When the 2012 Toyota Prius V hits U.S. dealerships this fall, it will be missing a seven-seat option. Not so on the Europe-only Prius+. The family-friendlier version of the Prius+ will be make its debut alongside the Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the upcoming 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.

Designed to "extend the appeal" of the Prius range, the + caters to families in need of more spots for car seats. The additional seating has been made possible by exchanging the Toyota hybrid's traditional nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery for a compact lithium-ion pack, which is housed beneath the second row of seats.

Toyota says that even in seven-seat configuration, the Prius+ provides seven cubic feet of cargo space, a number that rises to 18.9 cubic feet when the third row is stowed away. The seven-seat Prius+ will go on sale in Europe in 2012, a time when big, yet frugal, families there will certainly rejoice.

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