Toyota Releases Puzzle Images of Larger Prius, We Have One

Next month, Toyota will unveil a minivan-like larger Prius at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. To create a groundswell of buzz around the vehicle, the company started teasing images of the new model in October, on the 10th anniversary of the Toyota Prius arriving to the United States. Making sense of that image, and one that followed in November, required Prius fans to assemble jigsaw puzzle pieces—first on a giant billboard, then on the PriusChat.com website, and now distributed to “the most influential people in the Prius community.” Guess what? HybridCars.com has one of the pieces.

Prius Puzzle Billboard
First Pruis V Teaser

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Prius, on Oct. 10, 2010, Prius fans assembled a billboard-size puzzle. The image shows the larger Prius behind the current model.

Toyota itself is going through a process of figuring out a puzzle: how to keep the Prius relevant in a market which now includes vehicles that, at least according to the E.P.A., provide more miles per unit of energy—whether gasoline or electricity. The Prius, with its 50-mpg rating, still stands leagues ahead of all other pure gas-powered cars. But the all-electric Nissan LEAF, and the Chevy Volt (while it’s running on electricity) are rated above 90-mpg equivalent.

Toyota’s answer is making the Prius available in different sizes, from compact to minivan, in an effort to turn the quintessential hybrid into a multi-vehicle minibrand. The first two images of the Prius V give a glimpse of a model that will offer more space and comfort than the current Prius, while providing fuel economy worthy of the model’s name.

Toyota has released few details, but the rumor mill has a 2.5-liter engine powering the Prius V—a bump up from 1.8 liters in the current Prius—to provide sufficient oomph for the larger size.

One of the final Prius V puzzle pieces

Here is the Prius V puzzle piece sent to HybridCars.com.

The other piece of the puzzle is cost and availability. Toyota is getting close to its long-term goal of selling 1 million hybrids per year. That means economies of scale and erasing the hybrid premium to just about nothing. In other words, Toyota should be able to produce its new larger Prius at a price competitive with other similar conventional models. And unlike the electric competition, it should roll out by the tens of thousands to dealerships throughout the country—just like a regular car—rather than trickle out via waiting lists.

And in 2012, Toyota will release its own plug-in model, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, as well as two pure electric vehicles. In the meantime, we need to get a more complete picture of what the Prius V looks like—and that requires taking the puzzle piece (shown here) to ToyotaPriusProjects.com and joining it up with the others distributed throughout the web.


  • Michael2017

    According to other websites that have the puzzle pieces that thing you have their is just a “trophy” It just sites on your mantle. The real piece is on the flash drive in the box you got from Toyota.

    http://priuschat.com/sites/default/files/publisher/DSC_0898.JPG

    Priuschat.com has a lot of pieces already:

    http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-hybrid-news/87492-toyota-begins-prius-v-tease-3-another-puzzle.html

    Michael

  • Brad Berman, Editor

    Thanks, Michael. Who knew? We swapped out the real piece, which is now live.

  • Yegor

    From the available image on priuschat website it is a 5-seat car!

    It is too high for a Camry Wagon.

    Toyota Venza Hybrid?

  • Dom

    If I saw the second picture without the caption I’d have guess it to be a Matrix, maybe restyled or something… which is my point… why not make a Matrix hybrid? Oh yeah, it doesn’t have the magical prius name…

  • Charles

    This is the worst marketing I can imagine. To me it is a real turn off. I really do want to replace my current Focus Wagon with a hybrid/plug-in mini-mini van. I thought it was going to be the Ford Grand C-Max, but that looks like I would have to move across the pond to get one. So then Toyota started teasing us with their competitor. I was really happy, but with this type of marketing, I may just wait until Ford comes around.

  • Yegor

    Size is great – much needed! I think it will sell very well!
    Toyota, where have you been before?

  • Anonymous

    From the article: “Toyota is getting close to its long-term goal of selling 1 million hybrids per year. “

    Hmm. I thought I read a few days ago at FT that the total worldwide sales of ALL hybrids and BEV is ‘below’ 1m this year.

  • Anonymous

    Not wanting to nitpick, but according to this: (http://www2.toyota.co.jp/en/news/10/08/0805.html), which is the latest info I can find, sales of ALL Toyota hybrids in the first seven months of 2010 is:
    258.9k (Japan); 170.8k (outside Japan).

    A simple projection for the full year of 2010 would result in: est. worldwide sales 736.6k.

    I’d not be surprised if the actual sales figure for 2010 may come in a bit lower.

  • Anonymous

    700k global hybrid sales for 2010.

    The Prius V, Lexus CT200h plus another rumored new hybrid in 2011.

    And several more new hybrids in 2012.

    http://www.hybridcars.com/news/toyota-promises-11-new-or-redesigned-hybrids-2013-28925.html

    Hmm. Maybe 1 million per year by 2013?

  • Anonymous

    anonymous says:

    “”From the article: “Toyota is getting close to its long-term goal of selling 1 million hybrids per year. “

    Hmm. I thought I read a few days ago at FT that the total worldwide sales of ALL hybrids and BEV is ‘below’ 1m this year.”

    The emphasis is “long-term”, which could mean 3, 5, or even 10+ years.

  • Steve Chestnut

    Hello Toyota,

    Next on your Prius family list…
    How about a Prius based small pickup truck.
    Something similar to the old Chevy El Caminos.
    I have a 2000 Tacoma with a 6′ bed.
    I’d love to trade it in for something similar with Hybrid Synergy Drive.
    I also have a 2009 Highlander Hybrid and love it.
    The family drives the Highlander.
    But I really love driving my small truck and make good use of having an open bed.

    Think about it Toyota, me and my checkbook are waiting.
    Best Regards,
    Steve

  • Yegor

    I hope Toyota will make Prius V Plug-in right away.

    Non-plug-in hybrids are so yesterday.

  • Dom

    Steve Chestnut said “Next on your Prius family list…
    How about a Prius based small pickup truck.”

    Oh heck no! Please don’t make a hybrid pickup. Put a small diesel in the Tacoma!! (And keep the manual transmission too.) This is one of the biggest no-brainers, and none of the automakers will do it! The rest of the world gets small and mid-size diesel pickups from Ford, Toyota, VW etc. that get 30+mpg and are really capable machines, but we get thirsty gasoline engines.

  • Anonymous

    A pickup does not use the cargo space efficiently, but a Van does where you can stack thing one above another upto the roof.

    Prius is all about optimizing the use of Fuel and Space. So Prius& Pickup does not go together. May be Prius Box-truck like the ones in U-Haul makes better sense.

  • Anonymous

    A pickup does not use the cargo space efficiently, but a Van does where you can stack thing one above another upto the roof.

    Prius is all about optimizing the use of Fuel and Space. So Prius& Pickup does not go together. May be Prius Box-truck like the ones in U-Haul makes better sense.