Toyota has introduced more members of its Prius family of vehicles at the NAIAS, bringing the number to four. Besides the Prius v, which will enter the market later this summer, there’s also the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, planned for introduction in the first half of 2012, and making up the quartet is the Prius c Concept, which is what the company tags as an inspiration for a future small entry-level hybrid.

It’s looking at the concept as a means of introducing a product that will come into the market sometime next year. While the current Prius has ushered hybrid technology into the mainstream, and the Prius v will provide the additional room and versatility for active families, the company isn’t forgetting those interested in a smaller hybrid at an entry price point, offering superior fuel economy.

Enter the Prius c Concept, with c representing a “city”-centric vehicle, which Toyota is hoping will offer urban appeal by the spade loads to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive Prius.

No details accompany the release, but the four-door hatch looks cutesy enough, in a kitschy sort of way – the position of the headlamps is rather reminiscent of the array found on the Fiat Multipla, and the rear door handles are integrated into the upper frame of the door in Alfa-esque style. You might find it all rather familiar – a previous version of the design was shown a year ago at Detroit 2010 and it was called the Toyota FT-CH Concept. The design has been refined since and brought closer to production, one supposes.

Inside, the futuristic cabin of the ‘concept based on a concept’ seats four, and mod cons include a touchscreen Start/Stop button, paddle shifters, a centrally-mounted, single-knob rotary-action control stick where a traditional gearshift lever would normally be located. Much of which – again – looks deja vu.

Oh well. In any case, Toyota says that the vehicle will pursue outstanding fuel efficiency in a compact package, while also providing a surprisingly spacious interior, and the market product will include many advanced technology features, including some offered on the current Prius.

The company is planning to introduce the c Concept as an additional Prius family member in the first half of 2012, and in the process bring about the most value-oriented hybrid available in the US, with the highest mileage of any “cordless” hybrid to boot.

Gallery after the jump.

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