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Sprung! Next-generation Toyota Prius hybrid.


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Sprung! Next-generation Toyota Prius hybrid

Richard Blackburn, drive.com.au, August 25, 2008.

Spy photographers have caught the all-new version of the world's most famous petrol-electric hybrid car filling up at a petrol station - including its new space-age interior. RICHARD BLACKBURN reports.

Spy photographers have caught the next-generation Toyota Prius hybrid car undergoing testing ahead of its official unveiling at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show. Although the new car is heavily disguised, the photos show that Toyota designers haven’t made major changes to the petrol-electric hybrid vehicle’s distinctive look.

The interior of the new Prius hybrid, however, has had a significant re-design, with the world's most famous hybrid car adopting a far more modern look that shares styling cues with the Toyota Corolla.

As with the Corolla, the formal, upright centre console of the Prius has been replaced with a bridge-like design that flows from the dash to the car’s centre storage bin in between the two front seats.

Also similar is an open storage compartment underneath the floating centre console.

The gearshifter of the new Prius hybrid has been moved from the dash to the centre console and now resembles a conventional manual gearshift lever, although it is finished in a blue, carbonfibre-look in keeping with the space age theme.

Toyota designers have retained the large screen that displays diagrams of the car’s hybrid drive system and tells drivers when they are saving fuel and regenerating energy through the braking system.But while the old screen used to sit high on the dash, the new screen is integrated into the sloping centre console, creating a more wraparound cockpit feel for the driver.The new Prius is expected to go into production in Japan – and for the first time, the United States – early in 2009, with local versions tipped to arrive in the middle of 2009.

Toyota is working feverishly on a plug-in hybrid powertrain, although early versions of the next generation Prius are expected to continue with the regular hybrid engine, albeit with major updates and changes to improve its efficiency.

Pundits are predicting the new Prius will be powered by a bigger, more powerful four-cylinder petrol engine - up from 1.5 to 1.8 litres - taken from the Corolla.

The new engine, when combined with a new electric motor, is expected to put out an extra 30kW of power, bringing total output of the hybrid powertrain to roughly 120kW, the same as Toyota’s Camry medium sedan. Despite the extra power, fuel consumption will be better than the current model. Some estimates say the new car will have a fuel label rating of just 2.9 litres per 100km, down from the current model's 4.4L/100km. These seem optimistic, however, given the increase in engine capacity.

The fuel economy improvements will come from a more efficient nickel-metal-hydride battery and updates to Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain.

There is also talk of a solar panel on the roof to power the electronics and air-conditioning.

Toyota plans to replace the nickel-metal-hydride batteries with lighter, more efficient lithium-ion batteries during the new car’s model cycle, but early models will persevere with the older technology.

Toyota plans to start producing lithium-ion batteries next year in a joint venture with Matsu****a Electric Industrial, but they are not expected to enter vehicle production until at least 2010.

A plug-in hybrid version is also expected to be available early next decade.

Although the body doesn’t look very different from the current model, it is rumoured to be 25mm wider and 30mm shorter than the current model.

The main visual difference is at the rear of the car. The hatchback’s glass area has been extended and a prominent rear spoiler splits the glass section, in a similar design to Mercedes’s C-Class Sports Coupe (since replaced by the new CLC).

The 2010 Prius will be built at Toyota’s new Mississippi plant in the United States as part of plan to reduce the car’s whole-of-life environmental footprint.

Critics have suggested that the Prius hybrid's fuel efficiency is cancelled out by the carbon emissions created during shipping from the Japan to the United States.

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2009 Toyota Prius. Spy illustration: Automedia

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2009 Toyota Prius. Spy illustration: Automedia

25Toyota-Prius3_L_700.jpg

2009 Toyota Prius. Spy illustration: Automedia

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The next Prius could be leaner, greener and meaner.

e these the photos of the next Toyota Prius, tipped to go on sale in 2010?

Prius_2010.jpg Photos: 2010 Toyota Prius?

17 October 2008

And if it is, what are chances it’s going to try and be leaner and greener. And maybe a bit meaner, as well.

Prius became the signature nameplate for environmentally proud drivers after it first appeared overseas in 1997. But since that time, more contenders for the greener turf have appeared.

So will Toyota try and protect their real estate with a third-generation car that addresses some of the concerns non-Prius drivers (and therefore non-buyers) have expressed about the brand … particularly a lack of power, features and variants.

And in the face of growing competition, will they present us with a system so frugal it can’t be ignored in the market? Since Toyota has already said they plan to be selling 1 million hybrids per year after 2010, you can bet that’s the aim.

Toyota sources have hinted that the coming cars will be larger, better equipped and more comfortable, with at least one extra variant, possibly based on the Hybrid X Concept that starred on the stand at the recent Australian International Motor Show.

There are also suggestions it will have more power from a larger engine – tipped to be 1.8-litres (300cc more than the current model) with a 25 per cent increase in kilowatts bringing it close to 75kW, and the combined figure of the petrol and electric motors to around 110kW.

However, Toyota will work hard to ensure the extra power doesn’t mean extra fuel, and may possibly even bring it in under the 4L/100km mark to smack down rivals like the Honda Civic Hybrid.

They’ll have their eye on the emissions figure too … an area that is also under marketing attack from the competition … and could well slash their CO2 down from 106g/km, especially since a couple of other cars are sitting below the 100g/km mark.

