In one fell swoop, Toyota has expanded its Prius hybrid family count to four, with the debut of the Prius c Concept and Prius v at the NAIAS in Detroit. The twinkly twosome join the existing third-generation Prius and Prius Plug-In Hybrid, which is already undergoing field evaluation in the US selectively.

The big ticket item is of course the Prius v, since the c Concept is still a ways away from market reality. Essentially, the Prius v – with the v standing for versatility – is a larger ZVW30 (or XW30, if you go by the current designation for it), sitting on the same platform and continuing to seat five, but offering over 50% more cargo space than the latter.

Ditto the pot, which is the same 2ZR-FXE 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle unit, offering 98 hp at 5,200 rpm and 142 Nm at 4,000 rpm; together with the permanent magnet synchronous motor electric drivetrain’s 80 hp, the combined total output is 134 hp, identical to the ZVW30’s.

Still, Toyota says the v is a new vehicle designed from the ground up, with a shape and style that has evolved from the current Prius rather than being an elongated version of it. Nonetheless, one can’t help but feel it’s evolution rather than revolution.

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Shape-wise, the v looks very much more rounded off than the ZVW30, but retains Prius cues well enough. The trapezoidal-shaped front features sharp-edged headlamps, wind-slipping aero corners for improved aerodynamics and an enlarged under grille, which all help create a unique design evolving from the current Prius.

At the back, the styling is highlighted by a refined backdoor panel, intricate combination taillights and a specially designed roof spoiler that improves air flow. Two wheel sizes are available – 16-inch as standard (with 205/60 series tyres), 17-inch as an option,

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Inside, things get a bit more of a different tack. Certainly, interior space is up, with improved occupant to occupant distance, especially fore-aft, and of course the cargo space volume is up from the existing Prius.

Elsewhere, the cabin features a more refined dashboard presentation, though the general layout is retained. The centre stack has become a whole lot imposing, and that bit busier. The driving controls – including the Push Button Start, parking switch, electronic shift lever, and driving mode selection – are distinguished by silver trim.

The Prius v features a Toyota-first, which is a resin Panoramic View moonroof with power retractable sun shades, providing an open atmosphere in the cabin with a 40% percent reduction in weight compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size.

Like the ZVW30, the Prius v has four driving modes (Normal, Power, Eco and EV), and as far as features go, there’s a smart key system with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and a reverse camera as standard fitment. Options include energy-efficient LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Advanced Parking Guidance System.

Other features and functions include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), ABS and EBD, and the car also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

When it goes on sale in the US in the late summer of this year, American Prius v models will come wearing an Entune multimedia system, which offers a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated and wireless upgradeable navigation, entertainment and information services.

Gallery of hi-res photos after the jump.

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