A lot can be said about Toyota’s hybrid flagship, the Prius. Heck, a lot already has been said about the odd, egg-shaped, fuel sipping little car. Love it or hate it, the Prius has been a sales success story, selling more units than all other hybrids combined while creating a cult of hypermilers and green geeks.
Looking to cash in on the success of the Prius, Toyota is reportedly planning to launch an entire line of Prius automobiles, perhaps even as its own sub-brand. The first contender for a new Prius badge is likely to be either a wagon or SUV, directly addressing the whole lack of cargo room on past Prius models.
As Ford has already shown with its Escape, there is a strong market for hybrid SUV’s. Americans have a lot of crap to lug around, and while the Prius certainly sips fuel like its going out of style (and it is), even the much-improved 21 cubic feet of capacity on the 2010 Prius isn’t enough for many families. Soccer moms across the country might unite behind a Prius badged SUV, or even better, a station wagon.
Station wagons used to be all the rage; could the Prius name make them cool, best-sellers again? With car like qualities, but truck like cargo room, a wagon, in my mind, makes more sense for a hybrid than an SUV. Besides, there isn’t a hybrid wagon out there yet to my knowledge. A wagon would, of course, be heavier, but it could also carry additional batteries, increasing its electric-drive capacity. According to the report in Yomiuri, a high-circulation Japanese newspaper, Toyota execs are considering a lithium-ion battery pack, though in the past they have said they don’t believe lithium-ion batteries can be made affordable for the car buying public.
Toyota isn’t coming up with too many details right now, so we can only speculate on what it might look like. Perhaps a U.S.-spec Venza will be the basis? Or will they stretch out the Prius or Camry? Or will it be based on the Toyota Hybrid-X Concept from the Geneva Auto Show? I guess we just have to wait and see.
Source: Yomiuri via Green Car Advisor | Images: Toyota