By on June 22, 2015

Toyota-C-HR-Concept-3

The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV.

The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes.

The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models. Thus, one idea for the SUV would be Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel for a hybrid-diesel variant, as well as one without electric motors for European markets. Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market, set to meet the ZEV standards set for 2018 by California’s government.

(Photo credit: Mike Schlee/AutoGuide)

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31 Comments on “Toyota Prius SUV Reportedly Under Development...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Is the Mazda tie-up going to be like bringing a foster kid into your home and suddenly stuff starts getting broken and missing?

    What can Mazda possibly do that Toyota needs? And isn’t the Prius V already a decent little SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The prius-v is fundamentaly a station wagon. Normal car ride hieght, no AWD, non-butched up styling. Make an Outbacked version, charge $5k more, and laugh all the way to the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      RideHeight wrote: “What can Mazda possibly do that Toyota needs?”

      From the article: “The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models.”

      Mazda’s engines are better than Toyota’s. Toyota has even said as much.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Fat lot of good it’s done Mazda.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          If Mazdas had a blue oval on them and were sold in Ford dealerships, they’d be top sellers across the board.

          Mazda doesn’t know how to sell cars. That’s not the same thing as not knowing how to design/build them.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I agree. Mazda is excellent at designing/building cars that don’t sell.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            For those who aren’t in the know, the 1st and 2nd generation Ford Escape is one of the Mazdas with a blue oval on it that redav is referring to.

            The 1st and 2nd generation Ford Escapes is related to the Mazda 626 platform.

            It’s not the only Ford-Mazda vehicle. There are others, I’m just the most familiar with the Escape.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Prius V + higher seating position + manly truck grill = profit? Why not just put the Toyota hybrid power train into the Rav4 and be done with it?

  • avatar
    John R

    Wait. Isn’t this already the Highlander Hybrid?

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    “Isn’t this already the Highlander Hybrid?”
    “Isn’t this already the Prius v?”
    “Isn’t this already the RAV4 Hybrid?”

    It’s none of those things. It’ll be a Prius from the ground up, which like Mazda’s SkyActiv is not just a powertrain, but an entire vehicle concept. In Prius’ case, think lightness, awful styling, inflated pricing and a 0-60 time measured with a sundial.

    • 0 avatar
      pbr

      “Lightness” got me wondering … a Prius V at a bit over 3200lbs, weighs in between Corolla (up to 2875) and Camry (up to 3480). All the other ‘Yota CUV/SUVs weigh a lot more. I keep wondering why they don’t make a Transit Connect competitor on the Prius platform (more interior height than the V, even). Guess they think they’ll sell more by calling it an SUV than making it useful in some new way.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        pbr: “… Transit Connect competitor…”

        I like the idea but do they run afoul of the Chicken Tax if they do so?

        • 0 avatar
          pbr

          maybe, depending on where they’re assembled and whether or not it has rear seats. (IIRC at one time Ford were getting around the Chicken Tax by assembling Connects with rear seats in Turkey, shipping them to North America, removing the seats after passing customs and shipping the seats back to Turkey for the next batch.)

          I’m coming around to the view that a Prius-branded SUV would be a big seller. Keeping the Prius label as a “halo” would be smart, too. Don’t drag it down with a poverty-spec commercial vehicle. There will be a hybrid delivery/courier sooner or later, but it won’t be called a Prius even if it’s a Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Ford did not ship seats back to the factory producing the Transit Connect. They were recycled right here in the US.

            Its not as if Ford was the first or only automaker to bypass the chicken tax. Japanese trucks used to be shipped without beds so they werent considered a pickup (I think they put a stop to that eventually, but I know the Isuzu-built Chevy LUV came to America this way, for a while anyway). Subaru bolted absolutely useless plastic seats in the bed of the BRAT so itd be considered a car. There are other examples.

            The main reason isnt to save the automaker money so much as it is to keep from passing on the tax to the consumer, which keeps the price of the vehicle compeditive with the rest of the market. Think about it: How often do tobacco companies eat the heavy taxes on their products? Never, of course. Gasoline and diesel companies dont pay fuel taxes for you, they simply add it to the cost of what theyre charging you for the fuel. Would you pay F-150 XLT prices for a base model Transit Connect? Of course not, so to remain compeditive, they found a loop hole just like any other buisness would. Why else would a huge company like General Electric pay almost 0 taxes? Why else would Tyco relocate to a tropical island?

            What I dont get is why they dont produce at least some Transit Connects at the Wayne assembly plant that builds the Focus and C-Max (that is frequently underused for those models). I mean some (passenger?) versions could still be imported. I dont know why they dont, we’ll have to ask Mr. Fields…I mean bball. Lol

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The volume of the Transit Connect doesn’t warrant retooling in the US. At the time they made the decision, Ford’s US plants were operating at something like 115% of capacity. Conversely, Ford’s Valencia Plant was operating at 50% capacity.

            I also think Ford thought that they would sell more C-Maxes or that the Focus numbers would drop so hard.

