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What to expect from the next model year Prius

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  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Hard to really tell from the picture but it sure doesn't look like much of a trunk.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's the same size as the current Prius with a new nose, slightly more raked profile, different sheetmetal on the sides and what appears to be a 'lifted butt'. It's the interior and what's under the hood that will be significantly different.
  • From the sales side, the hatchback configuration is one of the best points to differentiate the Prius from just about any other fuel efficient vehicle on the road. The following are true stories of what can be put inside a Gen2 Prius...
    ..43" flat screen TV, golf clubs, briefcase and two adults
    ..6 surfboards and 3 surfers
    ..12 sixfoot folding tables and 40 folding chairs
    ..fully assembled bicycle and golf clubs
    ..3 adults and six pieces of luggage for a summer overseas
    ..I'm sure that there are more...

    And then with all that it still gets 35-45 mpg fully loaded.


    Or in short, the current Prius and the new model can survive a trip to a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club. ;) (Every time I go to Costco I saw a large number of Prius cars in the parking lot.)
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    VERY COOL news

    This is very cool news.

    Today at the North American International Automotive Show, in Detroit, Toyota announced that later this year, it will release a version of the Prius hybrid car whose battery can be recharged from an ordinary power outlet. By moving up the delivery data of the plug-in vehicle--originally scheduled for 2010--Toyota has slipped ahead of GM, whose Chevy Volt plug-in is promised for late 2010.

    Toyota's fidelity to hybrid technology marks a sharp contrast with rivals such as Renault and Mitsubishi, which are planning to leapfrog the hybrid in favor of fully battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs). At the auto show, several U.S. automakers appear to be leaning in the same direction, with Ford Motor, in particular, vowing to release an EV commercial van next year and an EV commuter car in 2011.

    Even Toyota is hedging its bets, presenting a battery-powered EV based on its four-seat iQ and promising to begin selling a similar EV commuter car in the United States by 2012. But Toyota explicitly ruled out abandoning hybrid technology anytime soon, issuing a definitive statement on the eve of the Detroit show calling hybrids its "long-term core powertrain technology."

    The 2010 Prius available to consumers will still come equipped with a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery pack and no plug, but Toyota says that it is "plug-in ready"--designed and engineered to accept a lighter and more energy-dense lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged from the grid. Toyota will also produce 500 lithium-powered plug-in Priuses for its commercial and government leasing customers starting later this year. Toyota-Panasonic joint venture Panasonic EV Energy will supply the lithium batteries.

    The fact that the plug-in battery pack can be swapped in for an ordinary hybrid battery suggests that it will be relatively small, and that the plug-in Priuses will have a smaller electric-only range than the Volt and the Chinese-built BYD F3DM. The plug-in vehicles that Toyota has been testing in Japan, France, California, and the United Kingdom are Priuses equipped with a second NiMH battery pack that gives them less than 10 miles of electric-only range.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes I agree wholeheartedly.

    It is clear that Toyota ( and Honda and Ford ) have decided to stick to a strategy of selling high volume affordable hybrids to a wide range of clients. These 3 were the first to market and they've staked out their claims to the center where the largest volumes are. This is the place where the most potential profits are located and where they have the best opportunity to maintain a significant presence.

    The other makers now have to maneuver around these first three somehow. GM is trying to outflank them with it's E-Flex and the Volt but IMO it's longshot and very risky. While GM can end up making a spectacular vehicle how many can actually step up and buy one. In the meanwhile Toyota/Honda/Ford will be selling much much greater volumes of hybrids and actually generating cash rewards.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    So what has Toyota done to improve the poor handling inherent with the older version of the Prius? The new one is essentially the same size with a fraction of a second better 0-60 MPH. We won't know about the MPG until a few people start reporting. Are you going to upgrade that old beat up one of yours. I think you have gotten your monies worth out of it. Do you think Toyota will start shipping the new ones until they sell down the huge inventory of the 08 & 09s sitting on the lots. I would be curious if the dealers are having people drive them every 3-4 weeks to protect the batteries.

