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Toyota expands Prius family

2011-01-12 09:03

"PRIUS FOR EVERYONE": The Prius nameplate is in its third generation, but a hybrid MPV is finally a reality for fans of the technology.

The much-talked-about MPV version of the Prius hybrid has finally broken cover at the Detroit auto show.

The second model in the Prius family is named Prius v (with the "v" for "versatility) and meant to cater to the needs of growing families – basically Prius hatch owners that have grown up.

Although it looks like a stretched version of the hatchback, the five-seater Prius v is new from the ground up, and offers 50 percent more interior space than the hatchback with a load capacity of 970 litres, Toyota says.


In terms of utility the Prius v's second row of seats can be slid back or forth or reclined through 45 degrees. The rear bench splits 60/40, while the front passenger seatback can also be folded flat to allow for the carriage of larger items.

As for the hybrid technology in use, the Pruis v shares many of the features seen in the Prius hatchback, including Normal, Power, Eco and EV driving modes and an e-CVT gearshift. It will be powered by the same powertrain as the Prius hatchback.

In addition to this, Prius v will be the first Toyota to offer a new multimedia system, called Entune, that links the owner’s cellphone to navigation, entertainment and information services.

The Prius v goes on sale in the US later in 2011 but, according to Toyota SA, is not being considered for introduction in the South African market.

MIGHTY MITE: It is hoped the Prius c Concept will appeal to young singles and couples who want an "eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive" car.


One the other end of the Prius spectrum, Toyota also used its Detroit display to showcase the Prius c Concept.

Referred to as a small, “city-centric” hybrid, Prius c promises to be a smaller hybrid car using some of the features seen on the latest-generation Prius.

It is likely the Prius c will borrow a fair amount of parts from the Yaris, including an engine for the little Prius' powertrain.

Also on show is a plug-in version of the Prius with a lithium-ion battery that takes only three hours to recharge and can be topped up at any time.

Depending on the driving conditions, the Prius Plug-in can be driven up to 21km on battery power alone at speeds up to 100km/h.

Both the Prius Plug-in, which is currently on a demonstration programme in the US, and the production version of the Prius c Concept are slated to go on sale in the US during the first half of 2012.


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