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  (Source: Autoblog)
Toyota's third generation Prius gets nekkid.

With all the talk of the new Insight from Honda along with the Chevrolet Volt, many people have forgotten about the Toyota Prius. The Prius is the choice of both environmentalists and the Hollywood elite -- it also is the butt of many jokes with regards to its looks and its "green" image.

The third generation Prius wasn't to be unveiled until the Detroit Auto Show in January, but Autoblog grabbed three pictures which are reported to be the Toyota's next generation hybrid vehicle. The three pictures show the vehicle's front 3/4 view, a close up of the front fog lights and lower air dam, and a shot of the interior.

The production exterior and interior shots match up with spy shots of the next generation Prius that made the rounds online a few months ago.

With regards to the exterior, it probably wouldn't be mistaken for anything else but a Prius. The design is sleeker and takes styling cues from a number of Toyota's current cars including the Yaris and Camry.

Toyota has big plans for the new Prius. It will be larger and more fuel efficient than its predecessor. According to reports, the Prius will use a 1.8-liter gasoline engine developing at least 100HP (up from 75HP). When used in conjunction with the electric motor, combined power will rise to 160HP. Toyota also has plans to incorporate solar panels into the roofs of range-topping Prius models to aid in recharging the battery pack.

What remains to be seen, however, is if Toyota will be able to match the sub-$19,000 price tag projected for Honda's next generation Insight.

Updated 10/16/2008
Edmunds Inside Line confirms that the pictures above of the next generation Prius are indeed legit. According to a Toyota spokesman, the pictures were "leaked accidentally




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