Toyota Europe has practically confirmed there will be a fifth generation of the Prius hybrid, but there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the car.
We don’t know when the new Prius will be launched, but the hybrid champion typically has six-year model cycles, meaning it’s due for renewal next year.
Andrea Carlucci, vice president of product and marketing of Toyota Europe, admitted to Autocar he can’t “disclose much” about the new car, but said the company didn’t “want to waste our icon” and will “make sure it will always be a front-runner with that kind of [hybrid] technology”.
Carlucci claimed the “Prius remains clearly iconic and stands for what we are: hybrid and a leader in electrification”.
It’s unknown what type of hybrid innovations Toyota has in store for the new Prius.
The automaker has been continually making changes to its hybrid drivetrain systems to improve efficiency both efficiency and performance.
With the latest Japan-only Aqua — the first generation of which was sold as the Prius C globally — Toyota has also managed to eke out more energy density from the cost-efficient, but out of fashion, nickel metal hydride batteries.
It will be interesting to see if the next-generation Prius is able to recapture its raison d’être.
When the Prius was launched in 1996, it was the first production petrol-electric hybrid to hit the market. Unlike the Honda Insight of the same period, it had practical four-door body.
It wasn’t until the second generation that the Prius really hit its stride. Thanks to its Kammback five-door hatch body, the Prius glided through the air with a coefficient of drag of just 0.26.
Coupled with improved interior space, better packaging, and a much more refined drivetrain, it became a car eco-friendly celebrities wanted to be seen in.
Now with hybrid drivetrains available across much of the Toyota’s range from the Yaris up to the Kluger, buyers don’t need to choose a specialist vehicle to save fuel and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they can simply option their preferred vehicle with a hybrid drivetrain.
And with the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 — as well as an ever-growing number of EVs from more established marques — the Prius, with its hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains, is no longer the greenest car available in showrooms.
MORE: Everything Toyota Prius