Japan earthquake delays the launch of Toyota Prius Wagon

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 23, 2011

Toyota officially announced that it has delayed the launch of the wagon-style Prius in Japan due to the parts shortage that cam after this month’s earthquake. The Japanese company was planning to launch the car by the end of April, but according to spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki who spoked with Automotive News this date was pushed back.

Still, the bad news continue as the spokesman was not able to say when the new Toyota hybrid model will be launched. But, as expected there are some good news: the car will be launched as planned in the United States and Europe later this year, according to the same Iwasaki.

For those who don’t know, in the United States the car will be offered as the Prius V while in Europe the car will be named Prius + (Plus).

Moreover, Toyota is planning to introduce two versions of the Prius wagon: the two-row five seater will be offered for the United States market while a three-row seven seater will be offered exclusively for Europe.

Still, Japan will receive both versions. Regarding the Japan earthquake, this has affected all 18 assembly plants that Toyota has in the country and all these will be shut down through at least March 26.

The all-new Toyota Prius+, which has been introduced to supersede the original Prius, is built using the latest car design principles.

The Prius+ retains the original’s compact proportions to ensure the best possible streamlining properties, but its designation is such due to having noticeably greater passenger spaciousness. Compared to the standard version, the Prius+ adds 135 mm in length, 30 mm in width and 85 mm in height. The wheelbase measures 80 mm longer because of the new three-row 7-passenger capacity.

The Prius+ freshens up the line’s trademark triangular configuration. The front design is based on the Toyota Under Priority principle featuring the meticulously planned airflow that results in a slicker, more modern and upgraded style for the full hybrid 7-seater.

The Toyota Prius+ external design is geared towards optimising its aerodynamic properties. Aluminium and high tensile steel are combined with the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain to fully take advantage of its light weight. These all contribute to a quieter engine with better fuel efficiency and a more reliable handling.

The new Prius+ front is an Under Priority design update of the signature Toyota trapezoidal shape. The upper grille has a chrome horizontal trimming and a smaller opening to ensure the aerodynamic properties of the body surface. Meanwhile, the lower grille became enlarged in order to cool the engine better.

The sharp upper edge of the halogen headlamp clusters takes the preceding Prius model’s curved line detail and helps keep the new version firmly identifiable as a part of its line.

The vertically flattened bumpers house LED Daytime Running Lights that helps emphasise the vehicle’s broadness and stability in handling, and it also acts as ‘aero-corners’ that redirect air flowing over the front wheels to diminish wheelarch air turbulence.

From the side, the Prius characteristic triangular shape is easily seen. The Toyota Prius+ takes this forward with an overall spindle silhouette that is formed by the smooth combination of the bonnet, A-pillar and roofline; the glossy, complete side glazing over the blacked-out B- and C-pillars; and the line fold that slopes up from the lower body and integrates with the rear bumper.

The rear design is also unique to this line, with a sensible top-hinged tailgate for practicality and the big rear Synergy Blue embellished lamps that are shaped to follow the curve of the corners for better visibility. These lamps are widely spaced apart to allow the biggest tailgate opening possible and emphasise the same stable and broad stance seen from the front.

The Toyota Prius+ has smooth aerodynamics with turbulent-free airflow convergence from the car’s top surface and sides. The tapered body form lets the car cut through the air, which flows smoothly away because of the angle and length of the ‘air kick’-shaped roof spoilers positioned with the rear combination lamp clusters, as well as the aero corners and rear bumper.

The frontal part of each of the four wheel arches is also fitted with spats to minimise changes in airflow around each tyre so that it makes steering and straight-line stability both better.

Topics: toyota, toyota prius

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