Toyota has pushed back its 2016 Prius production to December 2015 but it may be worth the wait with potentially all-wheel drive and li-ion battery options available.

When the fourth-generation Prius is launched, it will offer a nickel metal-hydride pack as before, and a lithium-ion pack on upline trim levels, said a senior manager in Japan last week.

The plug-in hybrid version of the Prius already offers li-ion as standard, and Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of powertrain also said all-wheel drive is being seriously considered.

“I think we will possibly do it,” said Saga, while confirming the two different battery packs for the car that will also utilize Toyota’s modular New Global Architecture.

Saga provided no details on the new hybrid system other than it will be smaller and lighter, but in keeping with previous reports estimating 10-percent increased mpg or more, and sportier performance, he said it will be impressive.

“The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone,” Saga said.

Automotive News