We’re all aware of Toyota’s unwavering position at the vanguard of hybrid vehicles. The Japanese automaker has enjoyed unparalleled success with its plucky Prius, which — if you’ve been living under a internal combustion engine — has gone on to spawn several variations ever since its introduction back in 1997. The company even attempted to transfer its momentum with the Prius into the luxury segment with the HS 250h (although with little traction), followed by the CT 200h which proved that a Lexus-badged hybrid could indeed create a compelling compact luxury hybrid.
Now, according to Malaysian automotive site Paultan, it appears Toyota could be working on another luxury hybrid model based on the existing Prius C platform, which the website has dubbed the AS150. Of course we’re going to file these reports under “read with plenty pinches of salt at hand” because as it stands nothing has been confirmed by Toyota. And given the automaker’s penchant for labeling their hybrid vehicles with an “H” we’re even more skeptical.
Nevertheless, speculation can be fun, and though we’re rightfully unconvinced by the name, what does seem more conceivable is the purported powertrain the Malaysian outlet suggests could be employed. According to the report, a Lexus-badged Prius C may utilize a variation of the 1.5-liter Hybrid Synergy Drive model currently used in the entry level hybrid. Though, Paultan also suggests that an even smaller 1.2-liter turbocharged variant could also be featured.
Traditionally, luxury vehicles have been the playthings of the wealthy and the indulgent, leaving such trepidations like the fate of our planet to the environmentally concerned. But while such practices have long been assaults on the collective bank accounts of the affluent, they no longer have to be assaults on the environment. After all, who doesn’t like to save money?
Still, if any manufacturer were to try and pioneer a sub-compact luxury hybrid segment it most certainly would be Toyota. However, we’re not entirely sure that such a vehicle would gain foothold in the market, assuming there is a market at all. Then again, we could be wrong. And such a luxury-focused sub-compact hybrid could indeed prove to be a breakaway success.