First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

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Prius V

After years of study and speculation, Toyota today unveiled two new Prius vehicles at the 2011 Detroit auto show. By the time all the curtains were opened, four Prius models were displayed on stage: the familiar 50-mpg hatchback model; the Prius plug-in demo version with the same shape; a new larger model that goes on sale this year; and a small city concept Prius that promises to offer the best price and highest mpg of any hybrid on the market.

“The Prius V, which stands for versatility, looks a lot like a Prius, but it has an extended roofline, giving it nearly 60% more cargo room than the existing Prius,” said Doug Coleman, Toyota’s Prius product manager, in an interview with “That’s more than many small SUVs.” Coleman said that Toyota has been studying the idea of a larger Prius for a number of years, and decided that it was the right time to introduce the model.

Toyota estimates that the Prius V will be rated at 42 mpg in the city, and 38 on the highway. The powertrain for the Prius V is nearly identical to the one used in the current Prius model. Prius V features will include a panoramic moonroof and Toyota’s new Entune multimedia system.

“Consumers have told Toyota that they love the idea of the Prius—high fuel-efficiency, low emissions, advanced technology—but the vehicle selling today doesn’t fit their lifestyle and needs,” Coleman said. These consumers want more versatility, comfort and luxury. The final product is a segment-buster that has been difficult to describe by consumers in Toyota research. “They were perplexed. Some called it a wagon. Some called it a crossover. Some called it a hatchback. We said it’s really not any of those things.” Coleman said the EPA is going to classify it as a midsize station wagon. “That doesn’t do it justice. It’s not a crossover, because it doesn’t have a high enough ride. And it’s not a minivan certainly, because it’s not going to have sliding doors. It has seating for five.”

Does this mean that Toyota will not build a full-size hybrid minivan in the future? Not at all, according to Coleman. “We’re not there.” Coleman said Toyota continues to study how to address the engineering challenge of building a hybrid minivan with the features, cost, and convenience that consumers say they want. He showed interest in Ford’s announcement in Detroit about its upcoming C-Max hybrid and plug-in microvan.

Coming Soon: The Prius Compact

Toyota will follow its push of the Prius model to a larger more spacious format in the other smaller direction with a compact hybrid. “The Prius C concept is an inspiration for us to build a future vehicle coming in the first half of 2012 that would be the most value-oriented vehicle of the Prius family, and have the highest mileage of any cordless hybrid,” Coleman said. He said it will be oriented toward young singles and couples, but more maneuverable and affordable.

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Prius C concept

“We expect it to be the most affordable of the Priuses over the lifetime of the vehicle,” Coleman said. “It will be the size of a compact-class of vehicle with Prius DNA, and adding a little bit of fun to drive.” The C stands for city.

In less than two years, all four of the Prius models on the stage in Detroit will be available in showrooms across the United States. The addition of new models with conventional gas-electric technology is Toyota’s effort to make hybrids accessible to consumers who have previously hesitated to buy a hybrid. The current hybrid market remains below three percent of new car sales. Yet, with an entire family of Priuses, Toyota believes that Prius could become the company’s top-selling brand in a matter of years. “We’re talking about multiple hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold a year,” Coleman said.

Don’t Count Toyota Out of the Plug-in Race

The unveiling in Detroit provides a picture of Toyota’s electrification plans for the next year or two, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The company has promised 11 new hybrids by 2012, with seven as unique original nameplates. “We’re not stopping,” Coleman said. “Down the road, we’ll look at different plug-ins.”

When asked if plugging in could be built into the DNA of Toyota hybrids and specifically Prius, Coleman replied, “Absolutely.” When asked specifically if the Prius V wagon, Prius C compact, and other future Priuses might be offered with plug-in capabilities, Coleman repeated, “Absolutely. We’re looking at a lot of things.”

Correction: The header to the section about the Prius C originally said it would be the world’s first compact hybrid. As users point out in the comments, the first generation of hybrids were compacts, and the gas-electric Honda Fit, sold in Asia and Europe, is also a compact. Nonetheless, the Prius C would become the only compact hybrid available in the United States.

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  • Shines

    The new Prius and the Ford C-Max seem to be the same car. This will be interesting.

  • Anonymous

    Yet, Prius V seats five. C-Max can seat up to seven. Big difference. Prius V will be out this year. C-Max not until 2012. Another big difference.

  • Tom R

    How about a Compact Pickup truck Hybred. A-Bat anyone.

  • Anonymous

    42 / 38 ONLY??
    Wow. Why such a drop from 51 / 48 ?

