Auto Service World
News   September 8, 2004   by Auto Service World

Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive System Dominates 2004 International Engine of the Year Awards


The Toyota Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain took first place in four categories, including the top honor of “International Engine of the Year 2004,” at a ceremony held at Engine Expo 2004 in Stuttgart, Germany. By taking four awards, Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive has won more trophies in one year than any other engine in the Awards’ history.
After dominating three of 11 sub-categories, Hybrid Synergy Drive faced off against winners in the remaining eight segments for the overall title of “International Engine of the Year 2004.” Hybrid Synergy Drive captured the grand prize with the highest score ever recorded in the history of the competition.
“The dominance of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System in such a prestigious international competition is further evidence that hybrid vehicles are being accepted worldwide into the mainstream consumer mindset,” said Jim Press, executive vice president and COO, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Prius is just the first step for Hybrid Synergy Drive here in the U.S., as we will continue to integrate hybrid technology into existing models in our vehicle lineup.”
Toyota will expand the use of Hybrid Synergy Drive beginning later this year with the launch of the Lexus RX 400h luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV). The RX 400h is based on the current Lexus RX 330 luxury SUV. In 2005, Toyota Division will launch a hybrid version of its popular Highlander mid-sized SUV. Both SUV’s will feature Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrains that will deliver a peak output of approximately 270 horsepower – a nearly 20-percent increase over their non-hybrid powertrains. Fuel economy will be significantly better than the EPA average for a four-cylinder compact sedan. Finally, both the RX 400h and Highlander Hybrid will be rated as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV), one of the most stringent emissions rating in the industry.
Toyota has sold over 180,000 Prius worldwide since its launch in the Japan market in December 1997. Further, more than 28,000 of the all-new next generation Prius equipped with Hybrid Synergy Drive have been sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2004. With the launch of the Highlander Hybrid, Toyota will become the first brand to offer hybrid technology in both a passenger car and SUV.
The International Engine of the Year awards have been held since 1999 with the aim of recognizing the best engines in the world currently available in the marketplace. To be eligible for the awards, engines must be available in a mass-produced vehicle that is on sale in more than one country as of May 26, 2004. The awards jury is composed of a panel of 56 renowned automotive journalists from 24 countries around the globe, covering five continents.
The International Engine of the Year honor adds to Prius’ recent accolades, which include the 2004 North American Car of the Year, Motor Trend 2004 Car of the Year, and the Society of Automotive Engineer’s (SAE) Best Engineered Vehicle for 2004.