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by Karl Peskett

Toyota adds another hybrid to its Prius family with the global debut of the Prius+, a seven seat MPV designed to have the lowest fuel consumption and emissions of any seven-seat vehicle on the market. It’s also the first Prius to feature a lithium-ion battery pack.

As a seven seater, it’s designed to be practical, with three separate split-folding second row seats and a 50/50 split-folding third row, meaning you can load in a pram but still use a sixth seat.

The Prius+ has been designed as a all new vehicle, from the ground up, rather than just a stretched Prius hatch. It has a panoramic sunroof to keep passengers enjoying the sunshine or the stars, and with its familiar shape and rear spoiler achieves a Cd 0.29 drag coefficient.

The compact design of the new lithium-ion battery pack has enabled it to sit flat, under the second row of seats, where it powers the Hybrid Synergy Drive.

Just like the current Prius, Prius+ uses three drive modes: EV mode allows the car to be driven on electric power alone for a few kilometres; ECO mode plays a fine balance between hybrid system efficiency and fuel economy; and POWER mode sharpens throttle response allows you to use the car’s full potential.

Speaking with CarAdvice today, Toyota Australia spokesperson Mike Breen said, “We are studying the suitability of these cars for the Australian market and expect to be in a position to make a decision later this year. “