Thanks to the miracle of Photoshop, we weren't sure if this leaked photo really was the forthcoming 2010 Toyota Prius, or someone's creative interpretation of what the next hybrid hatch would look like. That said, after a brief phone call with a Toyota rep, we can tell you this: it's legit.
This is no rendering, but the first official photo of the new Prius - though it was released unofficially long before the folks at Toyota would have preferred. We'd call the redesign progressive - much of the last car's profile carries over with little change.
Designers did see fit, however, to work some cues from both the Yaris and the European Aygo subcompacts into the front fascia. Though Toyota was happy to confirm that this is the Prius, they weren't about to talk specs.
We've heard the next-gen Prius will make use of a larger four-cylinder engine (possibly a 1.6-liter I-4), but debate lingers over the car's battery packs. Some sources suggest the car will launch with lithium-ion packs (and possibly be sold as a plug-in hybrid), while others claim the Prius will launch with more conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries instead.
We'll know for certain come January, when Toyota will officially launch the new Prius at the 2009 Detroit auto show. Stay with Automobile Magazine for all the latest Prius happenings.