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Next-generation Prius to get all-wheel drive

Making the popular hybrid ready for winter driving is one of several changes on the slate.

By Douglas Newcomb Nov 19, 2012 2:26PM

2013 Toyota Prius. Photo by Toyota.Everyone knows that you don’t mess with success, especially when you have an über-popular vehicle like the Toyota Prius. But if you live an area affected by snow, ice or some wintry mix of elements that can cause front-wheel-drive cars to slip and slide, it may make you pass on the Prius for an all-wheel-drive hybrid such as the Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX 450H or Porsche Cayenne, and trade better fuel economy for the traction that these larger -- and pricier -- AWD hybrids provide.

But if rumors about the next-generation Prius are to be believed, Toyota plans to fill that need for drivers in Northern climes by adding an electric motor to drive the car's rear wheels as part of an AWD system, according to the U.K. website Auto Express. A reporter for the site recently quoted a Toyota engineer as saying that the automaker would be "targeting snowy areas" with the new electric AWD system and that the rear wheels will be driven at speeds "up to 37 mph."

In addition to Toyota's plan to make the Prius ready for winter driving, Auto Express revealed other details on the development of the next version of the Toyota’s massively popular hybrid. According to the Toyota engineer with whom Auto Express spoke, "The next Prius will redefine the hybrid as we know it."

One of the biggest changes, given the car’s iconic profile, is that Toyota plans a new design philosophy for the new Prius. The car’s familiar wedge shape reportedly will be replaced with a sleeker design, with the A-pillar pulled rearward. But the new skin is not expected to affect the car's aerodynamics or interior space.

The next-gen Prius will also shed 153 pounds. The car's electric motor and power inverter are expected to shrink, and the current 1.8-liter engine will be altered to deliver more power, according to Auto Express. And on top of all this, the new Prius will be even more fuel-efficient; the source at Toyota says it will achieve approximately 75 mpg.

There’s no denying the dominance of the Prius in the hybrid segment, and given Toyota’s conservative corporate culture it’s surprising that the company would want to make major changes to the Prius franchise. But with new hybrid competitors coming into the market, it’s also a good time for the Toyota to push the Prius forward to stay out front.

[Source: Autoblog]

Nov 19, 2012 3:38PM

" it may make you pass on the Prius for an all-wheel-drive hybrid such as the , or ,"



Come on Doug, cross shop a Porsche Cayenne and an AWD Prius?  Seriously?  I'm sure there are tons of Cayenne drivers out there that went "What I really wanted was a Prius that could get around in the snow, but I ended up with this Porsche at 3 times the cost.  Oh well..."   Even cross shopping the Lexus is a stretch.

Nov 20, 2012 3:43PM
Anyone else notice that on the main page it says popular hybrid Honda to get all wheel drive. Come on MSN web editors.
Jan 20, 2013 6:56PM
The next generation Prius will have Direct Injection  with a longer stroke and shorter bore, and perhaps be a lean burn engine but it might not be a lean burn until 2 generations from now. AWD is good. Hope that gets to all models not just the regular Prius. Imagine a Prius C with AWD. I assume AWD Pri will have a small power boost because there would now be 3 electric motors instead of just 2, plus the engine to help when you floor it.
Nov 22, 2012 8:42PM

This is good blog nice to vist

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