On first glance, the 2010 Prius looks like, well, a Prius. There’s no mistaking the distinct cheese wedge profile. The design is freshened, to be sure, but still retains it’s “Prius-ness”. Unfortunately Toyota decided that the current Prius, despite its huge sales numbers, was too small. To that end, the 2010 Prius is both longer and wider – as well as likely heavier. There will also be a larger 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine under the hood, which replacing the current 1.5 liter mill.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Toyota will stick with nickel metal hydride batteries, rather than the hoped-for lithium-ion pack. Cost and overheating concerns are likely the reasons – so I suppose it makes sense. It’s possible that Toyota will switch to Lithium batteries mid-cycle, before the fourth generation Prius. Also, there are rumors of a solar panel roof option – neat.
Despite the larger size, increased weight, and larger engine, Toyota expects the new Prius to get better MPG ratings. One has to wonder, how much better could they be if not for all these obstacles?
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