Toyota has released the first teaser pic of the forthcoming Prius MPV on a billboard in the US.
The Prius MPV, tipped to be launched at the Detroit motor show in January, will gain an extra row of seats over the standard hatchback it is based on.
The overall length is expected to grow by around 300mm as a result, while the billboard also shows an increase in height for a more spacious cabin with increased headroom for passengers, particularly those in the two rear-most seats.
Previous reports have claimed the Prius MPV will use the same 1.8-litre petrol engine as the hatchback, but it will switch from that car’s nickel metal hydride battery pack to a lithium-ion one to bring power and electric-only range gains.
The extra weight will have a slight impact on economy, however, dropping to a claimed 70mpg.
The billboard was erected as part of the Prius’s 10th anniversary celebrations in the US. Its location was significant as there are no plans to bring the Prius MPV to Europe as Toyota believes it would impact on Verso sales.
“A hybrid Verso would be ideal,” said a Toyota source, “but that won’t happen for now as it’s mid life-cycle. We don’t want to be importing cars to Europe that could steal sales in a segment we already cover.
“The US doesn’t have anything like the Verso, so a Prius MPV makes sense, filling in a gap in the model range with a name people know.”