Jim Clarke, a former engineer at Ford responsible for the modular V8 and Duratec V6, has an idea to revolutionize the internal combustion engine.
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Rumors have been that Toyota will discontinue the Prius v wagon but if spy photos are any indicator, declarations of its pending demise are greatly exaggerated.
The Japanese automaker was recently seen testing a mule at the Nurburgring in Germany that was disguised with borrowed parts from the Lexus NX, fake tail lights and the front end from the new Prius.
No, it was not seeking to set a new lap record, but the long track does provide an excellent opportunity to push the vehicle as hard as would be expected by a caffeined-out parent with child late to soccer practice.
The new Prius v, called the Prius + in Europe, could have what it takes for such excursions, as a 215 horsepower improved 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain is considered “likely.”
The base Prius has just 121 horses, so this would help the plus-sized car which is ultimately expected to have “more extreme” funky styling taken from the present Prius Liftback’s playbook, according to the spy photogs who nabbed these photos.
There’s no word on whether Toyota will be really accommodating to American desires and give it the E-Four AWD system that’s only a $1,500 option on the Prius in Japan, but which it leaves off here.
No word also on whether a plug-in version would be announced.
Otherwise, the current Prius v originated in 2011 is getting long in the tooth, and its U.S. sales have withered to maybe a third of what they were a couple years ago as its AWD cousin steals the show.
Namely, Americans are actually accepting less than the FWD Prius v’s 41 mpg and opting in far greater numbers for the 32-mpg RAV4 Hybrid, which though it’s more thirsty, does offer contemporary crossover styling and AWD.
Where hope may still lie is that Toyota will markedly improve the fuel economy up around the 50 mpg region, as it did with the Camry this year. Assuming they take feedback from the many detractors of the current Prius Liftback’s styling, and make it suitably attractive, it could be a solid proposition.
The second-generation Prius v could be introduced next year as a 2019 model.