The new Ford C-Max and Ford Grand C-Max. The European C-Max will be available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid in 2013.
Soccer moms seeking a hybrid to haul more than five passengers have, until now, been ignored by automakers. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid and other full-size SUVs offer third-row seating, but those vehicles are bigger, heavier and more expensive than many families require.
How about a new format, something like a hatchback with a higher seating position, sportier looks than a station wagon, and with third-row seating? Well, that description is a good fit for new hybrids from Toyota and Ford. Toyota will have its segment-bending hybrid on the market next year in the United States, but Ford believes the formula only works for Europe.
Last week, Toyota teased the first images of the Prius V—a new version of the quintessential hybrid morphed into a people-mover similar in size to the Mazda5 small minivan. The Prius V has a higher roof, and a broader rear end with upright window—and possibly a third-row of seats. Toyota will show off the Prius V at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. All we know so far is that it probably will have a 2.5-liter engine, and according to Toyota, it will offer “more comfort, style and versatility.”
The first images of the 2011 Toyota Prius V are starting to emerge.