It’s only a matter of time before full-electric vehicles take over the entire new car landscape, but hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius are here to stay, at least for now. The Prius is currently in its fourth generation, however, the Japanese automaker recently told Autocar that a new fifth-generation model is in the works.
The Toyota Prius has a key role to play in the hybrid market
If you look at Toyota’s current lineup, you’ll notice that most of its vehicles can be equipped with a hybrid powertrain. The Corolla, the Camry, the RAV4, the Venza, and even the Sienna are all part of the company’s strategy for full hybridization, but it looks like the Prius is still the front bearer in the stable. And why not? It’s been around for over 20 years and has served as the beacon in the automotive market for all prospective hybrid car buyers. It only makes sense that Toyota will continue producing it.
Toyota’s product and marketing manager, Andrea Carlucci, talked to Autocar about the value of the Prius nameplate. “It remains the pioneer into electrification – and has been clearly, for Toyota, an icon. It started our journey back more than 25 years ago,” Carlucci said. “It has to keep a role, and we have to make sure it will always be a front-runner with that kind of technology, so, although I can’t disclose much, we don’t want to waste our icon, even for the future.
The Prius had strong beginnings in the U.S.
The Toyota Prius has always been a leader in the hybrid car market. It originally launched in 1997 in Japan but it came to the U.S. in 2000, right after the first-gen Honda Insight. Although it wasn’t the first hybrid car in the U.S., the Prius has remained the go-to car for anyone in the market for a fuel-sipping four-door.
Now in its fourth generation, the Prius has remained in its current physical form since 2016. Based on Toyota’s typical six-year lifecycle, the upcoming fifth-generation Prius redesign is right on time. However, Autocar did say that Toyota was mum on any further details on the forthcoming model.
Could a hydrogen powerplant be in the works?
Some publications, like Autoblog, have speculated that the next-gen Prius could possibly be offered as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. In essence, it would have the same powerplant as the Toyota Mirai. That would make sense considering the direction that Toyota is going with its hybridized future. However, it could be a tough sell to the public given the current hydrogen station infrastructure, or lack thereof.
Whatever the case, we can expect the fifth-generation Toyota Prius to arrive late in 2022, most likely as a 2023 model. One thing that is almost for certain is that no matter what the next Prius looks and drives like, there will be many buyers interested in it. Just as there has been for the last 25 years.