Toyota engineers are out testing the next-generation Prius V (a Prius+ in other markets), and judging by our spy shots of a test mule the vehicle is set to ditch the minivan bodystyle of the current model in favor of a crossover SUV form—a smart move considering the current craze for high-riding vehicles.
The front of the tester features the face of the new Prius V, which has clearly been influenced by the current Prius. However, the flared wheel arches and taller ride height hint at a tougher, more SUV-like stance. The SUV transformation is further evidenced by the fact the engineers have grafted on the tail of a Lexus NX on this test mule.
The platform is Toyota’s TNGA modular design, a lightweight, sturdy platform that made its debut in the current Prius. The platform enables a low center of gravity and increased body rigidity, which in turn leads to more responsive handling and improved ride comfort. Considering the engineers are testing at the Nürburgring, it’s likely the handling and dynamics will also be sportier than what we’re used to in the Prius V.
It isn’t clear what powertrain is being used but a variation of the electric motor-assisted 1.8-liter inline-4 in the current Prius is likely. Expect EPA-rated fuel economy to better the current Prius V’s 43 mpg city, 39 highway and 41 combined.
Look for the new Prius V to make its debut in late 2018 or early the following year. It should arrive as a 2019 model.