Prius to be all-new in 2015 and could offer all-wheel drive

Toyota NS4 concept

The Toyota Prius – like it or not – is the most recognized and best-selling hybrid car on the planet. Although Toyota is not known for messing with a sales success very often – take the venerable Corolla for example – the Japanese automaker does plan to remake the Prius for 2015.

What might the 2015 Prius have in store for us? First off, the body style isn’t likely to change much. Not only is it iconic, it’s also – as we said above – instantly recognizable. The slippery body shape is so synonymous with hybrids that Honda even copied it for its second-generation Insight. If you were hoping for a less clichéd Prius for 2015, you’re out of luck.

Underneath the skin, Toyota is rumored to finally switch the battery pack over from nickel-metal-hydride over to a lithium-ion unit, much like the one in the new Prius Plug-in presently on sale. According to Green Car Reports, Toyota had intended a lithium-ion switch for 2010 but had to re-think the battery chemistry, pushing back the rollout. Will it bump up the gas mileage even more? Time will tell.

Delightfully for those of us in areas stricken with inclement weather or with ski resorts in the distance, the 2015 Prius could come with an all-wheel drive option. While this will make it more livable in the snow-belt states, the extra weight and complexity will draw on efficiency.

Lastly, the dashboard design will likely be re-hashed for 2015, allowing for more usable front passenger space.

There’s no word on the sportier version of the Prius that we were promised when the Prius C was first unveiled. We’ve heard rumors of a hybrid-powered Scion FR-S in the pipeline, so a sporty Prius seems unlikely at this point. But if that changes, we’ll let you know immediately. 

Have you been thinking about getting a Prius or other hybrid? Why or why not? Tell us in comments.

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