  • DownUnder

    Can’t wait for the Prius V and C. That’s what I really want.

  • Carroll

    I wish Toyota had taken a real leap, and offered a new model comparable to the Mazda5 (or Ford C-Max). I see this slightly larger version as a minor improvement on the current Prius sedan, and predict it will eventually outsell (and potentially replace) the current sedan.

  • JimEllisFroUSA

    For only a little more space, the much less MPG isnt worth it.

  • jabolli

    This is very similar to the FT-CH concept that they introduced a while back. I’ve been hoping that they would announce the FT-CH was coming to production but I like this one even more. It would be a good replacement for my first gen insight and match my wife’s 2010 Prius nicely.

  • jabolli

    I agree, If it could seat 7 like the ford c-max hybrid or the Mazda 5 the hit on the mpg may be acceptable so it could accommodate a large family. But just an increase in storage for the same amount of people? No way.. Who needs that much storage anyway?

  • jabolli

    I agree, If it could seat 7 like the ford c-max hybrid or the Mazda 5 the hit on the mpg may be acceptable so it could accommodate a large family. But just an increase in storage for the same amount of people? No way.. Who needs that much storage anyway?

  • FamilyGuy

    I can justify the use of the space and be okay with drop in MPGs compared to what the Prius is now. But on the same day that Ford says the C-Max is coming to the US and has the 5+2 seating, I want the option of taking a few more people along for a ride. Pricing is going to be a big factor, of course. I can wait until next year for the C-Max. Nonetheless, I like that I have a choice.

  • DownUnder

    I’d like to see 2 additional removable seats at the back of the Prius V.

  • Emmett Blake

    “Consumers have told Toyota that they love the idea of the Prius—high fuel-efficiency, low emissions, advanced technology—but the vehicle selling today doesn’t fit their lifestyle and needs,” Coleman said.

    And still they fail to fit lifestyle and needs. This is not a family vehicle. Increasing cargo space and not passenger capacity in the modern world changes nothing for the family market.

  • JJJ

    Emmett, the average american family has 4 people. Sometimes 5.

    Why the hell do you need room for 7? 2 parents, 3 kids. That just covered 95% of the market.

    Cargo is what people (feel) that they need.

    Look at the number of pickup trucks sold, and the number of people who work as contractors or in construction.

  • GrantUK

    The mini-van is becoming a vehicle of choice for running the grandparents around with the kids, picking mum up on the way to church or for a shopping trip, etc. With the price of fuel going the way it is, motoring is becoming a luxury in places where the infrastructure has made the car vital.

    Versatility is the answer. Versatility means converting part of the load space to passengers, just having a bigger boot does not make it more versatile. That V looks ugly, imho, like a Honda.

    The C shows more promise, providing the price point matches a conventional small city car. What about the tech in the C?

  • FamilyGuy


    We are a 4 person family; 2 adults, 2 kids. Both kids are young and both are in car seats (not boosters, but big old car seats). There is no 5th person going for a ride. My mother-in-laws visits, two cars to the park. An Aunt visits, two cars to go to the mall. My parents come over, two cars to go anyway. That 3rd row does not need to be permanent and full of leg room and just as comfortable as the second row. It just needs to be there for a 20 minute ride to the ice cream shoppe with grandma and grandpa. Otherwise, the 3rd row is folded down and it’s storage. See the Mazda5 or the Rav4 (with the optional 3rd row) where both cars can get 22/28. If the Prius V (with a 3rd row) gets combined in the 40’s (or upper 30’s), isn’t that something new to the market?

    That’s why I want the extra row. I think that’s why others want the extra row as well.

    Also, I love the cargo in a wagon (not a ride high SUV) for going to IKEA, loading trash barrels in the back to go to the transfer station, a trip to the home improvement store, loading my bike to go visit a rail trail, or packing it up with a stroller, pack’n’play and stuff for a 5 day adventure to visit family.

  • Yegor

    Return of station wagons?

    The separate CAFE requirements for cars and trucks created Crossovers. Now since 2012 there going to be a single CAFE requirement for both, hence we will see the return of station wagons since they provider a better fuel economy than crossovers. Prius V is a perfect choice for single CAFE requirement – it looks like the size is like Toyota Camry Station Wagon.
    Fuel efficiency is much improved comparing to Toyota Camry Hybrid.

    It just for my taste Prius V looks a bit ugly. They should have made look like Venza.

    Why they made the rear side windows so small – it obstructs the visibility!

