The Prius family is growing again. Toyota is already set to bring the seven-seater Prius Plus to UK showrooms early next year – but Auto Express can reveal that it’s also planning to launch a trio of all-new models in the next three years as it moves to turn the Prius into a standalone brand. This bold step will see hybrids sold through specific dealers by 2014.
That’s when the replacement for the current Prius saloon is due to arrive, and our illustrations show the cars that will join it in these new franchises. Readers may be familiar with the first of these, as the Prius C was previewed by the striking Prius C Concept at the Detroit Motor Show in January.
Gone are the blade-like headlamps and distinctive LED running lights seen on the car on the stands. The bold indent running down the flanks has also been axed, as the production C takes on a more conservative design. The idea remains the same, though, with the compact five-door hatch providing a new entry point to the Prius brand and competing with smaller hybrids like Honda’s Insight and CR-Z.
With its compact dimensions and low kerbweight, as well as its combination of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, the C will be the most efficient Prius. It’s set to deliver economy well in excess of 80mpg. But if you thought the new Prius brand wouldn’t be exciting, think again – a two-door performance hybrid is also earmarked for 2014.
The Sports Coupe is based on a rear-wheel-drive platform taken from the next Lexus GS. It will get a new plug-in hybrid set-up featuring lithium-ion batteries, and be offered with a manual gearbox. Also set to debut in 2014 is a Prius SUV. This high-riding model has been rumoured since the Hybrid X Concept was seen at 2007’s Geneva Motor Show, and it’s set to be based on the Toyota RAV4.
Our sources say it will be the most efficient car in its class, and offer the latest Hybrid Synergy Drive set-up or a version of the Sports Coupe’s plug-in drivetrain.