2016puri001

A new member of the Toyota Prius family was teased last week ahead of the car’s debut at the 2016 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), which kicks off later today. The low roofline suggested that the model would likely be a variant of the regular Prius – most likely a Plug-in Hybrid – rather than a new version of the Prius c supermini or Prius v MPV.

However, the teaser showed a tail light design that was very different from the standard Prius, meaning that, if true, it would be the first time that the PHEV version will carry significant styling differences over the non-plug-in variant. Now, a Japanese car magazine has carried renderings of the upcoming vehicle that seem to corroborate this theory.

While the body itself is identical to the standard Prius, the front end is entirely new, with the boomerang-shaped headlights of the regular hybrid swapped for more conventional horizontal units with square LED modules – much like on the Honda NSX, funnily enough.

A striking full-length black graphic, clearly inspired by the JDM Crown Athlete, visually connects the headlights to form a more cohesive face, even though the slim low-set grille itself remains at the same place. Air inlets at the corners of the bumper carry the fog lights and the vertical LED daytime running lights inspired by the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle.

The rear end has also been redesigned with C-shaped tail lights joined by a horizontal light bar across the rear spoiler. These replace the vertical units on the regular Prius, although separate triangular reflector modules remain in the rear bumper, much like the Mirai. Although this writer has warmed up to the standard car’s more outlandish styling, there’s no doubt the PHEV model would make for a more handsome car.

Unlike on the outside, the interior of the PHEV is not expected to carry many changes over the standard Prius. Under the skin, the 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle VVT-i engine should get a bump in output from 97 hp and 142 Nm to 105 hp and 147 Nm, while the electric motors could produce as much as 90 hp, up from 71 hp.

Elsewhere, fuel consumption on the Japanese JC08 cycle is expected to go from 40.8 km per litre to 70 km per litre, while the range in EV-only mode could nearly double from 26.4 km on the current PHEV to 50 km.

GALLERY: 2016 Toyota Prius at 2015 Tokyo Motor Show