A plug-in version of the Prius is also being tested, and is expected to join the third-gen hybrid shortly after it goes on sale.

But it remains to be seen whether the new models will answer questions about the environmental cost of the Prius from `well to wheel’, or the current price premium of hybrid technology.

- Carsguide

Next-generation petrol-electric hybrid’s sportier look revealed on internet months ahead of its 2009 Detroit motor show debut.

Leaked! The new Toyota Prius hybrid

Jez Spinks, drive.com.au, October 17, 2008.

The third-generation version of the world’s most popular hybrid car has been leaked on the internet months ahead of its official reveal.

Pictures of the all-new petrol-electric Toyota Prius show the hybrid will look sleeker and sportier than its predecessors when it goes on sale in 2009.

The new Prius, which isn’t due to debut until January’s Detroit motor show, features an evolutionary body shape but with changes to styling and dimensions.

The windscreen, for example, is more steeply raked and the roofline and glasshouse are significantly more coupe-like than the current-generation model. The new Prius is rumoured to be about 25mm wider but about 30mm shorter than the current model.

A new front end includes sharper-looking headlights, a wide and deep air intake flanked by stacked foglights and indicators, and a raised section above the Toyota badge that follows the design theme of the company’s Yaris, Camry and Corolla models.

The sportier side profile includes a prominent beltline that rises from headlights to tail-lights.

There’s no view of the Prius’s rear end, though Drive’s previous spy shots revealed that the hybrid will improve visibility with a rear window that extends downwards toward the bumper.

The leaked interior shot also confirms the 2009 Prius will boast a more space-age cabin, with an angled centre console ‘bridge’ copied from Toyota’s own Corolla small car. The console includes a stylish automatic gearshift lever that features a tipshift operation for manual changes.

The console also incorporates a large screen that can again display a graphic displaying the Prius’s hybrid drive system in action.

Digital instruments such as speedo are again incorporated into the top of the Prius’s dash, and the hybrid continues to offer plenty of storage options – including the retention of a twin glovebox.

As previously reported by Drive, the third-generation Prius is expected to upgrade from the current 1.5-litre petrol engine to a 1.8-litre four-cylinder from the Corolla.

The new engine will combine with a new electric motor to produce about 120kW in total, though fuel economy and emissions will both improve.

A Toyota insider told Drive to expect Prius III’s fuel economy to drop just below 4.0L/100km (from the current 4.4L/100km), while emissions will be reduced from 106g/km to about 90g/km.

A Toyota executive admitted at the recent 2008 Paris motor show that the new Prius could have been more environmentally friendly, but the Japanese car maker wanted to shake off the hybrid’s “fuddy-duddy” image by offering improved performance.

“[The new Prius] will be cleaner [than the current model], with CO2 emissions below 100g/km,” said Toyota GM managing director Miguel Fonseca. “We could have gone lower, but instead we have chosen to give the Prius better performance.

Prius III’s hybrid system will incorporate a more efficient nickel-metal-hydride battery, while in 2010 the green Toyota will switch to the lighter and even more efficient lithium-ion batteries.

A new solar roof is said to be a new option for the Prius, which would be capable of powering the Prius's electronics and air-conditioning.

Toyota Australia has high hopes for the new Prius, telling Drive at a pre-Sydney motor show media event that it expected the new-generation model to boost its hybrid sales.

The local car maker believes that, by as early as 2012, hybrids will account for one-in-10 Toyotas sold locally.

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Edited by omn1potent
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Funny, you're all bitching about the looks of the new prius - but Honda already tried making a hybrid look normal and failed miserably!

Apparently the enviro conscious dont like integrating and prefer to make fashion statements about saving the planet, so Honda have gone from the civic:

2007_Honda_Civic_hybrid_1.jpg

to the Insight:

2010-Honda-Insight.jpg

...which just happens to look like a Prius!

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Funny, you're all bitching about the looks of the new prius - but Honda already tried making a hybrid look normal and failed miserably!

Apparently the enviro conscious dont like integrating and prefer to make fashion statements about saving the planet, so Honda have gone from the civic:

2007_Honda_Civic_hybrid_1.jpg

to the Insight:

2010-Honda-Insight.jpg

...which just happens to look like a Prius!

Ahh, but the old Insight looked like **** too (unique ****, but still ****), and it flopped majorly.

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Ahh, but the old Insight looked like **** too (unique ****, but still ****), and it flopped majorly.

True - but the point I'm raising is that if everyone else in thread had been consulted during the design of the new prius, they would have said said "no way, make it look like a normal car". I probably would have said the same thing!

(The civic is slightly more thirsty (4.6 L/100 vs 4.4 for the prius), and not quite as smooth as the prius - but it has more mod cons inside, and is a few grand cheaper. The civic would be my choice...)

But the fact of the matter is that the 'stand out' looks are the selling point because people want to scream "Look at me, I'm driving a hybrid!". You cant argue with worldwide sales projections of 1 million Priuses vs 200,000 hybrid Civics...

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The Prius looks strange 'cause they (Toyota) are trying to bring down the Cd to make it slippery. It's perhaps the only car out now that looks close to those weird concept cars you see at motor shows. At any rate, the new Prius has quite a bit of Auris influence about it (which I'm not a fan of anyhow :P).

Gav.

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