Toyota has debuted the new Prius+ 7-seater hybrid MPV at the Geneva auto salon.
Despite bearing the name of Toyota’s star model, the Prius+ is a completely new vehicle “designed from the ground up” as the Japanese automaker puts it in the press release. It is a 5-door hatch MPV with a third row of (2) seats at the rear in a 50:50 split configuration.
Toyota will be using a lithium-ion battery pack in a non-plug-in hybrid for the first time in this Prius+, as opposed to the nickel-metal hydride pack of the standard Prius. Toyota did not release any specs on the model, so we are not sure what the new battery pack means in terms of range and performance. It is likely that the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System (HSD) in this Prius+ features a close variation, if not being identical, to the one that goes into the Prius and Auris HSD models. That powertrain marries a 99 PS (73 kW / 98 bhp) 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol unit to an electric motor that develops 81 PS (60 kW / 80 bhp).
The Prius+ will come with three drive modes: ECO which maximizes fuel-efficiency, EV which drives solely on electric power for zero emissions and POWER which is meant for performance.
Toyota will roll out the Prius+ in European markets beginning in early 2012.