By on October 26, 2010

Toyota’s been talking about adding to the Prius family for some time, and a plus-sized MPV has been rumored as the first addition. Now [via Jalopnik] thinks it’s found the first images of the Prius MPV, which might take the name Prius Verso in Italy, and may be called the “Prius Alpha” in other markets. These images show a vehicle that is unmistakeably Prius-related, but boasts a longer wheelbase and a higher roofline at the rear. But does it differentiate itself well enough from the Prius, or would even more length and sliding doors help make its case?

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34 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Plus-Sized Prius Edition...”

  • avatar

    No, added length and sliding doors would label it a mini-van, and Americans are loath to be seen in one.

  • avatar

    The two photos are of totally different vehicles, which suggests that one or both were ‘shopped. The panel seam and crease in the lower rear bumper of the front 3/4ths view is missing from the rear 3/4ths view, and shape of the taillamps are drastically different in both photos.

  • avatar

    Nothing.  Especially if this model can be built on the same assembly line as regular sized Priori, then you build whatever is selling.

  • avatar

    Sliding doors would help a lot.
    I know a number of people who skipped Toyota altogether and went Mazda5 because the Prius was too small and the Highlander, well, functionally compromised.  Mind you, this is Canada, where the 5 sells like hotcakes.

  • avatar

    In the US market, a Mazda 5-sized vehicle is a tough sell.  In the rest of the world its more then adequate.  In Japan, they already have a hybrid Alphard minivan that is larger then this.
    The US is only a small portion of Prius’ market, and not their primary one.  They are clearly targeting the Japanese market first, Europe second, and US third with this vehicle.  For their primary market this car fits comfortably below the Alphard, and above the regular Prius.  Most of the sales will likely be there.

    Toyota is also building an even smaller Prius that is suppose to be cheaper and get better mileage then the current regular Prius, so they seem to be thinking of a S, M, L -size variants for the Prius.  Again, US sales won’t be the target for that car either.

  • avatar

    All I can think about is that the mileage will suffer when it’s bigger.

  • avatar

    Nothing wrong with it. It’s about the same difference as the Elantra Sedan and the Elantra Touring Edition.

    • 0 avatar

      It indeed looks a lot like my Elantra Touring, as I predicted based on the side view (previous discussion thread). Compare especially in the shape of the windows and the character line (TTAC photos). Of course, being Toyota, it just looks worse. It’s got the trademark Toyota pudgy nose and bulgy bumpers. And the rear end is a mishmash of intersecting lines, not the elegant simplicity that is the Touring.

    • 0 avatar

      I really like the Touring from every angle; Hyundai got that right.

  • avatar

    I personally like this better than the Prius.
    But I don’t like  the Prius design to begin with.
    Nor the Fit.
    But this clearly is going after the Fit look.

    I just think the Fit looks oddly shaped. Function over look. I understand what they are trying to do but beauty is an important part of design or we would all be driving very boring but functional boxes.

    The Prius, like the newest Crosstour, has a problem with the rear glass being cut off or interrupted with a bar.

    This has more flow and beauty to it and still allows for the function.
    I would prefer this over the Prius.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fit is one of the few refuges for buyers who seek function over form.
      A roomy functional box makes a great vehicle for a wide range of uses.
      There’s plenty of other cars that sacrifice function/ergonomics for looks.
      Some people choose to own one of each type.

    • 0 avatar

      “we would all be driving very boring but functional boxes”

      Don’t we, for a large part of us do already? Even though I’m being sarcastic, it is true when the wind tunnel rules the roost, we have what we have.

      The larger Prius does appear to have more appeal as a family hauler. I don’t know what the stigma of a minivan is all about – you buy what you can afford that fits your needs, and the minivan is very practical. Now, I guess people want more style – I do, but I never owned a minivan, either, even when I really needed one but couldn’t afford one.

      I’ve stated over and over again, whatever vehicle I buy, I want it to make me not be ashamed of being seen in it. So, to the automakers: Bring Back Style!

  • avatar

    The higher roof line is good and they should not be afraid to make the windows taller as well. This is a family car and kids and adults like to not feel enclosed when sitting in the back.
    Toyota could use a gradient tinting effect on the rear windows if they think Rondo-sized windows would make buyers feel their sportiness RDA is not being met.

  • avatar

    I actually appreciate the pure functional shape that is the prius but this is a minivan. Its a fine line and this crossed over to minivan even without sliding doors.

  • avatar

    This is what the Venza should have been in the first place.

  • avatar

    I am not convinced.  The Prius is too narrow to be taken seriously as a 5-seater.  Which means that this vehicle will have adequate room for 4, plus room for the occasional 3 extra passengers.  OK, I guess there are small families that believe they will need to transport a couple of additional kids once in a while, but I am not convinced it is a market of more than 20K in the US.

