The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid may be several months away from its 2012 release, but it's already headed to the top of our wanted list thanks to some lust-worthy economy figures and a cracking price tag. Yeah, we said 'lust' and 'hybrid' in the same sentence -- deal with it.
The new car will go on sale for £31,000, Toyota recently confirmed. After the £5,000 government electric car grant, this reduces the cost to £26,000, which is in line with -- and in some cases cheaper than -- many other electric cars.
It's still pretty pricey in comparison to a bog-standard petrol car, but uber-low running costs should make up for this. The Plug-in Hybrid has an electric-only range of 'more than 14 miles', which should be enough to get most of us to the shops and back without having to visit the pumps.
After the car's battery drops below the minimum acceptable level for EV-only driveage, it can be recharged via an ordinary household or dedicated EV electrical outlet in around 90 minutes. If there's no plug handy, it can be driven for hundreds of additional miles using a combination of its 1.8-litre VVTi petrol engine and what's left of its battery pack, with refuelling possible at ordinary petrol stations.
The car has yet to be independently tested, but Toyota reckons the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will emit 49g/km of carbon dioxide and achieve 134.5mpg fuel economy on the combined cycle, which is a major improvement on the standard car's 79g/km CO2 emissions and 74.5mpg economy.
The car is expected to go on sale in the first half of 2012. Start saving your pennies and watch for a full review in due course.