Prius α (alpha) goes on sale in japan / paving the way for european launch of prius+ in mid-2012

  • Prius α (alpha) now on sale in Japan, anticipating European launch of Prius+ in mid-2012
  • Prius+ (plus) the first seven-seat full hybrid vehicle on the European market
  • Longer, wider and taller than Prius, with all new exterior and interior design
  • Latest generation Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain features innovatively packaged lithium-ion batteries
  • Prius, Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Prius+ will comprise the world's first complete, stand-alone full hybrid model range, in 2012

Toyota Motor Corporation has today announced the sales launch of the new Prius α in Japan. Derived from the third generation Prius, the new Toyota ull ybrid is available in two interior configurations -five seats in two rows, or a seven-seat, three-tier format. Prius+, a seven-seat variant of this ar, makes its production car debut at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, and goes on sale throughout Europe in the first half of 2012.

The Prius+ is the first car to offer European customers the versatility of seven seats combined with a full hybrid powertrain. Meeting the needs of a growing customer group -environmentally conscientious families in the need of more space- it broadens the appeal of Hybrid Synergy Drive®'s environmental credentials and advanced technology to the widest customer base yet.

The Prius+ is a new vehicle, designed from the ground up. Its exterior design hallmarks it as an evolution, rather than merely an elongated version, of the standard Prius.

The sleek, bold styling features an extended roofline with an integral, panoramic sunroof retaining the iconic Prius triangle silhouette and awarding the Prius+ a low Cd 0.29 drag coefficient. The trapezoidal front incorporates sharp-edged headlamps, turbulence-minimising aero-corners and an enlarged lower grille for improved aerodynamics and engine cooling. Distinctive rear styling is highlighted by a practical, top hinged tailgate, intricate combination lamp clusters and a roof spoiler to further improve air flow.

As its name suggests, the Prius+ provides a significant increase in space and passenger accommodation. It is 155 mm longer than a standard Prius, 30 mm wider, and 85 mm higher, with a wheelbase extended by 80 mm.

The dynamic architecture of an all new interior design features a strongly horizontal dashboard which encompasses the centre console, centre cluster and instrumentation in one flowing form. Combined with concave door trim and a well-defined centre space between console and cluster for connecting driver and front passenger, this creates an unprecedented sense of spaciousness.

The interior's openness is further enhanced by a large, resin panoramic sunroof. A first for a Toyota vehicle, this material is 40% lighter than its glass equivalent.

The new Toyota full hybrid's seven-seat format features three, independent, split/folding second row seats and a 50:50 split/folding third tier. Seats are raised to enhance visibility, yet offer ample head clearance and legroom in every row.

Even with seven passengers on board, the Prius+ provides 200 litres of cargo space. With the third seating row stowed, this figure rises to 535 litres. An 1105 mm tailgate opening width facilitates easy loading and unloading, and storage flexibility is enhanced through large and small, 345 mm and 145 mm storage trays beneath the luggage deck.

The adoption of third row seating has been made possible by the installation of a highly compact, space-saving lithium-ion battery pack within the vehicle centre console between the front seats, offering no compromise to the seven-seat passenger accommodation or loadspace of the MPV-style interior. This is the first lithium-ion battery to be incorporated within a non-plug-in Toyota full hybrid.

The Prius+ showcases the latest generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain, which employs a 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a powerful electric motor. Its environmental performance enhanced by the Prius+ outstanding aerodynamic performance and low weight, the full hybrid drive system returns both class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

As in the standard Prius, the Prius+ features three 'on-demand' drive modes to increase the capabilities of the full hybrid powertrain: An EV mode allows for ultra-quiet running on electric motor power alone, resulting in zero fuel consumption and emissions. An ECO mode maximises hybrid system efficiency and fuel economy. And a POWER mode boosts system performance.

Maintaining its environmental and technological leadership for over a decade now, the remarkable Prius remains the most successful mass produced full hybrid vehicle on the market. Of the 3 million Toyota full hybrids sold worldwide to date, over 2.2 million are Prius models.

The addition of both the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Prius+ in 2012, will make it the first full hybrid vehicle available as a complete, stand-alone model range.