Newest Priuses debut

Jan 11, 2011

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. unveiled its Prius family of vehicles in January at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In addition to the current third-generation Prius and Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), the new Prius v (shown) midsize hybrid-electric vehicle and the Prius c concept vehicle joined the brand.

The third-generation Prius reached dealerships in June 2009 and become the third-best selling Toyota passenger car in the United States.

The compact Prius v will share the current generation Prius’ platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. As well, it has 50% more interior cargo space than the current Prius. It is a new vehicle with a shape that evolved from Prius rather than being an elongated version.

Of note is the trapezoidal-shaped front that features sharp-edged headlamps, wind-slipping aero corners for improved aerodynamics and an enlarged under-grille.

Also available, and a Toyota-first, is a resin panoramic-view moonroof with power retractable sun shades; Toyota says the moonroof has a 40% reduction in weight compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size.

The hybrid Prius v gets as estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined.

Seven airbags are standard.

Prius v will be one of the first Toyotas with the Entune multimedia system that leverages the mobile phone to provide fully integrated and wireless upgradeable navigation, entertainment and information services. Entune debuts support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable and, along with accessing live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, news and sports. The system features advanced conversational voice recognition system that eliminates the need to memorize thousands of voice commands and helps reduce driver distraction.

The Prius c concept, with c representing a “city”-centric vehicle, is designed to appeal to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive Prius. It will include many advanced technology features, including some offered on the current Prius.

The third car, a Prius Plug-in Hybrid performs like the third-generation Prius, which also employs a gas-powered engine. Unlike pure EVs, it can be plugged in as needed. Depending on driving conditions, Prius Plug-in can be driven approximately 13 miles on battery power at speeds up to 60 mph. Its compact lithium-ion battery provides a recharging time of three hours on 110 volts and 1.7 hours on 220 volts.  It can be “topped off” anytime with a short charge.

The Plug-in will be initially offered in 14 West and East Coast states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire) where nearly 60 percent of all Prius models are currently sold.  Availability in all remaining states will be a year later.