Is This The 2016 Prius?

A report of what is presented as a sneak peek of a 2016 Prius Liftback (pictured top) and double-electric-range Prius Plug-in Hybrid are shown on a Taiwanese website.

If the images are real, they may be the only ones known of the much-anticipated next-generation hybrid cars.

Prius Plug-in Hybrid? Report says under JC08 it gets 50 kilometers range (31 miles). If true, this could be in the 20s under EPA.

Prius Plug-in Hybrid? The report says under JC08 it gets 50 kilometers range (31 miles). If true, this could be in the 20s under EPA.

The drawings look fairly convincing, having resemblance to the silhouette of black covering-draped photos of 2016 preproduction cars floating out there, although the report leaves open room for suspicion.

It definitely is not the result of an official Toyota disclosure, and the company has taken pains to conceal the new cars’ identities. To date it’s been unclear whether the plug-in hybrid was ready to show, or would follow the Liftback.

2016 Prius under cover.

2016 Prius under cover.

We urge caution at this juncture, but in the event these are images bootlegged from Toyota, we’re posting this for consideration until we learn more. The website, mobile.autonet.com.tw, appears to have straight reporting on many new cars and this is being treated as one more report of an “exposure,” as translated from Chinese.

2016_rear

According to the report, the aquamarine hybrid is said to have earned 40 km/L on the very liberal Japanese JC08 cycle, or close to 94 mpg. This is high but not impossible, as the report says the present version has been rated up to 37 km/L.

If correct, this is an 8-percent increase on the Japanese cycle. The U.S. rates the 2015 at 50 mpg, and an 8-percent increase would be 54 mpg, although testing is different in the U.S. so an actual number might not be proportional to Japan.

The increase in efficiency, says the report, comes from tweaks to the powertrain architecture for the Hybrid Synergy Drive. A roughly 105-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC VVT-i inline four-cylinder gasoline engine, presumably Atkinson cycle like the present, is said to be retuned with an electric water pump, Cool EGR exhaust gas recirculation system and exhaust heat recovery system to increase fuel efficiency and reduce engine warm-up time.

2016-toyota-prius-spied-thailand1

The electric motor is said to be 90 horsepower, a lithium-ion battery is mentioned, but specs are not given. and total system horsepower is said to be a bit more than the current mode, or by the report’s reckoning, “145-150.” A 2015 Prius is rated 134 horsepower.

Power is reportedly routed as with the present Prius, through a CVT transmission with four modes – Normal, Power, Eco and EV.

As for the plug-in version, the report says it travels 31 miles electrically (50 km) on the Japan cycle and is rated 70 km/L under a gas-plus-electric operation cycle.

The present PHEV’s electric range under JC08 was rated 26.4 miles (16.4 miles). The U.S. EPA rates the present model’s range at 11 miles gas plus electric. It does not post on the window sticker its 58 mpg gas-combined-with-electric operation mpg rating as the JC08 publishes – 70 km/L instead of 40 km/L – but “bookends” the 2015 PHEV’s gas-plus-electric operation at a low of 50 mpg, same as the Liftback, 95 MPGe in pure electric drive mode.

Styling-wise, the vehicle has cues similar to the Mirai FCV, and Prius Liftback and comes with two different headlight and grille treatments.

The 2016 has been said by Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz as a better driving car, more dynamic than present, and it’s been reported more sporting appeal is a design goal.

2016

The report says the new Prius has dimensions slightly larger than the present model’s 4480 × 1745 × 1490mm (176.4 x 68.9 x 59.7 inches).

Curb weight is pared from the 2015 model’s 3,042 pounds to 2,843 pounds (1,290 kg) and the plug-in hybrid weighs 1,350 kg (2,976 pounds), lighter than the current 3,165-pound base Prius PHEV.

The translated text says the new car will be globally revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show as previously speculated.

It will then go to Los Angeles, Detroit, Geneva and China, says the report and go on sale at the end of the year.