The pioneer of Toyota hybrid technology has been discontinued in Australia, but work is underway in Japan on a Prius replacement. Will it return to local showrooms?
A replacement for the Toyota Prius is being developed in Japan, but it’s unclear for now if the new model will trigger a return to Australian showrooms.
The Prius range was discontinued by Toyota Australia earlier this year, as reported by journey in May, but the decision could still be reversed at some point in the future if the new Prius lives up to its name – it means “go ahead” – or gets a new role.
Although Toyota has sold more than 300,000 hybrids in Australia, the Prius contributed about 35,000 cars to the total – and its position as the 2001 hybrid pace-setter was quickly overtaken by later petrol-electric versions of mainstream models, including the Camry, Corolla , Yaris and RAV4.
With that in mind – and the expansion of hybrid technology to other models in the Toyota lineup and the company’s significant investments in future electric cars – a fifth-generation Prius appears to be in development in Japan.
This Toyota Prius test vehicle was caught on camera by a reader of the Japanese website Auto Mobyreporting that the car was driving with US license plates.
It is also believed to be left-hand drive.
It was photographed on public roads in Aichi Prefecture, the region of Japan where Toyota is based.
The images show a car with a lower roofline than the previous model, as well as a more aerodynamic shape with a longer nose.
It also has door handles mounted on the C-pillar, in a similar position to the C-HR.