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Don’t diss the Prius: The iconic hybrid is set for a big update and 55mpg


Although it's due for a major makeover, don't count on the Toyota Prius losing its iconic silhouette

While we love to focus on the latest and greatest supercars and performance numbers, we also think it’s a good idea to track changes to certain important cars that thousands of folks drive on a regular basis, especially if there’s a really big change in the works. Toyota’s iconic Prius line of hybrid cars is ready for a makeover and it looks like model year 2015 could see some interesting changes.

The first hybrid to go mainstream got its start in 1997 when gas was about $1.30 a gallon – ah, the good old days.  The car’s name and goofy unusual wind-tunnel-derived shape have become the Xerox of the hybrid world. An early favorite of the eco-conscious, it got a sales boost time and again over the years as gas prices climbed to $4 a gallon or more. Along the way, worthy competitors sprang up and and the idea of driving a hybrid became less… icky.

It didn’t hurt that the Prius is actually a very nice car – for a hybrid.

So what’s on tap for the new Prius? According to Green Car Reports, the Prius could get a style makeover but don’t count on it losing its famous lines in the deal. The interior will expand a bit and new motivation could come from a combination of drive systems including in-wheel motors. The rear suspension could get a needed update for better handling when the back hatch is stuffed full of goodies from CostCo, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

What about some turbo charging, supercharging or a V6? Uh, no. But do count on a mileage boost above the current best-case scenario of about 50mpg. Part of the Prius charter reportedly states the each new generation should get 10 percent better mileage, putting the target at 55mpg for the 2015 model.

The use of more lightweight materials, aero tweaks, more electro juice and other incremental improvements should make that goal reachable. Also, new safety features should debut, according to GCR.

For the more EVish Prius plug-in version, Toyota says more electric-drive range will probably figure into the mix, reflecting customer demand that they be forced to buy as little fuel as possible. We say: bravo. Also, there’s word a new wireless charging system could be included.

Sure, we tease Prius owners but really, they’re the smart ones with enough restraint to somehow not need sub-four second 0-60 times and less than 500hp for getting the kids to school. We’ll bring you more details on the Prius makeover when it hits the streets.

Drive a Prius? What do you love about it? Tell us in comments.

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