Toyota has downplayed rumors that its next-generation Prius is continuing to face development delays.
Previous reports suggest the redesigned hybrid was initially slated to be introduced this spring, but efforts to maximize fuel economy allegedly pushed the project back by approximately six months or longer.
Toyota North America chief Jim Lentz points out that the first three Prius generations each had an average lifecycle of six years. He declined to tell Detroit Free Press a specific launch date, but reportedly gave strong hints that Toyota will show the new model before the end of the year.
“I have driven it. It’s fantastic,” the executive said.
Additional details remain unclear, though Lentz suggests the redesigned model will borrow aggressive design cues from the C-HR concept (pictured). It is also said to offer significantly improved handling, thanks in part to a lower center of gravity.
Previous reports hint at two different battery options and potentially an all-wheel-drive variant, suggesting the Prius family will grow to include a wider range of price tags and packages.
Lentz’s hints suggest the fourth-generation Prius could be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October or the Los Angeles Auto Show the following month.