By on April 16, 2010

According to Reuters, The Nikkei is reporting that Toyota has approved a “competitively priced Prius hybrid minivan” for production in 2011. The new model will be the first Prius-branded vehicle in a long-rumored campaign by Toyota to stretch the nameplate to new models (future additions to the Prius line could include a compact model, based on the FT-CH concept). Depending on the timing of its release relative to the forthcoming plug-in Prius, it could also be the first lithium-ion battery-powered Toyota hybrid. Toyota will initially produce the new batteries in-house, before migrating production to a plant run by its joint venture with Panasonic. Toyota has not yet given details about pricing, performance, or even which markets this new minivan will initially be rolled out to.

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22 Comments on “Prius Minivan Approved For 2011 Launch...”

  • avatar

    Do driver’s floormats, ePedal and roll-stability control come standard?

  • avatar

    Just in time for the Sienna recalls

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Can we just go ahead and recall it now, so we won’t have to bother later?

  • avatar

    Recall it now…it causes sore eyes…

  • avatar

    Dear god in heaven, that thing is horrifying. I think we’re starting to approach the late ’50s in car styling absurdity; each generation now seems to be a caricature of the last.

  • avatar

    Dear Confused Posters: This picture was a concept that came out prior to the 2010 Prius. It is not the Prius Minivan.

    I’ve had several people ask me when a hybrid Sienna is coming (since I’m the ”car guy” amongst my friends and family). The people that actually buy vehicles to move their families around are interested in a high mileage people mover.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    As someone who loves both 3 pedals and RWD, this really seems like the beginning of the end. This might not be it! But once someone can combine the yuppiness and “green” factor of the Prius and the people (and many, many children) hauling capacity of a minivan in a good package and a good price, (safely. Looking at you Toyoya) it will sell like hotcakes. If we’re out of the recession and in good standing in 2-3 years then new car sales will likely increase, and this could be the “IT” car. Even my daily driver, a Volvo Wagon is exponentially more exciting and fun than this will ever be. I don’t even get me started on the 530i, or when we still had the S60R! I never plan on having that many kids, and if I were a father now the lowest I would steep would be a Jetta TDI wagon, or maybe an A4 Avant…. It’s possible to get 30-40mpg in a decent sized car and still be able to have fun. It’s called diesel! Don’t get me wrong, the Porsche GT3 R Hybrid looks interesting, but this is beige in an even more amazing way. What will Honda’s answer be?

  • avatar

    If its has similar mileage & the reliability of the current Prius it should do well. It would also make a perfect taxi cab and light delivery vehicle.

  • avatar

    I wonder if they mean an actual Odyssey/Caravan/Sienna sized minivan, or more of a Mazda5/Rondo/C-Max style MPV. The former will never get mileage similar to the current Prius, the latter might have a shot.

    As far as a compact Prius goes, the Prius is already a compact (regardless of the fact that Toyota tried to call it a midsize). Drive a Prius, then a Civic/Corolla/Focus, and finally a(n) Accord/Camry/Fusion, the Prius feels a lot more like the first set than the second from the driver’s seat.

  • avatar

    There is a lot of pent-up demand for a vehicle like this. There are a lot of people who want a hybrid people-mover, but aren’t interested in something as compromised as the Highlander Hybrid or as small as the Escape.

    The current Sienna (the four-cyl) actually gets very good mileage for something of it’s interior volume. It’s not fast, but it doesn’t really need to be given it’s mission. Dropping the powertrain from the Camry Hybrid or Lexus HS into it would probably do well, especially since minivans seem to spend the bulk of their existence in (sub)urban grind—consequently where hybrids do quite well.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Depending on how minivan-ish it really is, this would be the type of vehicle I would actually consider. Just make sure it isn’t a hybrid version of the Sienna.

  • avatar

    I am not certain in the prospects of this “Prius 5”. Mazda 5 is a terrific vehicle and yet its sales are rather underwhelming. I do not know why, and therefore I cannot tell if a hybrid drivetrain would suddenly make it fashionable, especially if Prius continues to be available.

    • 0 avatar

      Lackluster minivan sales is the reason the hybrid minivan is taking so long to arrive. The R&D investment for such a vehicle isn’t going to be cheap and since hybrid SUV sales didn’t exactly take off (and that was when SUV sales were going gangbusters), I can certainly understand the hesitancy of the manufacturers to produce what would otherwise seem to be a no-brainer.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been looking to buy a minivan recently, and I checked out the Mazda5. I like the sliding side door, but the vehicle is too small for me to sit in front the state-mandated infant carrier. This is a huge drawback that normal minivans do not have. It’s also the sole reason that I dropped Mazda5 from my consideration list. If Prius5 is as small as the Mazda5, I won’t even give it a first look.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    This is a much better idea than anything Honda has done with hybrids.

  • avatar

    Is this the successor/replacement to the Toyota Previa/Estima?

  • avatar

    Great….just what we need. A PIOUS in minivan clothing.

    What’s next? Prius pickup trucks????

  • avatar

    Gee, guys, not a lot of love for the idea of a Toyota hybrid minivan. But why not?

    Look, if you have 3 or more kids, minivans are hard to resist. Sorry to burst your bubble, but 3 carseats and/or boosters just don’t fit across the back seat of a Jetta. And SUVs aren’t ideal because the third row is inaccessible, and the mileage and utility are lousy.

    It’s not like non-hybrid minivans are all that fun to drive anyway, so adding a few hundred pounds of batteries won’t matter. If Toyota can increase mileage up from the usual 18 mpg to 25, or even 30, that would be huge.

    Maybe they can do a package deal — buy the Prius minivan and Toyobaru coupe for $600/month. Then you’d have it all, no?

  • avatar

    Finally! Talk about match made in heaven.

    It will likely be smaller than the Sienna, benefitting gas mileage, and making it more close-in urban compatible. Up selling to current Prius owners who have out bred their current chariot, will be the easiest sale anyone has ever made.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’m the ideal candidate I’m guessing – 20k miles a year, cheap bastard when it comes to expenses, love technology that improves my life. If they keep it around $25k, I’m game. Just make sure it has a sunroof available….

    • 0 avatar

      If 20K miles per year is the ideal candidate, they are going to have precious few takers, very few people drive that many miles per year.

      Also, the regular Toyota Sienna barely comes in under $25K in base form, hybridizing it isn’t going to make it any cheaper.

      I recently looked up pricing on Priuses, and was amazed to see how much they cost. AFter seeing how Honda was lambasted for making the new Insight clock in at a base price of $18K, I figured the Prius must be pretty close, how wrong I was. Even in MSRP terms, the Prius starts at closer to mid 20s than low 20s, and if that is the case, if this proposed hybrid minivan is a true full size minivan, I would be amazed to see a base MSRP below $30K, and most likely one closer to $35K.

      Hybrid technology, as intersting as it is, just isn’t practical for most people. Unless you drive a ton of miles, with mostly city driving, and keep your car for more than six years, a hybrid just doesn’t make sense.

  • avatar

    I have friends working on these projects. This is just the start of a huge push from Toyota to hybridise everything.

    Ford and Hyundai might be able to “go” with them, but everyone else will be left behind.

    $100+/bbl oil, and you’ll need to join a queue to buy one.

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