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Toyota is planning on expanding the Prius range with several new body styles based on the trendy hybrid sedan. Currently, the company is considering adding a wagon and a Smart-style city-car, with the possibility of a crossover hybrid utility vehicle in the future.

The additional models will form the bulk of Toyota's campaign of selling one million hybrids worldwide. To that end, Toyota hopes to triple the number of hybrids it sells in the U.S., with the American market accounting for an anticipated half of that million-car target.

We could expect the wagon to look essentially the same as the current sedan, only with a roof extending rearward over the expanded cargo area, while the city-car will likely be an all-but-completely new model, riding on a much shorter wheelbase but with styling that immediately associates it with the rest of the Prius range.

The announcement opens anew the debate over whether customers want regular cars with hybrid engines, or instantly-identifiable, special-built hybrid models. Toyota's luxury division Lexus has reportedly expressed interest in developing a full hybrid range of its own, but until now its hybrid models have been variations on its standard lineup. The Toyota division itself has focused its hybrid production largely on the Prius, which it now hopes to expand. Meanwhile, competitor Honda found the hybrid version of the Civic to be far more popular than the quirky Insight.

We'd tend to agree with Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's synopsis: Why buy an overpriced, ugly, poorly-made Prius when most conventional diesels will return better economy and give you more for your money? But with Toyota's ever-quickening race to the top, clearly it's on to something.

[Source: Bloomberg via Motor Authority]



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  • 72 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      OK, I had to let off a little steam. BUT...

      BTW, I'll try to keep it from becoming a VW TDI vs Prius disucssion.

      We normally do get 48-51 average as advertised by the computer screen. My real world fill up test are close to these #'s.

      Their interior is not as nice as my buddy's Golf, that's true, I am disappointed by the Prius material choices and particularly their horrible port installed leather on the 05 model.

      I could care less about handling as long as it is safe at what it was designed to do: haul people and stuff.

      Cargo room is good, I know, I fit a 42" plasma in the huge box it came in other day, unbelievable. (and golf's feel smaller inside, I had to ride in the back of one all the time)

      I am all for good Diesels to come to USA. I was an inch away from buying a TDI before my friend started having problems with theirs. I'd be all over a Toyota Matrix size Diesel, but one thing I am looking forward to when this thing gets old is converting it to a plug-in hybrid when the kits get reasonable (yes batteries are getting cheaper)

      I don't care what Toyota does as long as they keep a 4 door hatch in the Prius size. It is a winner.

      BTW, the whole keyless ignition thing is truly the most usefull bell/whistle I've ever owned.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ugly and poorly made?! Ahahahahahaha, yeah, I'm sure a VW product would be less poorly made. The least reliable brand in the universe being better made? Come on autoblog, put down the crack pipe.

      The styling of the Prius might not be everybody's cup of tea, but the 2nd gen was a definite improvement over the 1st gen, and if you want a fairly futuristic looking ride it's definitely got your number. It's not "hot" in the traditional sense, but it exudes "high-tech", which is sexy in it's own kind of way.

      Oh and here in the USA, not every gas station even carries diesel! And they don't sell the TDI.

      Making your last paragraph the most ridiculously absurd statement I've ever read on Autoblog. Please put down the damned crack pipe ok?

      Oh, and since we don't even have low sulfur fuel yet, even though you might get similar mileage you're stinking up the air and giving the poor children asthma.
      tony pawlowski
      • 8 Years Ago
      you can argue about the looks, or the interior, or the hauling capacity of the prius, but you cannot argue with the fact that regenerating energy when braking is far more sensible than dissipating it as heat. the prius could be built with better looks, or a diesel engine. i own one and i find the legroom in the front to be on the verge of intolerable, but i completely agree with the direction the vehicle's technology will hopefully be taking us.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't think many people who buy fuel efficient cars care what Jeremy Clarkson thinks about cars. If I were picking a sports car, I'd pick the one that pollutes the least, gets the best mileage and has the most passenger and cargo room. I'm pretty sure Clarkson has a different list of priorities. If Clarkson were to pick a fuel efficient car, he'd probably pick the fastest one with the best handling. But so what? Clarkson isn't going to buy a fuel efficient car, so who cares which technologies he prefers?

      If you think acceleration, top speed and how well a car handles on the track are the most important criteria for choosing a car, Clarkson's opinions might be worth something. But if you think fuel economy and pollution matter more, Clarkson's (and most other car reviewers) opinion is worth very little.

