Fact: More than 1,000 new patent applications were filed for the 2010 Toyota Prius.

The 2010 Toyota Prius, officially unveiled this morning at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, will break the 50-mpg mark. The third-generation Prius is bigger and more powerful than the previous version—but will become the only vehicle in the United States that offers combined mileage greater than 50 miles per gallon.

The first-generation Prius, which was rated 41 EPA combined
mpg, was replaced by the current model, which is EPA rated at 46 mpg,
combined city/highway. Using a combination of technologies, fuel efficiency was
increased to an estimated 50 miles per gallon for the new Prius.

First Official Photos of 2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Prius
2010 Prius

The engine has grown from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters—giving a boost in horsepower from 110 to 160—and the body is be three to four inches longer and about an inch wider. Toyota engineers were also able to reduce the Prius’s wind resistance—coefficient of drag is 0.25, compared to 0.26 for the previous model. Engineers made changes to the shape of the fender liner, front surface of the underfloor, and added a fin at the rear floor cover to increase linear stability.

2010 Prius
2010 Prius

2010 Prius
2010 Prius

Our coverage from the Detroit Auto Show of the 2010 Toyota Prius will continue with more details, and interviews with Toyota executives. Stay tuned.