2018 Toyota Prius SUV
With the next-gen 2016 Toyota Prius expected to debut later this year, a recent report suggests that Toyota will continue to expand the lineup of dedicated hybrid vehicles with an all-new Prius SUV. Currently, the Prius lineup includes the Prius Liftback, Prius Plug-In, Prius c and Prius v, but a joint venture with Mazda – the same one that spawned the 2016 Scion iA – could help create yet another hybrid model with unparalleled fuel economy for Toyota. Differentiated from the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Prius SUV would only be offered as a hybrid, and if produced, it could possibly be based on the two-door 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept crossover unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
The obvious advantage of a crossover- or SUV-based Prius is that attention to aerodynamics could be pushed back a little in favor of a traditional tall ride height, added versatility and more attention on creating a stylish vehicle. After looking at the C-HR Concept, we envisioned what a production version of the hybrid crossover would look like to come up with the rendering you see here. Toyota has yet to officially confirm any plans for a Prius SUV, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that such a vehicle would be an exciting addition to the existing lineup of Prius hatchbacks.
Continue reading my speculative review of the Toyota Prius SUV.
2018 Toyota Prius SUV
0-60 time:10 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:125 mph (Est.)
Looking like a less-awkward version of the Nissan Juke, the C-HR Concept had bold lines, big fenders and an interesting floating taillight design. If this concept were to become a reality, though, expect many of the wilder elements of the deign to be toned down, similar to what Toyota did between the 2011 toyota Prius c Concept and the production version that followed a year later.
Most importantly, this would include a conventional four-door configuration, but it would be cool to see the aggressive face and pinched beltline make it into production. Even if it doesn’t show up as a hybrid or Prius-badged model, seeing such a small crossover in Toyota’s lineup would be good for the brand’s image.
Note: Toyota Prius V interior shown.
Toyota never revealed the interior of the C-HR Concept, but it should carry over the same styling theme as the upcoming fourth-generation Prius Liftback, which we also haven’t seen yet. If you look at the current Prius lineup, each of the three different body designs share a similar interior layout with the instrument gauges centrally located in the instrument panel, so it would be safe to say that Toyota could use a similar outside-the-box interior design for its next-gen Prius models as well.
Up until now, the Toyota Prius derivatives have all been hatchbacks that are aimed at green car enthusiasts with a goal of maximizing fuel economy, but recent rumors suggest the Prius SUV could see the Mazda Skyactiv-D 1.5-liter diesel paired to Toyota’s highly efficient Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Hybrids tend to do better in the city while diesels are at their best on the highway, which would suggest that a diesel hybrid would bring the best of both worlds to drivers regardless of where they drive.
Assuming that Toyota keeps the current quartet of Prius models in place, the Prius SUV would probably stand as the highest-priced option in the hybrid’s lineup. This would place it above the $26,645 base price of the 2015 Prius v, but don’t expect it to crest the $30,000 price mark.
Just based on styling alone, the rendering we came up with would look good sitting on the Toyota showroom. The Juke has proven to be a fun, quirky crossover that mixes a tall ride height with the sportiness of a compact hatchback. And since a Prius SUV would focus on fuel economy, don’t expect to see Toyota try to challenge the Juke-R for performance.
Read our full review of the Nissan Juke here.
When it comes to efficient crossovers and SUVs, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV might be the current leader out there. Despite its early problems and the fact that U.S. customers can’t buy it yet, the Outlander PHEV is an affordable, three-row plug-in crossover that blends practicality and fuel economy.
Read our full review of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV here.
Since its introduction, it has been hard for typical car enthusiasts to get excited about the Toyota Prius, but if Toyota can deliver a diesel-powered hybrid with an exciting design anything like the C-HR Concept, then the Prius could definitely find its way into many more driveways. Although there’s no way of telling when such a vehicle could arrive for Toyota, the earliest we could see it would probably be sometime in the 2018 model year, after the rollout of the new Prius Liftback. The biggest concern would be whether or not automakers are ready to bring a diesel hybrid to the U.S. When introduced, the C-HR Concept sounded like it might be a Europe-only model.