Prius Minivan Spy ShotEven though we've been hearing various rumblings across the interwebs for quite some time now that Toyota was hard at work crafting a mini-minivan version of its popular Pruis hybrid hatchback, it always helps assuage the skeptics when spy shots start to show up. And that's exactly what we have here.

Toyota's next swagger wagon appears to share its basic aerodynamic wedge-like profile with the well-known Prius, but the entire greenhouse seems to have been moved up and forward a few inches, taking on an airier feeling in the process. We don't see any evidence of sliding doors, so we'll have to assume (for now) that the Prius minivan will use four normal swinging portals.

Rumors indicate this machine, which may be called the Prius Alpha, will sport three rows and offer seating for seven. The spy shooter suggests that the MPV is roughly the size of a Mazda5, which we'd guess is just about right. Power will likely come from a version of the Prius hatchback's four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, possibly with the addition of lithium ion batteries to improve mileage and may even allow for more electric-only propulsion opportunities. Look for it to hit the market around 2012.

[Source: Carscoop]