By Drew Johnson
Friday, May 24th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm
 
Our spy photographers have just sent us the first images of Toyota's next-generation 2015 Prius. The future version of the popular hybrid was spotted testing on the roads of southern California.
Previous rumors suggested that the next-gen Prius might ditch its iconic wedge-shape in favor of a more mainstream sedan-like design, but our spy shots indicate that won't be the case. Although still covered in heavy camouflage, this prototype's steeply raked windshield and flat rear glass section clearly show that the fourth-generation Prius will maintain the nameplate's familiar shape.

The 2015 Prius will ride on a new flexible architecture that will eventually underpin a number of Toyota vehicles, including the Camry, Corolla and RAV4. We've heard that the next Prius might adopt an electronic four-wheel drive system, but there are few clues to that on this particular test car.

Our photographers managed to snap a few shots of the 2015 Prius' interior, revealing a more conventional layout than the current car. The Prius' main gauge cluster will move from the dash to behind the steering wheel, with further instrumentation likely to be housed in the car's yet-to-be-finished center stack. Although it's not complete, an 'EV mode' button can be seen just below the HVAC controls.

As for the Prius' drivetrain, it remains unclear at this point if the hybrid will keep its current nickel-metal hydride batteries or switch to a lithium-ion setup. The car's 1.8L gas engine should carryover, albeit with some improvements.

The next Prius, which could be built is Mississippi, will eventually spawn c and v variants.

The 2015 Toyota Prius is expected to debut in either late 2013 or early 2014.