    But if you wanted an expensive, generic looking Mazda5 that was great on gas and won’t rust out, this is it.  Fair enough.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    Alright, just in case any Toyota people are reading this and care about my anonymous commentary, PLEASE PUT THE SLIDING DOORS ON THIS SUPER-SIZED PRIUS!  You see, I don’t care about how this vehicle “looks”…I’m more interested in functionality.  I have just enough children (2) and stuff (gobs) that it renders a minivan too big, an SUV/CUV too impractical and the Mazda5 not fuel-efficient enough for my tastes.  If Mazda could get 35mpg combined out of the 5, I’d be all over that;  but at 22/28, it’s a pig.  Alas, my love of sliding doors and six passenger seating (in a pinch) is offset by crappy mpgs. But if you (Toyota) were to put some sliding doors on that fat Prius and promise me say…42+mpg combined…I’d go shell out the $27K or whatever it might take to get into it.  Being as I keep my cars far longer than average, the hybrid-premium would be offset by both the longevity & new-found functionality;  or at least, that’s what I’d tell myself.

    All that said, it’s probably not going to happen, right?  So I’m stuck looking at minivans again.  Meh.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess this is what I struggle with…to many needs.
      I have a need to haul.
      I have a need for style.
      I have a need for going fast on mountain roads.
      I have a need for silence.
      I have a need for comfort.
      Notice I could give a damn about high mileage.  Just get me within 5 MPG of the competition and it’s off the table as a demand.

      So, do I need 2 or 3 vehicles?

      Tons of folks have these same wants but can’t have lots of cars/trucks/vans.
      So…we try to get as much into as few as possible.

      For me…this still keeps coming down to wagons or hatches.

  • avatar

    I always thought the development that triggers the revival of the minivan (full sized) would be hybrid 30/30 (30mpg city/30mpg highway) minivan.   I was kind of surprised Toyota didn’t come out with one earlier this year when the 2011 Sienna was announced.   Toyota has the technology.

  • avatar

    It’s nice enough design but I’m inclined to agree, put some sliding doors on the rear or do what the Nissan did, bring out a tall wagon, ala the Maxima wagon or Mitsubishi did in the early 1990’s with the smaller Expo, but with a sliding door on both sides, not just on one and have a micro van like car that is big enough to seat at least 5, if not 6 in a pinch and all their stuff but it neededn’t be as big as a regular min van but certainly a bit larger than the current Prius in size but with the Prius driveline, then they’ll have something worthwhile.

  • avatar

    If it can seat 4 adults or 2 adults with 5 children that are various pre-teen ages, we will buy one.  We want high mileage, and not every seat needs to be able to carry an adult or a teenager.  We have three children under 5, and it would be great to be able to carry them and two of their friends or cousins in a high mpg vehicle that was more compact than a minivan, and that had car-like handling and ease of entry/exit ref. height off the ground.  The bulk and inefficiency that the car market forces on us to carry one more person than a sedan is stupid.

  • avatar

    In America at least, unless this thing gets an additional seat row, I doubt it will do much more than simply cannibalize regular Prius sales. With an additional row, and still low fuel consumption, I bet it could do well. Many couples with children in the Greenie/Import heavy states seem plenty ashamed to admit they drive a midsized CUV because they need the space, while at the same time feeling the Mazda 5 is too down market and undistinguished for them.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree.  A third row would add considerable weight, I doubt the drivetrain could handle it for very long.  The last thing Toyota wants to do is repeat Honda’s mistake of putting Accord’s tranny in the Odyssey, the extra weight caused many of them to grenade well before 100k.  Mini has had success selling the slightly-bigger Clubman.  After four years, my dealer still sells every one he gets his hands on, no incentives, while two dozen regular Coopers sit on the lot with $3000 on the hood.  There me be a lot of demand for a somewhat bigger Prius.

  • avatar

    If Toyota adds the Mazda5’s sliding doors and does as good a job with maximizing interior efficiency as Honda did with the Fit, well, they’ll have a homerun.

    Besides the ‘soccer mom’ unhip stigma, the biggest detriment to minivan ownership was the mediocre fuel mileage. Minivan sales have been taking a beating at the hands of SUVs for years but I’ve been at a loss why no one hasn’t yet offered a hybrid minivan.

    The first one that does it (and it looks like it’s going to be Toyota) will have another segment buster and the minivan phenomenon will begin anew.

  • avatar

    What’s wrong with that picture? It’s a fucking Prius.

  • avatar

    Even more FUGLY than the original, which is at least tolerable due to high functionality.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    These would make great NYC Taxis. How about a Prius coupe or MR2 roadster?

  • avatar

    I’m still waiting for Toyota to come out with a hybrid RAV4. Not that I can quite afford one now, but that would be an ideal vehicle in terms of styling (not mini-van) mixed with practicality.
    For a company that promised hybrids for every niche, they’ve wasted their early efforts on lines that weren’t going to sell that well in the expensive Highlander hybrid – whereas smaller SUVs and their crossover look-a-likes are where the action is.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    I wish Honda would come out with a tall wagon like this.  I’m still squeezing as many miles as I can out of a 1991 Civic wagon.  Great combination of functionality and gas mileage.

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