This is the 2012 Toyota Prius+ (Plus), the latest member of the Prius family which was unveiled today at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. According to Toyota, the Prius+ is the first full hybrid model in Europe to offer seven seats, as the model comes with three independent, split-folding second row seats and a 50:50 split-folding third row.
As expected, the new car will go on sale in the first half of 2012 and represents an evolution of the Prius design.
Toyota says that thanks to the extended roofline, the car achieves a Cd 0.29 drag coefficient. Moreover, the trapezoidal front end incorporates sharp-edged headlamps, flat, vertical ‘aero’ corners that reduce air turbulence while the enlarged lower grille improves aerodynamics and engine cooling.
Regarding the powertrain the Prius+ is powered by the latest generation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and is the first Toyota non-plug-in hybrid to use a lithium-ion battery pack.
The battery was first introduced on the Prius Plug-in, and on the Prius+ will be integrated beneath the second row seats. Just like the standard Prius, the Prius+ will offer features three ‘on-demand’ drive modes so that capabilities of the hybrid powertrain can be fully exploited: EV mode, ECO mode and Power mode.
The new interior design utilizes a dynamic architecture wherein the horizontal dashboard integrates the instrumentation, center cluster, and center console in one flowing form. Then there is the well-defined center space that is located in the middle of the console and the cluster that connects the driver to the front passenger. When the center space is combined with the concave door trim and the horizontal dashboard, these result to an unparalleled sense of space.
Meanwhile the console flows to the instrument binnacle, which itself has been mounted and centrally placed on the top of the dashboard. This ensures excellent visibility inside the car. Located in the binnacle are the gear shift indicator, speedometer, and Hybrid System Indicator. Since these three have been placed near the steering wheel, it minimizes the movement of the driver’s eye from the road. Within the center cluster and the center console lie the switchgear and instrumentation, which divides the driving operation controls between all other functions.
Placed adjacent to its steering wheel is the driving-related switchgear that has been mounted and that has a metal-like surface finish. Then there is the Toyota Touch multi-information screen, which along with the controls for the air conditioner, has been mounted and give a high quality black background finish.
This multi-information screen incorporates a navigation system, vehicle information system, and audio system. Meanwhile, the air conditioning system has a number of new features like a single dial controller, that using only one knob, can adjust the temperature, fan speed, and even the mode. Guaranteed on the interior of the Toyota Prius+ are the contrasting soft touch materials and finishes which offer an advanced look combined with the feel of having operational practicality.
The brand is offering two color schemes for the interior which are Aqua and Grey. Each of these can be combined with two kinds of fabric upholstery. It can even be combined with the 'Toyota E-Tex', a synthetic material that is highly durable and that while it has texture similar to leather, is lighter by 30% and can be easily wiped clean. The wheelbase of the Toyota Prius+ measures 2,780 mm, which means it is longer by 80 mm when compared to the standard Prius.
In addition, since the overhang in the rear is longer by 50 mm compared to the standard Prius, the Prius+ results in offering more load space and a more comfortable passenger accommodation. This new version of the brand’s full hybrid has a seven-seat format with three independent second row seats that can either slide, split or fold. The third tier meanwhile also allows for a 50:50 split or fold. The third row seating was made possible since the lithium-ion battery pack is not only highly compact but has also been placed in the center console and between its front seats and thus able to save space.