We are set to get our first look at the new Toyota Prius at the Melbourne International Motor Show this month with Australia becoming the second country to get an official glimpse of the new hybrid
The third generation hybrid will have more competition than ever, not only from long-time rival Honda but from a whole set of new hybrid vehicles expected to flood the market in the next few years.
To give credit where credit is due, Toyota has been the golden arch of hybrid cars and the latest Prius now offers even better fuel economy and ultra-low emissions.
So far the' big T' has sold found 1.2 million buyers for the Prius, of which 12,000 are in Australia.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner believes the reason the Prius is coming to Australia second only to the United States is an indication of how important Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology is in Australia.
"It is a real coup to be able to show the new Prius at Melbourne, well ahead of its local launch early in the second half of this year," Mr Buttner said.
The new Prius will be one of many new hybrid models unveiled by the Toyota/Lexus group in the next few years. Reports suggest Lexus will launch its own version of the Prius with a bigger motor and upgraded luxury, a logical process given the popularity of luxury hybrid cars.
"Early next year, Toyota will become the first local manufacturer to produce a hybrid vehicle when we release the hybrid Camry from our Altona plant in Melbourne's west." Mr Buttner said.
You can find out more on the new Prius here.
Although using a now larger 1.8-litre engine compared with the current car's 1.5-litre engine, not only has performance increased, but fuel economy has improved by about 10 percent.
As for the looks, the Prius is undoubtedly keeping to its tradition, although as Toyota says, it's now sharper, sportier and more aerodynamic - in fact it's so aerodynamic that the company claims it has the best aerodynamic profile of any mass-produced vehicle in the world.