Toyota Prius V and Toyota Prius C concepts (2011)

Published: 11 January 2011

What’s the plural of Prius? We don’t know, but at the 2011 Detroit motor show today Toyota pulled the wraps off two new Prius models. One is a production-ready MPV called the Toyota Prius V, and the second is the Prius C concept, which will inspire a future small hybrid.

The Prius has notched nearly one million sales in the US alone since it was introduced in 2000, and the current car is Toyota’s third best selling car in America – these new models will only push those numbers much higher.

Tell me about the production car first, the Toyota Prius V

‘V’, as you may have guessed, is for versatility, so although the Prius V sits on the same platform as the current Prius (and uses the same 1.8-litre petrol engine and  Hybrid Synergy Drive tech). Mind you, it offers over 50% more luggage space than its smaller sibling.

There’s still only seating for five inside, but it’s even more spacious than the already ample Prius, and both the second row of seats and the front passenger seat fold flat.

It’s definitely still a Prius at the front, but the rear seems to mix Prius design cues with the Verso, old-shape Honda Civic and Saab 9-3 Sport Wagon. The extra size and weight means it’s not quite as economical as the regular Prius, achieving (US) 42mpg city and 38mpg highway, versus 51 and 48 for the original.

What about the new Toyota Prius C?

While the Prius V is bigger than the standard Prius, the C concept is smaller – ‘C’ stands for city. 

The concept car itself previews a Yaris-sized production hybrid that we should see in the first half of 2012, and Toyota is aiming for a lower price point than the starting mark of $22,800 a Prius today.

Toyota claims it will be ‘the most value-oriented hybrid in the U.S. market with the highest mileage of any “cordless” hybrid’.  The Prius plug-in will reach the US market at around the same time as the production Prius C.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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