|Sorry, no photos of the Prius+ yet|
The Porsche Cayenne, a hulking brute of an SUV, was about as welcome as the proverbial fly in the punch bowl when it was introduced. Owners of the angry little Porsche 911s and Boxsters scowled at the very notion of their beloved marque being plastered on a glorified German farm wagon. (P.S., it's now the company's biggest seller).
But it's likely that storm of discontent was a mere spring shower compared to the reaction of Prius purists when confronted with the new seven-seat Prius+, set to be introduced at the Frankfurt auto show next month.
Yes, like other crossovers, the Prius+ has three rows of seats, one of which can be folded down to make room for large dogs, lawn furniture and what have you. A family hauler, in other words.
It's what marketing types do all the time and is generally called a brand extension. You have a little car that's fun, economical and appeals to young buyers?
Great, but what happens as those buyers age, have children and maybe even get married? Much as they loved their little Volkswagen, Mini or Porsche, they'll wind up in a Buick or other Hupmobile unless the love of their youth grows with them.
Thus we have VW Tiguans, Mini Clubmen and, now the Prius+. You loved your Prius when you lived in that loft in Chelsea? You'll love the Prius+ even more when you make the move to White Plains.
We have a press release here that has all the salient Prius+ details and measurements but it is, unfortunately, in metrics. Suffice to say, it's pretty big, at least as far as Priuses go.
It is still a hybrid at least. It sports a new compact lithium ion battery pack, stored between the front seats within the center console. So don't let little Mason spill his box drink in there.
It has a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor and is the first non-plug-in Toyota full hybrid to use the new compact lithium ion battery. Previous Toyota hybrids have used nickel-metal hydride batteries.