Jalopnik is reporting this morning that images published last night on the web of what appeared to be the next-generation 2010 Toyota Prius are, in fact, the real deal. Toyota PR reportedly confirmed to the website that what we're looking at is the same car that will be revealed in January at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. We've also included some spy shots in the gallery below that would seem to corroborate this.
As Damon pointed out last night, the new design is an evolution of the current model that incorporates some recent favorite styling cues of Toyota designers like the bulbous badge housing up front. The interior, however, is a marked step away from the current model's spaceship controls, and thankfully eschews that car's dash-mounted shifter for a new one properly placed on the buttressed center console. Mechanically speaking, the new Prius is expected to arrive with a more powerful gas engine, bigger electric motor and, despite continuing to use nickel-metal hydride rather than lithium-ion batteries, improved fuel efficiency. It is the Prius after all.
UPDATE: Toyota has confirmed publicly on its Open Road Blog that these shots are indeed the 2010 Prius.
[Source: Jalopnik, Thanks for the spy pics, Jason and Merritt!]