Toyota's mainline Prius hybrid will adopt styling cues from its more-expensive sibling.
Love it or hate it, you have to admit the Toyota Prius is... polarizing. Introduced in 1997, Toyota's mainline hybrid entered its fourth generation for 2015—and it wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms by consumers. Sure, gas is cheap and there are now more efficient options on the market, but those two points alone can't account for why the Prius has nosedived on sales charts over the last few years. Could it also be due to the Prius being one of the ugliest new cars money can buy? Probably, and Toyota has a plan to change that for 2019.
According to Japanese website Car Sensor (via Green Car Reports), the Japanese automaker will go beyond a simple nip-tuck for the 2019 Prius by giving it styling cues similar to the Prius Prime—Toyota's more expensive, plug-in hybrid model. Photos on the website show a purple Prius with headlamps similar to the Prime, though the refresh does not adopt the Prime's grille or double-bubble rear end. Car Sensor stated it expects the refreshed 2019 Prius to arrive in December of this year with an upgraded powertrain and improved fuel economy. The current Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter engine and hybrid drive capable of up to 58 mpg city, 53 highway, and 56 combined in Eco trim.
According to sales-tracking website GoodCarBadCar, the Prius family of vehicles as a whole achieved a high-water mark in 2012 when it found 236,659 driveways in the United States. For 2017, that number dropped to 108,662 total sales. Of those, 65,631 sales are attributable to the Prius and 20,936 to the Prime plug-in, the most sales ever achieved in one year by a Prius PHEV model.