After years of speculation, Toyota has officially announced plans to launch a Prius sub-brand.

After years of speculation, Toyota has officially announced plans to launch a Prius sub-brand. While details are limited, the first new model will be the 2012 Prius v.

Designed for "growing families with active lifestyles," the MPV is instantly recognizable as a Prius as it boasts familiar bodywork and standard 16-inch alloy wheels (17-inchers are optional). Despite the déjà vu styling, the car has a relatively large footprint as it measures 181.7 inches long, 69.9 inches wide and 62.0 inches tall. More importantly, the v rides on a 109.4 inch wheelbase which translates into a spacious cabin that has "generous rear legroom" and 34.3 cubic feet (971.2 liters) of cargo capacity behind the rear seats.

Toyota declined to provide a full break down of equipment, but options will include the Entune multimedia system, a Panoramic View moonroof (with power-retractable sun shades), LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and an Advanced Parking Guidance System.

Like the standard Prius, power will be provided by a 98 hp (73 kW / 99 PS) 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol engine that is backed up by an 80 hp (60 kW / 81 PS) electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This gives the car a combined output of 134 hp (100 kW / 136 PS), which enables the v to have a class-leading estimated fuel economy rating of 42 mpg city / 38 mpg hwy.

No word on pricing, but the Prius v will go on sale later this summer.

Check out the press release for additional information

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