  • BoilerCivicHy

    JJJ, if you have kids I would expect you to understand, having a family of 4 with two kids, means 50% of the time I am hauling around their friends too. 7 passenger seating is a must, the C-max is a good step with the 5+2, but I struggle to understand why a car company could not use the same platform and give us a mini-van, it might not have as much power as current mini vans, but I will sacrifice power for MPG.

  • BillyG

    More cargo space is fine as long as they give me back the capability to lay 8 foot boards in the car like I can my Gen 2 Prius. Moving the control knob to the center console in Gen 3 took that capability away.

    What I was hoping for was something more similar to the Sienna with the towing capacity of the Highlander Hybrid. Toyota, I think Ford beat you on this one.

  • vapsa56

    The way this thread is going about the PriusV is amazing.

    I want a minivan that can haul all 535 memebrs of congress and their families, get at least 8000 miles a gallon on carbon free bio fuels derived from the tears of the Venezualen Angle Falls Hummingbird. Oh, and I only pay for it with a tewnty dollar gift card from Walmart!

    While back here on Earth, where the Laws of Physics still apply, I say bravo to Toyota and Ford for the effort in bringing the first hybrid minivans to market.

    The Prius V is a larger vehicle than the current Prius. Hense more wieght. Check one for lower fuel economy.

    It is not tear drop shaped like the current Prius. The aerodynamics of this vehicle is much less affective with the extended roofline. Check two for lower fuel economy.

    And this little tidbit, from the article, tells it like it is.
    “The powertrain for the Prius V is NEARLY identical to the one used in the current Prius model.” Notice the word NEARLY. I stongely suspect that this engine is not the 1.8L mill found in the standard Prius, but more like the 2.4L mill in the Camery Hybird, just with all the Gen 3 parts, such as software, battery and electrical components as the motivating force for the Prius V.

    So more weight, worst aerodynamics and most likely a larger gasoline engine will mean lower fuel economy. But 42mpg City and 38MPG Highway with and average of 40 MPG is not bad at all when we take a hard look at it realistically.

    Current MPV’s on the market today get, what 30 MPG MAX on the highway? So we are looking at a significant increase in fuel economy. It is a good move in the right direction.

  • Yegor

    You can find the specs here:

    Prius V has the same Powertrain as Prius but a bit larger Dimensions. It is almost the same size as Toyota Camry only a bit shorter but higher. You can consider it Toyota Camry Station Wagon.

    It has almost the same exterior dimensions as Mazda5! – They could have go with Mazda5 6-people layout!

    Yep, it is too small for a minivan – Powertrain will not take 7 people.

  • Jay Jr.

    I like the Prius V, and think I would have purchased it instead of the standard 2010 Prius we just bought, but it’s still not meeting my real needs for passengers. Like others have said, I still need to take 2 cars to take anyone (friends, parents, etc) anywhere.

    Didn’t Honda say the Odessey is going to be out in Hybrid version in 2012?

  • Yegor

    If the price is reasonable Prius V should be a huge hit. If it costs around $26,000 I think it can sell in the same numbers as Prius – around 10,000 per month. Chevy Volt is a bit expensive so lots of people will not be able to afford Volt but will be able to afford Prius V.

  • Yegor

    Yeah, Prius V will be a huge hit. Prius V does not have to be a minivan to sell in big numbers – mid-size cars sales actually are a lot bigger than minivans. The problem with today mid-size hybrids (Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima) is actually versatility – the battery blocks cabin access from trunk. And this is exactly what Prius V is going to fix – V stands for Versatility!
    Sales are going to be huge!

  • Anonymous

    I think the new 2012-2016 EPA CAFE requirement still has different ‘profiles’ for cars and ‘trucks’. See web site.

  • Yegor

    Yes, it looks like you are right.
    Kudos to Toyota then!
    Mid-size station wagon are absent because of different CAFE requirements for cars and crossovers.
    Prius V competes with small crossovers like Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.
    Prius V can seriously shake up mid-size cars and small crossovers market!
    It is going to be interesting! 🙂

  • Luke

    The Prius C is not the first compact hybrid. The first generation Prius was a compact, and the first generation Honda Insight is a subcompact.

  • veek

    The Prius V makes the standard Prius look even better — a solidly-engineered, well-packaged product with superb mileage that will probably still set the standard for hybrids for the foreseeable future.

    Marketing is hard to figure out! Although the “V” has 60% more interior volume than the normal Prius, it looks like most of it goes to extending the roofline in the vehicle’s rear. This doesn’t seem terribly useful unless you are hauling potted plants in the trunk and still need to seat 4 or 5 adults. The “V” does look more like a normal car, and Toyota has kept its hallmark “Prius blind spot” at the passenger’s rear corner. So … to haul potted plants in a more normal looking car, you give up considerable mileage.

