TOKYO -- Flashier styling? Check. Better fuel economy? Check.
Sportier driving? TBD.
Toyota Motor Corp. popped the hood of its fourth-generation Prius last week, detailing a litany of impressive high-tech improvements to the flagship hybrid on everything from safety to comfort.
Yet despite promising much livelier driving dynamics, the car's engineers steered clear of one key specification: horsepower.
On paper at least, the fourth-generation Prius appears to lack the powertrain punch of the outgoing car, a vehicle hardly known for zippy acceleration.
The re-engineered Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder, 1.8-liter engine delivers a maximum output of 72 kilowatts, while a more compact electric motor delivers another 53 kw.
That compares with about 73 kw. for the current engine and about 60 kw for the current motor. The combined net hybrid powertrain output of the third generation is 134 hp.
The new Prius is also 22 pounds heavier, so it may not benefit from a better power to weight ratio.
Koji Toyoshima, chief engineer for the next Prius, said the company would disclose total powertrain horsepower closer to the car's December launch in Japan. It arrives in the U.S. early next year.