    I don't think you will get any new converts to the 2010 Prius. It looks essentially the same and will appeal to the same crowd. It is hard to argue with the fact that people that have them love them.

    I'm still waiting for the plug-in Sequoia Hybrid that gets 42 MPG combined. California will get their way with the new EPA and that is the mandate for fleet mileage. I need to get my last final diesel SUV before the curtain falls.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Just hit 100,000 mi in 37 mo's. Only got 150,000 left to go... :shades: My buddy who also posts here just hit 226,000 miles on it's 5th anniversay...when he gave me his order for Prius No 3. He wants the first one we get as long as it's black and doesn't have leather.

    It appears that the frame is underpinned by a tubular stabilzer and it runs on wider tires. There is also an option for even wider lower-profile 17" tires. The peak of the roof is moved back over the back seat. The vehicle is about 100# heavier with a larger engine and a few additional amenitites on the standard versions.

    The big difference is that is will be somewhat quicker and go from 46 mpg EPA combined to about 50 mpg EPA comined. They went with the larger engine to make it more capable in fuel efficiency at the highway at higher US-Interstate-type speeds. The 1.8L is better mated to the size and weight of the vehicle than the 1.5L was.

    The additional drivetrain features ( EV, ECON, PWR ) will only improve the power or the fuel economy.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    We're the largest seller of the hybrids in our market by a factor of 3 or 4. They continue to move, just slower, thanks for your concern ;) . Actually we had about 30 a month ago but that's down to about 8 now. But like every other survivor we're just looking to cut inventory as well as fixed costs. I'm guessing that this will be the strategy throughout all of 2009. If GM's recent estimate is accurate then instead of 16 MM units we may be approaching 10 MM units.....with a 3 MM unit inventory carryover... bad juju there. That means that production may only reach 7-8 MM units in 2009.

    2009 is going to be a downer for everyone in every product line.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    That is about one a day. I would say that is better than most dealers out here. I used that new View Inventory feature here on Edmunds. It listed 259 Prius at the 8 dealers here in San Diego. Seems like a lot. Maybe it is not that many. I do not see any 2008 models left so that is better than a lot of dealers. Mossy has a Prius listed at $18,314 MSRP. I did not think they had any under $20k. Are they getting ready to compete with the Insight?

    http://www.edmunds.com/inventory/vin.html?year=&make=Toyota&model=Prius
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I don't think that the new Prius is going to compete directly against the Insight II very much, they're directed toward two different demographic segements. The Insight II is a Honda Fit with a $1500 hybrid option. It's a level or two below the Prius in size, amenities, performance and fuel economy.

    But...it should be a huge hit because it will fall right in the sweetest part of the buying public's vision. At $18500 to $20500 it will appeal to a lot of buyers who have passed on the hybrids up until now. I think that it will do more damage to vehicles like the Corolla, Mazda3, Focus, Cobalt and non-hybrid Civic in this price range because it will get a real world 42-43 mpg day-in and day-out. That's well above the 33-ish mpg that those other non-hybrids get. The vehicle is very very tight in back. But I haven't driven one yet and nobody except the reviewers has even seen one.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    Since Honda doesn't offer a hatchback Civic in the U.S. and the Insight LX is reported to start "well under $18k", I think the car the Insight could do the most damage to sales-wise is the Civic. Then next, the Fit, which in base trim with AT is less than $2000 lower than the Insight LX.

    I do think some people will cross-shop both the Insight and Prius, just because they are looking for a hybrid hatchback that can seat at least 2 kids in back. I will probably shop both when I get our next long term car in 3-4 years. It remains to be seen whether that cross-shopping will happen in any numbers and if there will be any price pressure on the base price of the Prius because of it.
  • kdhspyder wrote: The Insight II is a Honda Fit with a $1500 hybrid option.

    This is not quite true. The Insight II is larger than the Fit by 11" in overall length and 2" in wheelbase. It has a completely different body also.

    The rear seat is where the Prius vs. Insight show the greatest difference in size with the Prius offering mid-size rear seat room and the Insight is clearly compact.

