2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

It started with a tease: "Welcome to Prius," over at Danny's PriusChat.com site. Then, a few weeks back, TheCarConnection.com confirmed those really were the first pics of the 2010 Toyota Prius via the dudes over at Jalopnik.

And last week, Toyota put it on their calendar. The 2010 Prius will be attending the 2009 Detroit auto show--not in the stands, but up on the stage for its world premiere.

Since then, Toyota's gone dark on what the new Prius will offer--other than to confirm the photos here are the real thing. So, what's the 2010 Toyota Prius going to be all about? Does anybody know for sure, outside of the Toyota HQ?

The answer seems to be no--but that doesn't stop us from making our fearless predictions on what the new Prius lineup will look like, and what will power the segment-defining hybrid. To take a look at the up and coming 2010 Prius, though, we need to start with the basics on the 2009 Toyota Prius--which gets an overall ranking of 8 out of 10 from TheCarConnection.com.

2009 Toyota Prius specs:

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 76 horsepower, batteries, electric motors and a continuously variable transmission
  • 48/45 mpg EPA rating
  • Wheelbase of 106.3 inches; overall length of 175.0 inches
  • 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats up
  • Standard six airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control
  • Base price of $22,000

2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

For the new car, Toyota is expected to let the Prius out a bit in overall length and wheelbase, to give it more passenger room in the back seat. Compared to vehicles like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2009 Honda Insight, the new Prius will be more evolutionary, without a set of lithium-ion batteries and without plug-in capability--at least at first.

From the photos already on the Web, the interior's been toned down a bit, with a more conventional center stack--though the digital instruments remain in a strip near the windshield. The look could give the Prius a more upscale feel lacking in today's car. And to accommodate the added heft, Toyota's expected to fit a bigger four-cylinder engine under the hood, teaming it with a more efficient set of batteries and electric motors.

So what's our fearless prediction for the new Prius?

2010 Toyota Prius specs (estimated):

  • Larger 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 100 horsepower
  • 50-mpg capability in the city
  • 4 inches longer for better rear-seat room, with a 107-inch wheelbase
  • Slightly bigger cargo area, up to 16 cubic feet
  • Better CVT response
  • Standard stability control
  • New Limited model with leather, navigation system and rearview camera
  • USB/iPod connectivity
  • Base price of $22,500

2010 Toyota Prius: More to Come

Beyond the five-door hatchback, there's more to come from the 2010 Prius. Toyota has said that contrary to speculation, there will be no separate Prius brand, but they don't have to build a new showrooms to spread the Prius love. In fact, the Prius derivatives probably will get sprinkled throughout Toyota's showrooms:

Lexus HS 250h:  A new Lexus HS250 is also coming to the 2009 Detroit auto show, in all likelihood it's essentially a four-door Prius sedan, built from Prius running gear but with a distinct body and a more upscale interior. Since it's a Lexus, you can expect a larger engine than will be found in the Toyota version, possibly a 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter four. Some illustrations have cropped up on the 'Net, but you'll have to wait a bit longer for the 2010 Lexus HS 250h's world debut in January. Expect a base price of more than $30,000.

Scion hybrid coupe: Toyota is expected to spin off a two-door version of the new Prius architecture. It's likely the new coupe will be badged a Scion, and will take on the Honda CR-Z concept. It may eventually replace the Scion tC. Expect a base price of $19,900.

Prius wagon: Various sources say a tall-wagon version of the Prius is in the works--something along the lines of a Mazda5, and possibly earmarked for Europe. However, a Prius-bred truck seems less likely: Toyota's A-Bat concept previewed a possible Toyota Prius pickup truck, but will anyone sign up for a vehicle less capable than a Ford Ranger?

The new Prius will be built in Japan; Toyota just announced it would suspend plans indefinitely that would have put Prius production in the state of Mississippi, and with gas prices in the $1.50 range, the Prius is hurting for sales just like most other cars. Still, Toyota is committed to making hybrid versions of all its cars within a decade.

Bookmark this page, and we'll keep you posted on all the 2010 Toyota Prius information as it hits the Web.

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