Toyota’s yet-to-be-unveiled 2010 Prius will have a bigger engine and a higher top speed, but improvements to CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency will take a backseat.
While the company has plans for a hyper-efficient plug-in version of the Prius by 2011, the standard model will make relatively few upgrades to its environmentally-friendly features. “It will be cleaner, with CO2 emissions below 100gm per kilometer,” said Miguel Fonseca, a Toyota managing director. “We could have gone lower but, instead, we have chosen to give the Prius better performance.”[social_buttons]
The engine will grow from 1.5 to 1.8 liters, the top speed could increase from 106 to 120 mph, and the car will measure a few inches longer and an inch wider. A Toyota spokesperson said the changes were to increase the vehicle’s mass-market appeal, but with the changing economy and increased concern for the environment, it remains to be seen whether top speed will be among buyers’ concerns.
Now that nearly every car company has embraced hybrid technology, Toyota could soon face steep competition—take the recently-announced Chevy Volt, for instance. Instead of looking to solidify the Prius’ status as the most fuel-efficient hybrid available, they’ve decided to adopt an unfortunate bigger-is-better mentality.