Toyota unveils Prius SUV and supermini

Toyota is expanding the Prius hybrid brand with a youthful family wagon and is also working on a smaller city car.  The Prius V - for versatile - looks exactly as expected, with pumped- up bodywork that closely follows the look of the existing five-door hatch.

The end result is partly down to the need for aero efficiency, but also because it is the best way to package the existing hybrid synergy drive.

The V has an interior that's 50 per cent larger than the existing Prius, complete with a multi-function tail end that's suitable for families and hauling work.

The Prius C - for city-centric - is one of the few surprises at this year's Detroit show and proves that Toyota is serious about turning its hybrid family into a sub-brand, similar to the Scion family - including the Rukus in Australia - that works well as a youth destination in the USA.

The C-car is all about price and will lead the Prius family when it goes on sale in 2012. Only very sketchy details on the concept car, focussing on its size and price potential, are revealed.

The Prius V is certain for Australia but there is no news yet on the Prius C, even if Toyota Australia is taking a conservative line on the hybrid expansion.

"The Prius V is under consideration for the Australian market, however no final decision has been made as to when or if this specific model will be introduced here," says Mike Breen of Toyota Australia.

"The Prius C is still a concept, so we cannot make any comment on the future production of this vehicle."