All photos: © SpiedBilde/Brian Williams, licensed to Yahoo Autos
Next month, Toyota will reveal the new 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid in Las Vegas — the first major overhaul of the world’s best-selling hybrid since 2009. But today, automotive spy photographers caught the new Prius out in the open and without camoflauge for the first time — revealing a shape that has more in common with the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai than any other Toyota.
Caught during a photo shoot, even at a great distance its possible to see the major changes to the Prius’ exterior — more sharply sculpted headlights, a channel that begins in the back door and runs through the rear fender — while noting that it retains the overall hatchback shape. The blue car next to the red one is likely the Prius plug-in hybrid model, which will get more distinctive bodywork.
These nighttime shots make the front-end changes more apparent.
While the rear shot is blurrier, the long taillamps would also echo the more dramatic styling of the fuel-cell powered Mirai, which Toyota only sells in California.
Overall, the new Prius looks almost exactly like a leak of patent drawings from Taiwan earlier this year suggested it would — a style that maintains the Prius’ distinctiveness (some might have a less-kind term) compared with other vehicles on the road.
Toyota executives have said the new Prius would be an evolutionary improvement in fuel efficiency — aiming for roughly 55 mpg combined, with changes throughout its battery and power electronics to make them lighter and less expensive (and perhaps less attractive to thieves.) Low gas prices have hit Prius sales, although it remains the undisputed champion of hybrids and eco-vehicles. The design we see here shouldn’t upset the fan base much; drawing in new customers will be the real challenge.