Saturday, May 22, 2010

The New Toyota Prius

In uncertain times, the multitudes need a hero. In a year when the spot price of light, sweet crude is an hourly news event, the Toyota Prius seems a likely candidate. A new Prius hybrid arrives in 2009 to fight the forces of OPEC and the evil oil empire. If the price of gasoline hits $5 at the pump, buyers are sure to give it a very bigHowdy Doody welcome.

Toyota, a ship so buttoned down it makes the recently departed William F. Buckley Jr. look like Huey Newton, has no plans for radical upheaval. The current Prius is a sellout in all its five-door jelly-bean frumpiness, so the car scheduled to be revealed at the 2009 Detroit auto show will be tweaked mainly to answer minor customer beefs with the current jelly bean. It will be slightly larger, a bit more spacious inside, and trimmed with more luxury options. The engine will grow and become a tad snappier in its sprint while returning even better fuel economy. A plug-in model should arrive in 2010.

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