Prius Minivan To Debut in March 2011, Named "Prius Alpha"

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Danny, May 24, 2010.

  1. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder
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    The Prius MPV, or micro-minivan compared to today's standards, that PriusChat first told you about last month will be named the Toyota Prius Alpha, debut in March 2011, and a seven-seat configuration will feature lithium-ion batteries. According to Motor Trend, who it looks like is pulling their information from a Japanese auto mag, the lithium-ion batteries will be 1/3 the weight of the nickel-metal pack used in the 3rd generation Prius. The Alpha's overall length will be stretched by about 12 inches compared to the current Prius hatchback and be widened under an inch. No word in Motor Trend's article on whether the 7-seat configuration will be Japan-only, or if it will make its way to the US. The overall length of the Prius Alpha would be longer than the Mazda 5, so I don't see any reason why Toyota would not bring at least a 6-seat configuration to North America. The 5-seat version of the Prius Alpha will use nickel-metal hydride batteries to save on cost. Motor Trend's source also says that the Alpha will start from 2.5 million yen, which is $27,625 in US dollars. The all-new Prius Alpha will also use the same 1.8 liter engine used in the 3rd generation Prius, with a combined horsepower of 135 ponies. MPG numbers probably won't rival the Prius hatchback's 50 MPG due to the increased length and weight, but I would expect it to top 40 MPG. Source: Motor Trend
     
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  2. Luis138

    Luis138 Angel Rat

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    I don't know how I feel about a "sub-family" of Prius. I want to keep my Prius unique. They should had done a hybrid mini-van without the Prius name.

    Luis
     
  3. Linda

    Linda

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    That photo looks an awful lot like the current Matrix in the U.S. -- with tiny seats in the rear cargo area. :)
     
  4. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    Alpha !!!

    Hopefully this becomes the new soccer mom trend. Despite the beautiful looks of the Toyota Sienna, you've gotta admit .. that thing is the size of an SUV!
     
  5. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I like the name. Alpha as in alpha male? It has the same design theme and new wheels.
     
  6. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    I think we now know the Prius sub-brand naming scheme. They'll just name them in order: alpha, beta, smashed potata, delta, theta, see ya layta. . .

    I have friends who have been asking me for years when a hybrid minivan would hit the market. They like the hybrid part - they even like the Prius - but with the child seats, the soccer stuff, the pets, and whatnot, they want the larger vehicle. As much as I'm not a huge fan of a minivan, I have to admit that I think it's better than an SUV.

    My personal ranking is:
    1) sedan
    2) station wagon
    3) minivan
    4) SUV

    So perhaps the Alpha isn't a station wagon but if it can sway enough people from getting yet another SUV it's a step up in my mind.

    With the larger size, they will HAVE to increase the motor size.
    I have to wonder about battery size and potential.
    Would they consider losing the spare tire to put in batteries?
    What're the chances there are motors specific to individual wheels like the Highlander?

    Too many questions. They will most likely reveal all the details at - or near - the Detroit show so we have until the end of the year to speculate.
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I like the concept but the color is wrong. Adding a foot; taking out the center console; and it could be good, 6-seater. Still, I would have expected to see more length and a little taller towards the rear. Also, I would prefer sliding rear door(s). We had a single-side, sliding door in our previous van and the extra large access compensated for not having driver side access.

    We have an aging population so I would recommend some of the early ads showing special access including mobile chairs.

    Bob Wilson
     
  8. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Hope the have the sliding door for the 7 passenger version.

    It would be nice to see the interior shots.
     
  9. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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  10. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    In Asian market this is called a tall wagon, basically a station wagon with a tall roof.
    A mini van must have a flat floor from the rear bumper to the back of the driver seat.
     
  11. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Here, the defining characteristic of a minivan has always been sliding side doors... since that is a feature unique to vans.
    .
     
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Too bad they didn't name it Estima - II.

    Bob Wilson
     
  13. joe1347

    joe1347 Active Member

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    Well if toyota can leak a Prius minivan, how about leaking a Prius coupe?
     
  14. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    I agree that sliding rear door is another unique characteristic of minivans, plus seating for seven.
    Unfortunately the Prius Alpha does not have the sliding door nor the flat floor, it cannot be called a minivan nor a microvan.

     
  15. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    I'm VERY dissapointed it's the not the Estima mini-van. This is too small to be of much use to me anyway. A mini-van should have sliding doors and removable seats when you have to haul things besides people.
     
  16. F512M

    F512M Member

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    Seems small. I guess I'll wait before I'll comment anymore.
     
  17. bedrock8x

    bedrock8x Senior Member

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    Another characteristic of a minivan that becomes standard after the original short wheel base Chrysler minivan is the capability of putting a 4x8 plywood on the floor with the rear door closed.

     
  18. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Super Moderator
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    Gimme 3 rows and still be a safe car, and I'll buy one ;-)
     
  19. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    This is off topic, slightly. But I don't understand why Toyota, Ford, GM...doesn't adapt (steal) the Honda Fit magic seats idea.

    The fold up seats of The Fit really are great. I don't think something as obvious as foldable seats could be patented. In either Mini-Van or hatchback, I'd love to see some type of adaptation of fold up seats. I know the battery pack limits some options, but since it really is just a matter of making the rear seats an open bottom bench seat...which creates more storage space...I think it should be doable.
     
  20. Boo

    Boo Boola Boola Member

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    At 175 inches long, the Prius hatchback was already the same length as the original minivans, Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager, which were subsequently called the short wheelbase models (to distinguish them from the new long wheelbase models, Grand Caravan/Grand Voyager).

    I think that making the Prius minivan 12 inches longer than the Prius hatchback is a mistake. At 187 inches long, the Prius minivan is another example of minivan bloat.
     
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