got 97 net horsepower and a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) combined fuel consumption rating of 5,6L/100 km. Ten years later, a larger Prius Hatchback boasted 134 horsepower and delivered fuel consumption of just 4,8L/100 km combined, according to NRCan.

The 2020 Prius powertrain delivers 121 net horsepower and a 4,5L/100 km NRCan combined rating, plus for the first time all-wheel drive is offered at an even lower MSRP than the original Prius’: $29,550 for the 2020 AWD Prius and $28,550 for the base FWD model.

Text: Luc Gagné
Photos: Toyota

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