The Toyota Prius remains the best-selling hybrid by a wide margin. Yet despite its once-lofty lead in the battle of mpgs, automakers like Ford have narrowed the gap substantially. So it is good to hear that Toyota is planning some drastic changes for the next Prius, including all-wheel drive, more mpgs, and a drastic design change.
The all-wheel drive system will target Prius owners in snowy climates, with electric motors driving the rear wheels up to 37 mph. The electric motors and engine will both get power increases to help improve acceleration, while extra cargo space is being added to make the Prius more appealing for family types.
Most surprising is the suggestion once more that the next Toyota Prius will have a bold new look, with a lower hood that will help lose the aerodynamic “wedge” shape. The result should be a sleeker, less egg-shaped automobile that more closely resembles the typical family sedan. It could follow the design language of the Toyota Prius C Concept (above) while adding more cargo room like the Prius V.
Yet despite these bold moves, rumor has it that the standard Prius will keep its nickel-hydride batteries. While cheaper than lithium-ion, they are also heavier and pack less energy. Even so, fuel economy is expected to get a nice bump…here in the U.S., I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rating of close to 60 mpg combined.
But will even that be enough to keep the Prius on top?
Source: Auto Express