          • 0 avatar
            pbr

            @JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N
            >> The main reason isnt to save the automaker money so much as it is to keep from passing on the tax to the consumer

            Correct. The Laws of Economics for Engineers:

            1) Supply and demand are inversely proportional.
            2) No one is in it for the fun of it.
            3) The consumer pays for everything.

            With Ford (Transit Connect) and Chevy (Luv) having had to dodge the Chicken Tax themselves at one time or another, I wonder why there is not broad support for ending it. Put another way, I’d like to see the numbers on how it benefits anyone — the manufs all have figured out workarounds so if I had to guess I’d say no one is paying the tax this year. Or is it the only thing keeping (just for example) Ford from moving F150 production to Turkey?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford wouldn’t move F150 production to Turkey. It wouldn’t make any sense to build a North America only model in Turkey. You don’t see them building the S-Max in Chicago and sending it to Europe.

            Here’s even a better example: Ford builds the Fiesta in Mexico and Mexico has a FTA with the EU, yet the Fiesta is also built in Cologne as well.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market”

    Sure, but maybe Toyota will repent of its FCV folly soon, and bring an EV to market themselves instead of giving it to Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      With battery costs “possibly” headed to sub-$100 per kWh they’d better take a closer look at EVs. That would put the cost of the current Leaf battery at $2400 or the Tesla P85Ds battery at less than $8500.

      http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/manufacturing-lithium-ion-battery-half-cost-0623

      BTW, these batteries are actually in pilot production – it’s not the typical bi-weekly battery/super capacitor technology lab break-though report.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market”

      That part doesn’t sound right. Technically, they had an electric 2 (Demio)in Japan, so it wouldn’t be their first EV, but it would be the first in the US. (Also, the e2 was more of a research project than a production car.)

      I don’t know how Mazda will be affected by CA’s ZEV law, but Mazda’s strategy has been to first optimize engines, then add electrification (e.g., i-ELOOP, electric power steering), then add electric propulsion in the form of hybridization, then go full electric. They are still in the electrification stage, but they do offer a hybrid in Japan that is just the Prius drivetrain dropped in a 3.

      If their immediate plan is to produce an EV, they would jump over the hybrid stage, which presumably was a step to understand electric propulsion & work out its kinks. I don’t doubt they will simply drop in the Toyota system for their hybrid(s), but they still need to learn from it.

      But maybe the EV announcement is just very premature, and any planned launch of an EV is still many years away.

      For battery costs, I do think their cost will get to $100/kWh, but not until the late 2020s. When they hit that point, EVs will be cheap enough that it will seem foolish not to have one.

  • avatar
    TW5

    No reason to call it Prius. Just give it a cool name, and a hybrid powertain as standard equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      No can do. If they call it a Prius crossover, they can sell 100,000 per year from day one. Picture a Honda HR-v but with prius credentials. They won’t be able to make them fast enough.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    If this thing is a Prius with a trailer hitch, AWD, and an electric power takeoff, sign me up!

    I reserve the right to cross shop it against whatever Tesla is making at the time, though… :-p

  • avatar
    ctkizer

    I think toyota should make it a Mini-Van cause mini-vans mpgs are terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Minivans are very heavy for their size. Putting a Prius-grade Hybrid system in USDM jumbo minivans wouldnt work out very well, and as Mazda proved with the Mazda5, Americans just are not interested in smaller, more fuel efficient minivans.

      Toyota sells a Hybrid minivan in the JDM, but I believe its quite a bit smaller (so, lighter, and probably too small and underpowered for the USDM) than the Sienna they sell here.

      If you want to trade room, weight, power and such for MPGs, Ford will happily sell you a 4 cyl Transit Connect passenger model or a C-Max Hybrid/Plug-In Hybrid (Energi). Nissan and I believe Ram also offer small 4 cyl passenger minivans. All will get better mileage than Sienna, Oddyssy, FCA minivan and Quest.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The Mazda 5 was a smaller size, but it wasn’t a fuel efficient minivan.

        My wife and I really wanted one, and the size was *perfect* for our needs. But, when we looked at the numbers, it didn’t have any of the benefits we expected to get from a smaller vehicle: higher MPGs and/or lower price.

        So, we bought a used Sienna instead, which got us higher MPGs and a lower price than the Mazda 5. I like the Mazda 5, but the numbers just didn’t favor it.

        • 0 avatar
          71Cutlass

          We went the other way. We bought a Mazda5 and really enjoyed owning it but the gas mileage was disappointing. We now own a Sienna and have no regrets. The Mazda5 had lots of potential but Mazda missed the mark with it, unfortunately.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        One thing that people who don’t have both a hybrid and a minivan in their driveway fail to realize is that a minivan would be way better with a hybrid drivetrain, even if the MPGs were exactly the same.

        The reason is that providing air conditioned comfort at rest is part of the mission profile for a minivan. Being able to run the A/C and DVD player with minimal fuel consumption and engine wear is a big win when you’re taking care of children.

        Alas, the only people who’ve had the experiences necessary to actually believe that this is worthwhile are the fraction of people who’ve owned both a Prius and a minivan. That’s a small fraction of a small fraction of the car buying public.

        Bummer.

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