Toyota has debuted the new Prius+ 7-seater hybrid MPV at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show. Making its World debut at the 2011 Geneva motor show, the Prius+ represents a further expansion of the Prius family. Meeting the needs of growing, environmentally conscientious European families, the Prius+ is the first car to offer European customers the versatility of seven seats combined with a full hybrid powertrain.
Despite bearing the name of Toyota’s star model, the Prius+ is a completely new vehicle “designed from the ground up” as the Japanese automaker puts it in the press release. It is a 5-door hatch MPV with a third row of (2) seats at the rear in a 50:50 split configuration.
On sale in the first half of 2012, the Prius+ features the first lithium-ion battery pack to be incorporated within a non-plug-in Toyota full hybrid. The lithium-ion battery pack’s compact dimensions make it ideal for installation underneath the centre console between the driver and the front passenger, offering no compromise to the seven-seat passenger accommodation or loadspace of the MPV-style interior.
Toyota will be using a lithium-ion battery pack in a non-plug-in hybrid for the first time in this Prius+, as opposed to the nickel-metal hydride pack of the standard Prius. Toyota did not release any specs on the model, so we are not sure what the new battery pack means in terms of range and performance. It is likely that the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System (HSD) in this Prius+ features a close variation, if not being identical, to the one that goes into the Prius and Auris HSD models. That powertrain marries a 99 PS (73 kW / 98 bhp) 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol unit to an electric motor that develops 81 PS (60 kW / 80 bhp).
The Prius+ will come with three drive modes: ECO which maximizes fuel-efficiency, EV which drives solely on electric power for zero emissions and POWER which is meant for performance.