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2016 Toyota Prius

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Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid back in 1997 and since then, the model has been through three generational changes — the latest one was revealed in 2009. When Toyota released the Prius, it quickly known as the face of hybrid vehicles. With competition starting to become fiercer each year, Toyota needs to keep improving the Prius to keep it in the No. 1 slot in the hybrid market in it next generation.

Rumors suggest that the next-generation Prius will take its market dominance to a whole new level. Toyota will go for a completely revised look and will move it to New Global Architecture platform that will make it lighter and cheaper to develop.This revised look is anticipated to give the Prius a sportier look than the current model, much like the difference between the last-generation Corolla and the current generation.

According to a report from Automotive News, the next-generation Prius “will have a new type of hybrid system," with a new, ultra-efficient gasoline engine and powerful, lightweight lithium-ion batteries. This new engine will achieve thermal efficiency rates above 40 percent — up from the current 38.5% — which will help deliver around an 8-percent increase in fuel economy.

Expect the fourth-generation Toyota Prius to be put on sale sometime in 2015.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Prius.

Note: Current model pictured here.

Competition

Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford C-Max

The Ford C-0Max Hybrid is one of the Prius’s key competitors, as it is in the same ballpark in terms of price. Where the C-Max falls a little short is its gas mileage, as it only delivers 45 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, but it does have 188 horsepower and 129 pound-feet coming from its 2.0-liter engine and electric motor, which is good enough to 60 mph in about 8 seconds — roughly 2 seconds faster than the current Prius.

The C-Max starts off at $25,995, which is about $900 more than the 2014 Prius.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

Sure, it’s not a hybrid car, but the Leaf is one model that threatens Prius’ supremacy in the alternative-fuel realm. The Leaf uses a 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that sends its power to an 80kW AC synchronous motor that delivers 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque.

Leaf is rated at 129 MPGe in the city and has a driving range of 75 miles on a single charge. The downfall to the Leaf is that you have to plan on having a backup gasoline car for long trips, at least until fast-charge stations start rolling out in the next decade or so.

Prices start from $28,800, but federal credits can drop it to as low as $21,300.



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