      Toyota (and others) have spent a lot of time and money getting North American consumers to trust and buy hybrid cars. If diesels are so much better, when can we expect manufacturers to introduce diesel competitors for all the hybrids on the market? Diesel technology is much more developed than hybrid technology, it should be easy to crank out a few models, get them approved, and kill off the hybrid competition. I look forward to competition in the woefully under served "green" segment of the car market. If diesel technology turns out to be better and cheaper than hybrids, great.

      But why did it take the introduction of hybrids to prod the car manufacturers to consider offering diesels for sale? I'm guessing it is because the Jeremy Clarksons of the world had the automakers convinced that nobody would ever care about fuel economy. I guess we can put that myth to rest and start arguing about what features are attractive to people who care more about how far they can go on a gallon of fuel than how fast they can go.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As for the following future car Prius, it seems to be a schedule of the solar panel installing. And, it is rumored that it runs 50 kilometers by one liter.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ignorant? No. It's informed and educated.

      One of my best friends owns a Prius, two of my co-workers own Priuses, and I have another good friend that drives a Golf TDi.

      The Prius is simply a mess. Exterior wise, it's just plain fugly.

      The interior: Cheap, ugly, bland and plasticky. And while the Prius' looks like it would have tons of trunk space...until you actually open the hatch and realize how much space all those batteries take up...

      I guess your Prius must be special because I have NEVER met a Prius driver that averages 50mpg, regardless of driving style. Low 40's is the norm. It just doesn't get that mileage. There's a reason why the revised EPA rating will lower its mileage estimate by %20 (while Diesels ratings will hardly budge.) I only believe that it delivers better mileage than than the VW TDi in stop and go conditions, because it is constantly regenerating electricity.

      And what's more, it doesn't even handle or brake well!

      I could not believe anyone is willing to pay so much money for such a lousy car.

      The VW TDi's look far better, actually handle well, have superior interior quality, more useable space, get better overall mileage while delivering more power and FAR more torque...oh yeah and they're cheaper.

      Hybrids = overrated. and overhyped.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ever heard of a plug in diesel, and I'm not talking about heating the engine block for cold winters? I haven't. Once people start encorporating that technology the battery doesn't seem like as much of a liability. Here in texas I can get green power over the lines and potentially charge an electric car at night using wind generated energy. Diesel is a copout and it's dirtier than gas right now. Oh and urea only works if people remember to refill it, good luck getting that to happen.

      Don't come in here talking about looks and then bring up the smart car as an example. The "smart" car looks like dump too.

      And don't go off comparing the smart car to a prius, it's like an apples to oranges comparison. The prius is a much larger car and much more practical over here in america where all our cars are larger.
      Mike Tieman
      • 8 Years Ago
      www.omnivalves.com says their new tecnology makes cars like the Prius obsolete....... pretty interesting stuff. There intake valve gives giant increases in low end troque similar to an electric motor ..... sounds pretty good . The valve installs in any motor and does wonders.
      • 8 Years Ago
      LaughingTooHard: the folks who are best at doing the math have done the math and bought a Prius. If you consider the Impala to be the epitome of a car, of course you don't like the Prius. Why don't you go and criticize SUVs and Minivans and family sedans while you're at it? Why are you taking to the time to knock a car that isn't even in the market segment you'd consider buying? Got a bug up your butt or what?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Come on the Prius is just a fad, as gas drops in price again, no one will care. Add that the driver distraction from the LCD "display" (why do I care what the car is doing? Does my Impala SS have a exhaust flow display? Or a brake fluid flow chart?) The people who have them are just like Mini owners, rabid and a SMALL percentage of the market. Sales are flagging and Toyota knows it THUS the push for more body styles. They won't get my money and I will be sure to educate anyone who thinks about buying one - MATH people, DO THE MATH!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Jeremy Clarkson is only interested in any vehicle that goes from 0 to 60 in three seconds or less. I can't remembrer who and when, but during one Top Gear show Jeremy was lost for words when his guest came up with a valid fact about the Prius. This would have bee because Jemery would have realised that he was wrong, but the show had to go on.
      Jim Reed
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dec 10th I will hit the three year mark on my 2004 Prius with over 90k miles. I am amazed at the vitriol against the Prius, and amazed at the comment of poor quality. Over 30 years we have had 25 cars including Mercedes and Volvos. I like my Prius best. Mileage ? 48-50 highway in summer and 43-45 winter mostly in the Mountain state, WV. When in northern VA or New England regardless of the season I consistently get above 50 mpg. In summer, 55 is more common than not. The key is speed and how heavy footed it is driven. The car will climb a mile long 7% grade at 100 mph but the mileage drops. If a wagon is built I will buy it. I love the hatch but the top of the hatch needs to be about 6 inches longer for better rear visibility. But even with low roof line I have put long items in my Prius my son could not put in his 4Runner.
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