The hybrid family plan
There’s a facelift but no heart transplant as the Prius goes plural
that will not influence Australia. ‘‘ We’re going with Prius. One Prius or 20 Prius,’’ says Toyota Australia spokesman Mike Breen.
‘‘ In America they wanted people to start thinking about a bigger Prius family.
‘‘ They wanted them to get their heads around (the idea of) more than one Prius.’’
The family expansion means more for families and less for younger singles.
‘‘ We’ve got Prius V, with a third row of seats, and the Prius C, which is a Yaris-sized hybrid,’’ says Breen.
He believes the explosion on the Prius front is just a coincidence, not a strategy to combat the growing success of frugal diesel cars in Australia.
‘‘ It’s just the period that it takes to develop the cars. It’s just coincidence that they are all arriving at a similar time.’’
The changes to the existing Prius— only 822 were sold last year, against 1611 in 2010— are intended to give the car a freshen up and more potential in showrooms. ‘‘ We’ll have it here, on sale, around early March,’’ says Breen.
The body structure is stiffer, but the biggest changes people will notice are a bolder nose with LED running lamps and a larger grille opening to make the car a little less bland.
Inside, there are new seats, new upholstery and soft-touch plastics in places where the surfaces were previously hard.
The stiffer body is claimed to allow a firming of the suspension and changes to the steering set-up to transmit better road feel.
Dynamic directions: The Prius will have a smaller variant and a people-mover version