Read more on the Toyota Prius MPV
Its modern styling takes cues from both the standard Prius and the recently refreshed Vitz (Yaris) supermini in Japan albeit with a much more striking front end. The Prius’s slippery shape has been successfully scaled down to supermini proportions, although concept car features such as its heavily sculpted bonnet, big chrome-effect alloys, large glass rear screen and headlight design are unlikely to carry over into production.
Whether the C Concept has a future in Europe is not clear. The firm has already confirmed a hybrid version of the Yaris for Europe in 2012, and it is not thought Toyota would want two cars competing against one another in a segment.
Technical details have also not been revealed at this stage. It’s unlikely that the Yaris will be able to accommodate the 1.8-litre petrol engine from the Prius and Auris powertrains. But Toyota does have 1.33 and 1.0-litre motors at its disposal.
Read more on the new Toyota Yaris
The Prius V is also unlikely to have a future in Europe, given the presence of the Verso in Toyota’s European range. “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.”
The Prius V has more than 50 per cent more load capacity at just over 960 litres than the standard conventional hatchback, with an low, wide access at the rear to allow for easy loading.
See the video of the new Priuses at the Detroit motor show
It shares its platform and 1.8-litre petrol-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain with the standard Prius and its styling is unmistakably Prius, growing slightly in height and length to allow for the extra load capacity. An extra row of seats isn’t added but the rear bench slides to allow for extra loading capacity.
US sales of the Prius V, which will also be the launch vehicle for Toyota’s new Entune infotainment system, get underway in the US in late summer.
See all the latest Toyota Prius reviews, news and video