Our spies have peeked inside the new fourth-gen Toyota Prius, and uncovered a new Lexus-influenced design for the seminal hybrid hatchback.
What’s new inside the Toyota Prius?
The biggest change is the deletion of the dash-top mounted digital instruments – there’s now a conventional set of dials behind the (Lexus) steering wheel. The clocks themselves are straight from a Lexus CT200h hatchback, which of course, shares much of its hybrid underpinnings with the boxier Prius.
Also carried over from the baby Lexus is the centre climate control interface, with more upmarket-looking buttons that the current Prius’s plasticky cabin.
Spotted the odd gear selector lever poking out of the dashboard? That arrangement was last used in a Prius in the second-gen car: current Priuses use a more conventional drive selector mounted on the centre console. It’s not yet clear if Toyota will switch back to the old car’s dashboard-lever for the next Prius, or if this is simply a red herring thrown in from a hacked-about test mule.
Is it all change on the outside of the new Toyota Prius too?
Despite the heavy camouflage, we can decipher a few details about the fourth-gen Prius’s exterior. It won’t change much in size from the current mode, and the chopped-roof silhouette will be carried over too. Not only is the long roof/short rear shape very aerodynamically efficient, it’s also become the Prius’s signature feature, making it easily recognisable – the shape says hybrid (and has been copied by the Honda Insight and CR-Z). With 2.9m Priuses sold worldwide since launch (61,000 of those finding homes in the UK) buyers clearly don’t have a problem with the styling…
Each side of this Prius mule features a cut-out for a fuel-filler cap in the rear quarter – like the current Prius Plug-In Hybrid (one filler cap for fuel, one for a charging socket). Sales of the current Prius Plug-In have topped 31,000 worldwide; it’s almost certain Toyota will offer a plug-in-and-pay version from launch this time.