    The Prius C looks like an interesting vehicle, though, but while Toyota is at it, why not make a more performance-oriented vehicle, or even a convertible?

  • JK

    “Coming Soon: The World’s First Compact Hybrid”

    Wasn’t the Honda Insight the world’s first compact hybrid?

  • Dom

    I find it funny how hard they were trying to deny it being a station wagon! And 43/38?? Shucks… I’d rather buy a Jetta Sportswagen TDI anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Seems I was the only one hoping for a Prius station wagon … but the big drop in mpg is disappointing, I was hoping that it would be much closer to the Prius.

    First I thought damn, I should have waited a year to by my Prius (bought it jan 2010) because I really would like the additional storage… but looking at the mpg, I’m glad I didn’t wait.

  • Anonymous

    The world’s first compact hybrid?

    Do you mean Honda Fit hybrid, that’s already on sale in Japan?

  • Anonymous

    terrible mileage, wrong direction. it’s not like the original prius had low cargo room to start with. it would only make sense if it can replace a minivan.

  • Elliot

    Im excited to see another option, but I think they missed the mark. To those who say “who needs cargo space or a third row anyway”, do you have kids and an extended family? We have 2 kids who are still in child seats of one form or another and even in our 2008 Toyota HH there is no fifth person when they are in the second row. Having an optional third row makes the vehicle very flexible. A minivan would be easier, but I just don’t want that much vehicle. The HH allows me to carry the kids, their friends, take one car when grandparents go out with us, etc. But when we only ride with the 4 of us we aren’t carrying around an excessive amount of extra vehicle like you do in a minivan.

    Right now we already have medium and small hybrid passenger car options. What we need is more of a “family” vehicle. Take the Mazada 5, make it a little wider, maybe a couple inches deeper to allow for 3 adult seating in second row with 2 adolescents or small adults in 3rd row. Keep the sliding doors as that is a great option for carting kids around who like to SWING open their doors (you don’t want to park next to me when my son gets out).

    Make that vehicle get high 30’s to low 40’s in town, and range from $26k to $36k.

    There….you have a winner and people are satisfied. And frankly, I think it is doable. My fear is that the Prius V they are delivering is too small to fit this niche, but not really competitve for less-space needs when compared to the Camry, Fusion, etc.

    Or, maybe its bigger than I think it is and I am wrong.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I think the Prius V hits the mark. How many times will you need to fit 7 people in a vehicle? And if it’s a lot, do you really want a vehicle that the Prius is competing with? Probably not. You’ll probably want something a lot bigger and more comfortable if fitting 7 people is a big concern for you. So quit your whining and go look at a bigger vehicle.

    I wonder if the gas mileage suffers because it is slightly bigger than the normal Prius? Seriously, 42/38 is great for a vehicle this size. Better than the competition.

    If you’re looking for a vehicle that can seat 20 people, get 80mpg, have every conceivable option ever put on a vehicle and have it priced at $15,000 maybe you should click your heels together and say three times, “There’s no place like Oz. There’s no place like Oz. There’s no place like Oz.”

    Too many whiners and moaners on here. Sheesh…

  • Shines

    I’ll take the plug in version of the Prius V as soon as it’s available…

    Does anybody else see the similarity between the Prius C and the CR-Z? The roofline is nearly identical. The Prius C looks very much like a 4 door version of the CR-Z…

  • Anonymous

    Capt. Concernicus,

    I want a 7 seater Prius – and no, I don’t want anything bigger or more comfortable. Having kids doing sports, I often have to take members of their soccer team to other places. No need for lots of additional space or ‘comfort’ – just driving a couple of kids around every weekend ….

  • hanan

    im about to buy a 2011 prius & have it converted to plug-in. ill hold on to it untill i can do a plug in on a hybrid sienna/prius vII whatever it will be called then. i had a 05 sienna ,great car terrible mileage. i cant afford to support the oil sheiks any more or be a test market for toyota. remember the golden rule. dont buy into new technology right away…youre actually paying to test it.

  • joe

    YES, I have a CR-Z

  • ExTexan

    The C-Max is not a hybrid, the Prius is.

  • tapra1

    Toyota’s Prius product manager, in an interview with “That’s more than many small SUVs.” Coleman said that Toyota has been studying the idea of a larger Prius for a number of years, and decided that it was the right time to introduce the model. DK Tech