Frankfurt 2011: 2012 Toyota Prius Family

2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Toyota unveils their facelifted 2012 Prius, new Prius Plug-in, and the Prius V at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

In case some of you didn't notice (we didn't at first), Toyota has unveiled their facelifted 2012 Prius at the Frankfurt Auto Show. When looking at the refreshed hybrid, it's hard to tell at first what exactly was done to justify calling it a facelift. Specifically, Toyota made a few minor nip/tucks to the exterior and interior and has also introduced a variety of multimedia systems. The exterior receives a revised front bumper and an enlarged lower grille.

There are also new clear lens headlamps with an updated LED lamp configuration. Daytime running lamps have also been incorporated into the bumper, door mirrors now have a power-folding function, and the taillights have been redesigned. Toyota has also come up with fresh alloy wheel options. The interior, according to the Japanese automaker, has been updated with a new color scheme, now going from dark grey to black, new silver inserts, and new upholsteries. Also noticeable, but not extremely relevant, is that the push start button color has been changed to have a hybrid blue hue.

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More noticeable is the revised center console design, where the information display has been updated with a 16 gradation-step Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) that will supposedly have a clearer and more three-dimensional display. No changes have been made under the hood and no official pricing details have been released. In addition to the standard Prius, Toyota has also put on display the Prius V and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Full details of the V have already been revealed, but the bigger news is the plug-in variant, which is set to go up against the Chevrolet Volt.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid represents Toyota's latest development of their modular Hybrid Synergy Drive platform. The plug-in has 134hp from a lithium-ion battery with a high-capacity of 4.4kWh and is mated to a gasoline engine. With three driving modes (HV, EV, and EV-City), the Prius Plug-in can go up to 14.3 miles on electric power alone and can return up to 134.5 mpg. Toyota claims their main market for the Prius family will again consist of Japan, the U.S, and Europe. The Prius V, for example, is expected to do quite well in Japan and Europe where MPV-like vehicles are more common.

However, extensive research was done by Toyota as to what U.S. buyers are looking for in a family van. As of now, the Prius V is the only hybrid seven seat people carrier available. The updated and new Prius lineup will soon be joined with even more Toyota hybrids, as the automaker has also announced their plans of introducing 10 new hybrids by 2015.

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