• Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
  • Image Credit: CarPix
The Toyota Prius has become an automotive icon – maybe less so among actual automotive enthusiasts than with the public at large – to the extent that most anyone on the street would recognize its five-door hatchback form and immediately identify it as a hybrid. Little wonder that Honda tried to emulate it with the second-gen Insight, but while that didn't work out so well for Honda, it looks like Hyundai is preparing to go down the same road with a dedicated hybrid of its own.

Our paparazzi on the ground in the Arctic Circle have spotted this protoytpe and tell us what we're looking at is a new Prius-fighter from the Korean automaker. Snapped up high on a transporter truck, you can see the orange high-voltage cables underneath and a label with the letters AE HEV – the latter standing, of course, for Hybrid Electric Vehicle. We wouldn't be surprised if the AE stood for Advanced Experimental or Alternative Energy or something of the sort.

Tipped to be based on the same platform as the next-generation Elantra, the new Hyundai hybrid is said to pack a 1.6-liter inline-four working in parallel with an electric motor juiced by a lithium-ion battery pack. It's expected to begin production in the second half of 2016, with a plug-in and possibly other variants to follow a year to a year and a half after its initial launch.

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