Global sales of the standard Prius hatchback peaked at 509,380 vehicles in 2010. By last year, they plunged to just 85,970. All told, Toyota has sold more than 4.7 million since 1997.
The fifth-generation Prius enters production at the company’s Tsutsumi assembly plant in Toyota City in December. That is where the outgoing version is built. Sales will kick off in Japan in January. Then, the redesigned Prius will roll out to the U.S. and Europe from early next year.
The flagship hybrid will not be sold in China, where Toyota ended Prius sales in 2016.
Here are the nuts and bolts of what is on tap.
The traditional Prius and plug-in version will both get a 2.0-liter engine mated to a new fourth-generation lithium ion battery. That is a step up from the outgoing model, which has only a 1.8-liter engine and also options an older-generation, nickel-metal hydride battery on some grades.
A lower grade of the upcoming Prius will keep a 1.8-liter option as an entry-level model.
But the U.S. will get only the 2.0-liter variants.
An all-wheel drive option, using Toyota’s rear e-axle setup, will also be available.
The standard 2.0-liter hybrid system was first deployed in the Corolla Cross Hybrid for Europe. In the Prius, it will be the first time Toyota has paired a 2.0-liter engine with a plug-in.
In the old Prius, both the regular and plug-in powertrains churn out 90 kilowatts (roughly 121 hp) of combined system power between the engine and electric motor.
In the new, the 2.0-liter standard hybrid delivers 144 kilowatts (193 hp), while the plug-in achieves 159 kilowatts (213 hp). The plug-in reaches zero to 62 mph in a snappy 6.7 seconds, down from a sluggish 11.1 seconds in the outgoing model. The standard makes 7.5 seconds vs. 10.4.
Toyota says the PHEV’s EV-mode range will increase up to 50 percent over the outgoing version, depending on specifications such as wheel size.