Next Toyota Prius to grow in every dimension

The Toyota Prius hybrid is highly successful in portraying the image of being environmentally concerned, whether it's for Toyota or whoever's behind the wheel. The next-generation car is due to bow in Detroit in January, and word comes that it will grow in every dimension while becoming even more fuel efficient.

The third-generation Prius will be powered by a 1.8-liter gasoline engine hooked up to an electric motor, according to Edmunds Auto Observer. The current powerplant includes a 1.5 liter engine and makes 110 combined horsepower. Sources have the next Prius will be 3 to 4 inches longer and about an inch wider, but not significantly heavier.

At the same time, the powerplant will be re-engineered to be more efficient and deliver a longer electric-only range, while occupying less space under the hood. The bigger engine will raise power from 75 to an even 100, with combined horsepower estimated at 160.

The increases in power will be combined with an increase in fuel economy, to the tune of about 13 percent albeit on Japan's outdated fuel cycle. To be fair, the old car was tested under the some conditions.

The next Prius will also underpin a Lexus hybrid variant with a bigger engine. The Lexus model is likely to feature Lithium-Ion batteries, which may also possibly be included in a future Prius, but not at launch, when it will sport nickel-metal hydride cells.

The report also hints at more body styles for the Prius.