The 2017 Toyota Prius not only got a nip-tuck facelift but a new exterior style that is in between a spaceship and a sporty car. While we had fun chirping the tires of this fast-looking four-door, the powerhouse under the hood is what kept us smiling and eco-friendly.

2016-toyota-prius-three-dypticToyota redesigned the Prius front and rear end fascia making it look sportier than before. Its nice to see a manufacturer taking aesthetic qualities from much higher-end cars and bringing them to other models. Now, we’re not calling the 2017 Toyota Prius an LFA in the least, but its interesting to find aerodynamic queues making Toyota’s most eco-friendly platform a bit better in style and low-drag co-efficients.

The rear fascia takes on sharper lines, too, making it seem more in line with the higher-end EVs sharing its market.

The Prius comes with Bi-LED headlights featuring LED daytime running lights and optional automatic high beams (part of the $1,935 Advanced Technology Package, more below). It also features heated exterior mirrors as standard, so no more morning foggy mirrors.

2017-toyota-prius-three_62On the inside, Toyota has given the Prius a very futuristic feel. Replacing a traditional dashboard with driver’s cluster is a large sweeping dash with an information cluster in the middle and a heads-up display (HUD) reflected onto the windshield in front of the driver.

This probably makes swapping the Toyota Prius from left-hand to right-hand driving easier, for the many markets in which its sold, however, it takes some getting used to. There’s also no more placating the significant other with ‘I was only doing 5 over’ as they can very well see it wasn’t a mere 5 mph over.

We particularly enjoyed the look of the exterior paint-matched interior pieces that really give the 2017 Toyota Prius a snazzy look. Bits of the steering wheel and the dashboard and center column are given the paint-finish treatment. The soft-touch white dash material also looked very stylish, but it made me wonder how hard it would be to keep looking as pristine and white.

2017-toyota-prius-three_65In the center dash is a 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen display featuring Toyota’s Entune App Suite, Bluetooth integration, Sirius XM radio, AM and FM radio with HD tuning (where available), and more. There are 10 JBL GreenEdge speakers connected to the infotainment system for a premium sound output.

We found ourselves enjoying quite a few bumpin’ tunes through the Prius’ infotainment system, whether in our favorite radio streaming app (Pandora) or via other radio options.

The upper 4.2-inch screen offers notifications about the hybrid system, a driving monitor, and other information useful to those behind the wheel. We improved our pedal-foot action by using the Eco Score as a pseudo report card for our lead foot.

Toyota’s Advanced Technology Package add-on (valued at $1,935) includes a mooroof, the color heads-up display which will also project navigation commands (when navigation is equipped), and Toyota’s Safety Sense system, including pre-collision, pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts with steering assist, and a full-speed radar cruise control.

We used the intelligent cruise control and heads-up navigation prompts pretty often during our week with the Prius, so it’s a good idea to check the box for that add-on, even as pricey as it is. Other safety systems include air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control systems, and other industry standard features.

2017-toyota-prius-three_54Of course, no one buys the Toyota Prius for its instant torque, tire-chirping abilities. Instead, they buy it because the Toyota Prius has been one of the top-selling electric or hybrid vehicles on the market for nearly a decade.

Since it was introduced in 1997, the Toyota Prius has sold more than 3.7 million units and was the world’s top selling hybrid in 2016.

Which isn’t unexpected. The 2017 Toyota Prius gets an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined (54 mpg city and 50 mpg highway) when not putting pedal to the tire-chirping floor. We averaged around 50 mpg, even in the city, but that’s only because using the instant torque from the electric motor is way too fun at greenlights.

Power comes from a 95-hp, 1.8L dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine connected via Toyota’s hybrid Synergy Drive system to a pack of batteries and a 71-hp electric motor for a total of 166-hp with which to chirp some seriously skinny tires.

One might be asking themselves right about now the all-important “Why”? Because no one expects it from a Prius, which makes their astonished faces even more worthwhile. Flat-cornering with supple touring-tuned suspension in a vehicle with instant acceleration is more fun than most people realize, but it’ll also save the planet while doing so.

The 2017 Toyota Prius THREE starts at an MSRP of $26,250 ($30,117 as driven). In their newest trim level designations, Toyota has named the Prius in order from II to IV (yes, that means there’s no Prius I). The test model 2017 Toyota Prius Three model we test drove is the mid-bottom tier and includes upgraded audio and integrated Sirius FM.

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