Never content to rest on their laurels, Toyota has been applying kaizen to the Prius. Look for their next high-efficiency space capsule to bow in 2008 with significant tweaks and tweezes. The body shape remains familiar, though in actuality it's totally changed. Width is expected to grow an inch, while length will shrink the same amount. The artist's rendering depicts a nose that looks inspired by Lamborghini, while the shape of the greenhouse and rump retain their aero-friendly profile. We can understand not making drastic changes, it's not like the Prius's look is dated. Heck, some of us still can't get used to it. You know what it is when you see it, though, and Toyota's hard wind-tunnel work probably doesn't leave a ton of room for form variation.

More exciting than the sheetmetal is what's underneath. The Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder will increase in displacement from 1.5 to 1.8 liters. That should help with long climbs in the hills and other situations where the battery pack is out of the loop. Toyota's way ahead of everyone else with their Hybrid Synergy Drive's software and calibration, and they intend to stay there. Changes to the HSD system along with new battery technology are rumored to bump city mileage to 80mpg. Solar panels in the roof for passive recharging as well as plug-in options are also being considered. We're curious how Toyota intends to nearly double the city mileage number, especially in light of the new EPA guidelines coming for 2008. Series Hybrid, perhaps? I guess we'll have to wait and see; rest assured that execution will be fastidious.

[Source: worldcarfans]