Last month, Toyota broke the news of their intention to translate the wild success of the Prius into an entire brand with the first model to be the Toyota Sai. Pictures and specifications were scarce at the time, but Toyota did stress that the Prius Sai (Sai Prius?) would be a sister to the dedicated hybrid from Toyota’s luxury arm, the Lexus HS 250h. Perhaps suffering from a poorly cooked dish of Indian cuisine, we immediately conjured up images of a Prius sedan that shed the odd and, to be quite frank, ugly aesthetic of the current Prius for a sleek new design. Obviously we were sorely mistaken.
As Toyota promised, the 2010 Sai is virtually indistinguishable from the HS 250h and despite its official classification as a sedan, it could easily be mistaken for the 5-door Prius. Fortunately, the Sai’s bland design language is not the only feature it shares with the HS 250h as power is sourced from the same 2.4L four-cylinder/Hybrid Synergy drive combination found in the Lexus. Thanks to this notable performance boost, the Sai achieves roughly the same fuel economy as the Prius hatch (35mpg) while still producing a respectable combined 187 horsepower.
Pricing for the 2010 Toyota Sai has yet to be announced, but regardless of the final mark-up it will carry little relevance until Toyota confirms plans for a U.S. debut.