Toyota Motor Corp. will launch the Prius+ at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September before it goes on sale in Europe sometime in the first six months of next year. Prius+ is a seven-seat variant of Toyota’s Prius hybrid vehicle and is designed to appeal to families as well as those who need a bigger space.
This vehicle model features a three-row seating format, and is derived from the third-generation Prius hatchback. However, the Prius+ is 85mm taller, 155mm longer and 30mm wider than the third-generation hatchback version.
The wheelbase has been expanded by 80mm. The company stated that the seven-seat configuration will give 200 liters of cargo space.
With the third row of seating stowed away, the cargo space expands to 535 liters. To add seating, Toyota used a new compact lithium ion battery pack and stored it within the center console between the front seats.
The Prius+ has an electric motor and a 1.8-liter gasoline engine. It is the first non-plug-in Toyota full hybrid to install a new compact lithium ion battery. The older Toyota hybrids were using nickel-metal hydride batteries.
This new Prius model will be part of an expanded Toyota hybrid range in the European region that includes the Yaris hybrid and the Auris hybrid, which is a new plug-in hybrid Prius.
As a result of having that distinctive triangle outline, there is no doubt that the Toyota Prius+ does belong to the Prius family. The Prius+ however is more than that as it manages to combine the company’s very own frontal design language known as Under Priority with a thorough airflow management. Thus, this full hybrid seven-seater is not only innovative but also clean and comes with state-of-the-art style.
In addition to showing a new interpretation of the Under Priority concept, the front section has a horizontal trim that has been plated in chrome. For its grille, the opening of its upper portion was kept small to ensure that the airflow above the upper body would remain smooth. However the lower grille was enlarged in order to help boost the cooling efficiency of the engine. The halogen headlamp clusters meanwhile have on the top portion its own version of the curved line.
This particular style was first done on the new Prius but with the Prius+, it strengthens its position as a fully hybrid vehicle in the Prius line-up. Its bumper on the front, with its vertical and flat surface, is where the LED Daytime Running Lights are placed.
This not only emphasizes the driving stability and the broad stance, it also creates those aero-corners. With this, the airflow that goes above the front wheels is corrected and thus the turbulence expected in its wheel arches is minimized. Since the design of the exterior for Prius+ puts focus on maximizing the aerodynamic efficiency, it improves quietness, delivers better handling stability, and enhances fuel economy.
This is so that the Prius+ could take the full advantage of quite Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain as well as the use of aluminum and high-tensile lightweight steel for its body. The triangle silhouette that Prius is known for is evident as well when viewed from the side. Compared to the previous design, Toyota made sure to evolve this particular DNA design using a strong spindle shape. This shape is due to the long and smooth flow of its bonnet, the A-pillar and roofline, then the clean stroke of the full-length side glazing which is highlighted by the blacked-out B-pillars and C-pillars, and finally rising as a curve in the lower portion of the body which then smoothly flows to the bumper in the back.
The rear in particular, has a unique style which is underscored by the practical tailgate with hinges at the top. On each side are large combination lamp clusters that have the Synergy Blue decoration. It then wraps the corners to boost visibility. Since the combination lamps in the rear have been spaced as far apart as they can, this helps with its broad and stable stance in the rear as well being able to maximize the opening width of its tailgate.
When it comes to aerodynamic efficiency, the roof and sides of the Prius+ are where the airflow is directed from and allows for convergence. Its body starts to slowly narrow itself with the airflow kept away from this vehicle. While the roof spoiler has been optimized in terms of angle and length, the rear combination lamp clusters follow an air kick shape. The bumper in the rear also has aero corners.