    I believe the Insight will bleed off significant Prius sales with it's $6K price advantage. Overall performance is similar and real world MPG will likely be very close.

    The areas the Prius beats the Insight is one level in size (only an issue if you regularly carry 3 people or more) and amenities (which for $6K in the 2009 economy is hard to justify).

    Honda has beaten Toyota in this new game. While Toyota's refinement will pay off with some buyers, I bet most will opt for the true value that this Honda offers.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Again these appeal to two different demographic segment. Frankly there are not that many $20000 buyers stepping up to a Prius @ $24000 - $26000 and certainly not at $29000. The very-frugal or just-starting-out buyers don't want to or can't spend $25K for any vehicle. So til now they've opted NOT to buy the Prius at all. This is the group that will embrace the Insight II.

    The current buyers of the Prius are an entirely different demographic with entirely different expectations. They expect to pay $25000 - $35000 or more for their vehicles and they are capable of doing that. Others like me are not interested in a compact vehicle at any price or fuel saving.

    The two will be cross-shopped but the differences will be clear shortly. Those who will naturally gravitate toward the Insigt II will do so and those want something more will gravitate toward the Prius. The Insight II is somewhat under the current Gen Prius but significantly behind the Gen 3 Prius.

    But since this is such a huge market there is room for both easily. As you note though the pricing differences in this current economy are significantly in Honda's favor. If everybody gets religion and damn the amenities then the Insight will shine even brighter.

    But then there's 2,3 and 5 yrs from now. Honda is limited by its technology ( for now ) to smaller more basic vehicles. It can't really scale it's IMA up to midsized vehicles very well. At some point in the near future the market will stabilize and return to a form of normalcy.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    I think you are fogetting that there are many new-car buyers who are looking for a reliable, quality car that provides room for 4, the utility of a hatchback, and high fuel economy. And they would like to spend as little as possible on that car--even more important in our current economic times. In the past, their choices were more limited. In fact, Prius was the ONLY hybrid option. Soon there will be two hybrid options. Either car could meet these requirements. But one will be significantly less expensive than the other, meaning the payback time will be much less.

    There are also buyers who need the extra rear legroom of the Prius or want some other feature only the Prius offers, e.g. its electronic gagetry. And they are willing to pay for it. They won't cross-shop the Insight. They may cross-shop the Camry Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid, if they can live with a sedan.

    As for the "huge market"... it isn't that huge. It was just over 300,000 vehicles for 2008, with the first half of 2008 being excellent for hybrids, with super-high gas prices and the economy not yet fully tanked. Now in 2009, the economy is really in the dumpster and gas prices remain low. Prius was over half of the hybrid market in 2008. Honda is shooting for 100,000 Insight sales per year. That's a lot of sales to absorb in a terrible market. I think many of those sales will be taken away from the Prius.
  • kdhspyder wrote: Others like me are not interested in a compact vehicle at any price or fuel saving.

    I agree with this statement but many use Hybrids as their 2nd car. Myself? The Insight is too small for me being a single owner of one vehicle. I would consider a Prius but can't justify $26-28K for the gain over a non-hybrid at $20-$22K.

    My brother-in-law however, planned to buy an '09 Prius and now is having second thoughts. The price advantage of the Insight is too great to ignore. With similar equipment levels we're talking about over $6K. That's a lot of money to all but the wealthiest people out there.

    Time will tell but Toyota is not nearly as well positioned with their product mix as they were just one year ago. They will fill that gap by 2011 with an entry level hydrid and a much improved Yaris. They are too good a company not to give the market what it wants.

    P.S. I believe we'll see a lot of HS250h's on the road by 2011 if they can keep under $35K loaded.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Here is a pretty fair write up by two Canadian writers when they were invited by Honda to test out the new Insight in Arizona.

    Canadian view of the Insight II

    Apparently from background ingo provided by Honda the Insight II is specifically targetting the younger demographic which might otherwise buy a conventional vehicle in the $15000 - $20000 range.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,715
    And I'm sure many in that target demographic will take a look at it. Just as many outside the target demographic will buy one. Ever sell a Corolla to someone over 50 years old, even though they are not in the target demographic for the Corolla?

