Engine size will increase from the current 1.5 liters to a 1.8 liter four-cylinder for better performance. Improvements to the Hybrid Synergy Drive along with new battery technology are expected to up city gas mileage to 80 mpg.

Scheduled for 2008

Toyota’s current generation Prius hybrid, introduced for the 2004 model year, caused a sensation by providing exceptional gas mileage and a sleek, futuristic-looking body style. Now, the latest word from Japan is that Toyota will be introducing a next-generation Prius in 2008 with even more power and better fuel economy.

Engine size will increase from the current 1.5 liters to a 1.8 liter four-cylinder for better performance. Improvements to the Hybrid Synergy Drive along with new battery technology are expected to up city gas mileage to 80 mpg.

In Japan the Prius will be offered with a choice of front wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A solar panel on the roof to recharge the batteries and plug-in recharging are also being considered.

The new Prius is expected to keep its now-familiar low-drag shape, although the body will be all new, growing one inch in width, but getting one inch shorter in overall length.

This artist’s sketch gives an idea of what the new Prius might look like.

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