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Third generation Toyota Prius

Artist's rendition of a Prius minivan  (Source: Motor Trend)
Toyota's Prius to get a larger sibling

Toyota's Prius has been a runaway success for the company. First introduced as an '01 model in 2000 in the United States market, the hybrid has continually gained in sales, gotten larger to accommodate American tastes, and has become more powerful and more fuel efficient.

According to a recent report from Motor Trend magazine, a new variant of the Prius will take boost passenger space and cargo capacity even further. Toyota is reportedly working on an "Alpha" minivan which will share its platform with the current third-generation Prius.

The Alpha is said to ride on a wheelbase that is one inch longer than the current Prius hybrid's 106.3 inches and overall length will be roughly a foot longer at around 187.6 inches. The Alpha will also have an extra row of seating bringing total passenger capacity to seven (up from five in the current Prius hatchback).

Although the Alpha will be larger and heavier than standard Prius, some of the added weight is expected to be offset by the use of a lithium-ion (li-ion) battery pack instead of the heavier nickel-metal hybrid battery pack currently used. According to Motor Trend, a li-ion pack would be roughly a third the weight of the existing battery pack.

Still, the Alpha is likely to get worse mileage than its more lithe counterpart. The Prius hatchback is rated at a combined 50 mpg, so a heftier people mover based on the same platform would probably score somewhere around 45 mpg by our estimates.

However, that would still put it ahead of small family haulers like the Mazda 5 and Kia Rondo which are rated at 24 mpg and 22 mpg combined respectively.

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Seperated at birth
By Suntan on 5/25/2010 3:53:12 PM , Rating: 1
Seeing as the current prius looks exactly like a shrunk down version of that hideous abomination that was the Aztek, you would think Toyota would have just bought the old tooling for the body panels from the now smoking heap that is Pontiac, at fire sale prices, and plop a hybrid drive train into the inside of it.

Anyone else see the similarities?


RE: Seperated at birth
By umop apisdn on 5/25/2010 4:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
The only similarity I can pick out is the almost vertical rear end.

RE: Seperated at birth
By Jedi2155 on 5/25/2010 5:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see whats so bad about the Aztek?

RE: Seperated at birth
By thekdub on 5/25/2010 5:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
For starters, it's hideously ugly, ridiculously large, and not very comfortable to sit in. IMO.

RE: Seperated at birth
By Solandri on 5/26/2010 5:33:01 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, it seems aerodynamics favors shapes with smooth transitions, and without corners where the hood meets the windshield, the windshield meets the top, the top meets the rear window, and the rear window meets the trunk. So as hideous as you find it, it is probably the future shape of energy efficient automobiles.

RE: Seperated at birth
By thekdub on 5/26/2010 11:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
True, the "Kammback" shape does greatly benefit gas efficiency. But there are quite a few cars with this design that are much more aesthetically pleasing than the Aztek. Again, IMO.

RE: Seperated at birth
By Brandon Hill on 5/25/2010 5:50:57 PM , Rating: 3
Is this post a joke?

RE: Seperated at birth
By quiksilvr on 5/25/2010 11:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
God, I hope so.

RE: Seperated at birth
By Samus on 5/27/2010 12:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
It really isn't surprising the company that approved the Aztec for production is the same company that almost went bust. It's all around a terrible vehicle and, like most Pontiac vehicles, has been a sales disaster.

RE: Seperated at birth
By Jedi2155 on 5/26/2010 4:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Its not.

RE: Seperated at birth
By mckinney on 5/25/2010 6:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding, I gave it Five Turtlenecks in my review!!!

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