Spied: 2016 Toyota Prius

Spied: 2016 Toyota Prius

Toyota‘s next-generation Prius hybrid has been spotted for the first time while undergoing shakedown testing in Southern California. Already delayed by about six months, the new Prius, which will be designated as a 2016 model, is slated to be unveiled later this year.

The 2016 Prius will usher in a new modular platform that will underpin a number of future Toyota cars and crossovers. The new platform was designed with mid-size vehicles in mind, so expect the next Prius to grow slightly in overall size.

The Prius’ 2016 redesign will also include all-new sheet metal. Although the Prius’ signature silhouette will remain, it looks like the hatchback treatment has been toned down for this new model. The 2016 Prius is expected to lift some of it’s design cues from the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Powering the 2016 Prius will be an updated version of Toyota’s Synergy hybrid system. Although many competitors have switched to lithium-ion power, Toyota will stick with its tried and true nickel metal hydride batteries. Despite its old school approach, Toyota is targeting a 10 percent improvement in overall economy, which would net a 55mpg combined rating.

It’s also believed that Toyota will offer the Prius with some form of electric all-wheel drive. That approach should help the Prius’ chances in regions prone to snow. A plug-in version of the new Prius is also being developed, but that model won’t bow until some time in 2016.

Look for the 2016 Toyota Prius to greet the public for the first time at the Los Angeles auto show later this year.

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