Front the front three-quarters view, it appears there is a cool inward ledge in back where the D-pillar ends and the tail lights begin, much like the funky rear treatment on the Kia Rondo. Nice. Elsewhere, multi-element headlights look like the arachnid eyes of a last-gen ('08) Mazda6, handsome rectilinear center air vents look lifted from an '80s S-Class Benz, and the park/reverse/drive selector (can't really call it a gear selector) has moved to a more traditional location on a sloping center console reminiscent of the first-gen Lexus RX300. All in all, it's more mature, sportier, and less Bill Gates gee-whiz than the current Prius. But will this hurt it in the eyes of the environmentally obsessed who love their car's hybrid nature standing out in every way possible?
Autoblog claim a more powerful gasoline engine, bigger electric motor, but no immediate plans for lithium-ion batteries, instead sticking to its tried-and-true nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Nonetheless, improved fuel efficiency is in the offing.--Colin Mathews
"We thought we’d take a moment to confirm that the car shown in these unauthorized photos – at least the ones we’ve seen so far - is indeed the new Prius.
"Sorry, we’re not able to provide details. Those will be forthcoming when the car is formally introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
"What we can tell you, however, is this: This new Prius will retain all of the virtues of the model that precedes it. It’s about the same size as its forebear, but with more interior room and better fuel economy. But you expected nothing less, right?
"Tune in January 11-13 for more information."