Toyota will be displaying its family of Prius hybrid vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. The Prius family is composed of four Prius-badged variants: the third-generation standard Prius, a plug-in hybrid Prius, a new Prius concept car and a larger Prius with 50% more cargo room.
Toyota has shown its vehicles to its U.S. dealers last October during the national dealer meeting. According to some dealers who were at the meeting, the larger Prius (named the Prius-V) was comparable in size to the Toyota Venza, with the silhouette of the standard Prius.
This vehicle will be the first to be added to the Prius lineup. It’s expected that the concept vehicle will be smaller than the current Prius. At the meeting, the carmaker also presented a smaller Prius dubbed the Prius-C.
Toyota launched the first-generation Toyota Prius in 1997 as the first mass-produced hybrid in the world. Its name “Prius” means "to go before" in Latin, and has come to represent a car that was introduced even before environmental awareness became a major social issue.
Right from the start, Toyota has developed its full-hybrid system in-house. Years later in 2004, Toyota launched its exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive System on the second-generation Toyota Prius. Toyota has sold over 670,000 units of the Prius in the United States since then.
Now in its third generation, the new Prius has been designed to feature and blend refined versions of existing systems with new technologies that would define the future of automobiles. Moreover, the new Prius features the cleanest aerodynamic profile of any volume vehicle in the world, thanks to hours of testing spent in the wind tunnel – even longer than any Toyota vehicle to date.
Designers managed to drop the coefficient of drag (Cd) value of the third-generation Prius to 0.25 (0.26 for the previous Prius) by paying more attention to the vehicle’s body shape and the underfloor as well as the wheelhouse liner and the shape of the wheels.
Toyota also took effort to extensively study the airflow under the new Prius, resulting to certain changes in the shape of the fender liner and the front surface of the underfloor. The carmaker also installed a new fin at the rear floor cover for more linear stability.