NEWS: Rumored: Next Toyota Prius to Offer 60 MPG, All-Wheel Drive

November 19, 2012
2012 Toyota Prius Front Right Side View
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Toyota has big plans for its next-generation Prius. In a recent Motor Trend report, a Toyota engineer suggested the possibility that the next Prius, which should arrive in spring of 2015, is likely to have 60 mpg combined, better styling, and an all-wheel-drive system. With the Toyota Prius already a serious seller in many states, we're putting it to you: What would it take for Toyota to get you to consider a Prius?
About the new Prius, the Toyota engineer told Motor Trend, "The rear wheels will be driven by a motor in what we call an e-4WD system. Targeting snowy areas, the rears will operate up to 37 mph. Above that speed, it becomes a purely front-wheel drive car."
New drivetrain technology like that could help expand the Toyota Prius' reach into other markets. Of course, a more eye-catching design would help too, and we've heard the new Prius will be sleeker and have a lower profile. To aid aerodynamic efficiency, the car will sport a lower hood height (by about 3.5 inches) and roof height than the model in dealerships today. Like that car, the new Prius will use NiMH batteries as well as lithium-ion units. "...Our engineers have found that NiMH batteries actually manage power delivery better when it comes to intensive consumption and recharging of electricity," the Toyota engineer said.
Currently, the original Toyota Prius -- not the compact Prius C or the more versatile Prius V -- is EPA-rated at 51/48 mpg city/highway. Partly thanks to a lighter-weight platform, the next Prius is said to drop about 150 pounds, and fuel economy may increase all the way to 60 mpg combined or above.
If you were considering a new midsize sedan or hybrid, what would make you most likely to consider a new Toyota Prius: a sleeker design, 60 mpg combined, or available all-wheel drive?
Source: Motor Trend
2012 Toyota Prius Dash

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