Next-gen Prius to get larger engine, more efficient

Click on the photo for a gallery of high-res images of the Hybrid-X Concept

There's a good deal that we already know about Toyota's next Prius. For instance, we expect it to make its formal debut in 2009 at the Detroit Auto Show, along with a possible Lexus sister. We know that Toyota plans to increase production by 60 percent in 2009. We also expect Prius V.3 to be equipped with nickel metal hydride batteries to start, though lithium ions could go into the Lexus model. A recent article on Auto Observer reinforces all of these points and adds that Toyota is planning to increase the displacement of the new Prius' internal combustion engine to 1.8 liters from today's 1.5 liters. This should offer twenty-five extra horsepower from the engine, pushing total power to a combined 160 horses. Even with the added gumption, the next Prius is expected to post an efficiency increase of around 10 percent, possibly achieving 50-55 miles per gallon in the real world.

The next-gen Prius is expected to grow a bit larger and could get a wagon option as well, though the assorted hybrid bits will actually decrease in size. If the next Prius grows too large for your needs, rumors indicate that a smaller hybrid under the Prius banner is also possible. Auto Observer quotes an anonymous source as suggesting that the next generation Prius is "still Prius-eque, but a bit bigger and more solid looking." The current Prius' styling is an acquired taste, but most consider Gen-2 better looking than Gen-1. We have high hopes for the next Prius redesign, and the possible Prius brand as well.

[Source: Auto Observer]

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