Toyota teases upcoming Prius MPV model
Although it provided no additional no hard facts about the vehicle, Toyota used the 10 year anniversary celebration for its Prius Hybrid to offer at least a limited look at one of two new variations that will be heading to showrooms in the next 6-12 months. Largely concealed behind an image of the current Prius five-door is a slightly taller, slightly longer multipurpose vehicle that will be similar in scale to the Mazda Mazda5. It will offer seating for up to seven passengers while providing about 50 percent more interior space than the sedan. Details on this new MPV were presented at the annual Toyota dealer conference held last week in Las Vegas before the teaser image was posted on the Toyota Prius Facebook page.
Although not yet officially confirmed, this more utilitarian Prius variant could well be dubbed the 2011 Prius Alpha MPV and is likely turn up here in the spring. Toyota has said that the vehicle will be formally revealed at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January. While spun from the existing platform mechanicals and expected to use the same 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine and electric motor as the existing hatch sedan, expect it to become the first conventional Prius Hybrid model fitted with a new-gen lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack in place of the nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) pack used in the current car. The new Prius plug-in model due later in 2011 also will be fitted with a more advanced Li-ion battery pack. Perhaps the most intriguing prospect on the Prius Hybrid front is the serious possibility of a new sporty coupe version of the vehicle intended to serve as a rival to the new Honda CR-Z.