    Maybe what is needed is a Prius vs. Insight discussion.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Do hybrid buyers even care about quality parts?

    Indeed, Honda has radically reduced the quality of materials in the new Insight. The interior cloth trim - seats, doors, etc. - is incredibly thin, the flimsiest such cloth seen in a Honda since an early '90s Civic.

    Ditto the roof liner, which gives new meaning to the term "rat's fur." The interior's plastics are not much better. Though the dashboard is reminiscent of the Civic's futuristic gauge display, its plastic surround is not nearly of such high quality.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This has been my contention all along. The price of the Insight II controls what the content will be. In order to appeal to the pricing demographic at which it's targetted, the content has to be modified downward. No manufacturer can put a $25000 vehicle into an $18500 MSRP and expect to remain in business. To sell a vehicle with an MSRP of $18500 including a $1500 hybrid option the vehicle has to be a non-hybrid with a $17000 MSRP.

    Think of which vehicles today have a $17000 MSRP, the Aveo, the Yaris, the Fit and the Versa. These are all a class below the Cobalt, Focus, Corolla, Civic and Sentra in content, materials, performance, smoothness and quietness.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    The misconception is that a little car costs less to build than a big car. The difference in the cost of a fender for a big PU truck and a Corolla is probably just in the cost of the metal. Same labor and tooling cost. So to sell a Yaris for $12k as my son in law bought, something has to be eliminated. For those that have to have a hybrid and cannot afford more than $20k the Insight will probably be the ticket. I think I would rather have more plush and forgo the economy if I were to buy a sub $20k car. Of course that is unlikely.
  • ...smoothness and quietness.

    That is where Toyota will be 2 notches above the Insight. The Insight EX w/navi for $23K could hardly be considered "de-contented" as far as options go and the performance will be similar also.

    NVH and interior materials are a different story. Honda smells a victory here and will get with many buyers who aren't that picky (read under 30). Those willing to pay for refinement will stick with the Prius because it's clearly a lot more car - you just have to be willing to pay for it.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Nikkei today reporting that Toyota is going to keep the Gen 2 ( for how long ) and decontent it in order to lower the price to compete with the Insight.

    The new Gen 3 then will launch as planned with prices in the $25000 - $35000 range. Interesting but it makes sense in Toyota's marketing scheme. Today the Corolla covers the backside of the Camry and the Yaris covers the backside of the Corolla. Thus the Camry doesn't have to be discounted to fight every new player trying to buy into the market.

    The Gen 2 Prius if it kept in production for this weirdo year of 2009 would protect the backside of the Gen 3 being priced from $20000 - $25000.

    The gentlemanliness of the hybrid market is breaking down with the vehicle makers going after one another now... Insight vs Prius vs HCH...FFH vs TCH... Vue 2-Mode vs HH and FEH.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    The Gen 2 Prius if it kept in production for this weirdo year of 2009 would protect the backside of the Gen 3 being priced from $20000 - $25000.

    Using the Edmund's View Inventory feature, Noticed one dealer here has a 2009 Prius with MSRP of $19,314. I did not think they sold any under $20k.
  • Using the Edmund's View Inventory feature, Noticed one dealer here has a 2009 Prius with MSRP of $19,314. I did not think they sold any under $20k.

    By spring we should low-optioned '09 Prius' at $20K regularly. Toyota going the route kdhspyder suggested above makes this all but certain.

    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!

    If gas prices go up for any reason, I would not expect the current prices to stick. It would not surprise me to see the Feds and some states tack on 50 cents a gallon while prices are low. I don't anticipate lower prices than right now. If money loosens up they will also start selling causing the prices to rise. Unlike our domestic builders. Toyota will just shut down production till the current glut is sold.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    If I can find a nicely equipped '09 Prius for $22K this summer - it's sold!

    Since the 2010 Prius II will list for $22K you should be able to find a new one in your range.
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