Toyota will launch a seven-seat MPV version of its Prius hybrid next March - and it could go on sale in the UK.
Called Prius Alpha, it could get an upgrade to lithium ion batteries.
The new variant will sit on the same basic platform as the regular model and use the same 1.8-litre petrol engine, but it will offer a third row of seats. The car’s bodywork will be around 300mm longer than the regular car’s.
The switch to a lithium ion battery for the seven-seat Alpha (a five-seater will stick with the Prius’s nickel metal hydride pack) should bring gains in power and range. But the Alpha’s extra weight will still result in a slight drop in fuel economy, to around 70mpg.
A Toyota spokesman said that it wasn't clear if the car would go on sale in the UK, but added: "We are committed to introducing hybrids in all sectors of the market."