Prius+, a seven-seat MPV that’s based on Toyota’s full hybrid Prius, will go on sale in Europe in the first half of next year but before that, its production car has debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. European customers are in for a treat as the Prius+ is the first seven-seater car to have a full hybrid powertrain.
With this model, Hybrid Synergy Drive’s environmental credentials and advanced technology are exposed to its broadest customer base so far. Prius+ is a totally new vehicle and was designed from the ground up.
It’s apparent from its exterior design that it is an evolution instead of being just an elongated variant of the standard Prius. The name Prius+ implies that there is a considerable boost in space and passenger accommodation. Compared to a standard Prius, it is 155mm longer, 30mm wider, and 85mm higher.
Its wheelbase extends by 80mm, providing enough space to fit adults in all three rows of seats. The architecture of the all- new interior design includes a strong horizontal dashboard line that covers the centre console, centre cluster and instrumentation in one flowing form. Together with the concave door trim and a distinct centre space between console and cluster, a feeling of spaciousness is created. The seven-seat format consists of three, independent, split/folding second row seats and a third tier that’s 50:50 split/folding.
All the occupants have clear forward visibility since the seat height in each row has been raised by 45mm over the one in front. However, the head clearance and legroom in each row remains ample. There are seven passengers on board but Prius+ still offers 200 litres of cargo space. When the third seating row is stowed away, the cargo space increases to 505 litres.
Loading and unloading becomes easier due to its 1,105mm tailgate opening width, which is 95mm wider than that of the standard Prius. Its storage is more flexible as there is a large, 345mm storage tray located below the luggage deck.
Prius+ is available with the latest generation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which uses a 1.8-litre 98bhp Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a 60kW electric motor. Toyota asserts that its total system power is 134bhp, resulting to a 0-62mph acceleration time of 11.8 seconds and a top speed of 106mph. This is the first lithium-ion battery that’s featured in a non-plug-in Toyota full hybrid.