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Toyota Teases New Prius Variant for New York

Is this the previously rumored plug-in?

A new model in the Toyota Prius lineup will debut with distinctive styling at the New York auto show, according to an official teaser released this morning. The image shows a blacked-out silhouette of the new Prius variant's rear end, with a revised taillight design and all-new full-width lighting element.

The 2016 Toyota Prius is already pushing design boundaries with its chunky and angular styling, with heavy influences from the Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. While the taillights on the standard Prius are more vertical in appearance, save for the triangular squinch in line with the rear fender character line, there is a more horizontal approach to the rear lighting on this new Prius variant.

Toyota says in a statement that the new Prius model will have "Stand-out style and intelligent eco-tech," for the New York show, calling the car the "next mechanical marvel in the Prius lineup."

Most likely Toyota is preparing to unveil a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, after already revealing the Prius Eco and its upgraded lithium-ion battery (the standard Prius uses a nickel-metal hydride unit). The base Prius already returns an impressive 54/50/52 mpg city/highway/combined rating from the EPA, versus an even thriftier 58/53/56 mpg rating for the 2016 Toyota Prius Eco.

If it is the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid that's bound for New York, it will represent a major competitor to the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt offers an impressive 53 miles of all-electric range, while the outgoing Prius plug-in managed just 11 miles per full charge before the gas engine had to kick in. Toward the end of its lifecycle the Toyota Prius plug-in saw its price slashed by $2,000 to $30,800.

We'll keep our ear to the ground for more details on exactly what Toyota has planned for the Prius as we hear more leading up to the New York show.