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 |  Oct 15 2010, 9:23 AM

Toyota seems to be catching on to this whole social media thing. Last week the automaker teased us with the Prius MPV on its Facebook page and now the folks in the PR department have used Twitter to announce that the second Prius model will debut at the Detroit Auto Show this January.

The vehicle is described as an, “all-new model w/ more comfort, style and versatility. ”

Based on the same architecture, the Prius MPV could get three rows of seats and sliding second row doors. Rumors have hinted that the new model could get a more advanced Lithium Ion battery back, but we’re tempted to think important advances like that would arrive in the original Prius first.

The Prius MPV is just the first of what is expected to be many new Prius models, with a smaller Prius, based on the FT-CH Concept, likely to follow.

[Source: Toyota's Twitter Feed]

 |  Oct 12 2010, 7:13 AM

As the original Prius prepares to celebrate its 10th birthday, Toyota is planning to finally expand the hybrid lineup, adding an MPV model. While not common in North America, MPVs are a hit in other parts of the world where our minivans are seen as gargantuan.

A single photo showing the Prius MPV peaking out behind the current model was released on the official Prius Facebook page and by the looks of it, the MPV model won’t be a whole lot bigger. The slight size increase all around should lead to more interior room and the Prius MPV will likely get three rows of seats – similar to the Mazda5. In many ways, the MPV model looks a lot like the new Auris Hybrid unveiled at the Paris Auto Show.

We don’t expect any upgrades to the powertrain, as Toyota is likely to debut any big upgrades on the flagship model.

[Source: Prius Facebook Page]

 |  May 26 2010, 8:53 AM

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Reports of a Prius MPV model aren’t new, but now comes word that the car will be call the Prius Alpha. Set to go on sale next March, the seven-seat Prius will ride on a stretched version of the current Prius platform that is almost a foot longer. The car was first previewed in the Prius Hybrid X Concept (above).

Power will come from the same 1.8-liter hybrid setup used in the standard third-generation Prius, although there’s the possibility that Toyota could opt to use a mode advanced lithium-ion battery pack. If that does happen, expect even more impressive fuel economy. Otherwise the slightly taller and heavier Prius Alpha will be just a little less efficient.

Toyota has announced it intends to expand the Prius name into a whole line of standalone hybrid models, which is also likely to include a smaller Prius model based on the FT-CH Concept.

[Source: AutoCar]

 |  Apr 19 2010, 10:59 AM

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Toyota will launch a Prius minivan next year, powered by advanced lithium-ion battery technology. News comes from Japan’s Nieeki business daily via Reuters and is the latest report indicating the direction of Toyota’s plan to expand the Prius name into a whole lineup of vehicles.

The Prius van (or more likely an MPV similar to a Matrix or Mazda5) would be priced competitively to the current Prius and would offer improved fuel economy thanks to the new battery technology. The new model would include three rows with seating for 5 to 7 people.

The plan to produce of a hybrid van or hybrid MPV comes as no surprise as we reported last week that Chevrolet will also debut a version of the upcoming Chevy Orlando using the Chevy Volt’s Voltec powertrain. The Volt MPV is expected to debut in concept form later this month at the Beijing Auto Show.

Toyota is also planning to bring to market a smaller Prius model, based on the FT-CH Concept which first debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

[Source: Reuters]