DANA POINT, CA – Toyota hopes to see a 30% increase in Prius liftback sales in the U.S. next year as it readies the fourth generation of the hybrid for launch in January.

“We’re very optimistic this car will do much better in the marketplace (and) appeal to a much broader range of consumers,” Bill Fay, Toyota Div. group vice president, tells media here during a ’16 Prius preview.

He sees mainstream midsize-sedan owners as a possible new audience for the revamped Prius, which Toyota says has better ride and handling that should broaden its appeal beyond green-car intenders.

Fay pegs next year’s sales of the Prius liftback, the car’s original body style and the only body style fully redesigned for ’16, at roughly 140,000 units.

Toyota is on track in 2015 to sell that many liftback and Prius V wagons combined.

Through October, Toyota sold 124,121 liftbacks and wagons, down 14.0% from the same period year-ago, WardsAuto data shows.

After trickling out information on the model throughout 2015, the No.1 Japanese automaker divulges full details of the new Prius here, including its grade strategy and more specific fuel-economy estimates.

The hybrid will be offered in six grades, with the base Prius Two the only one to use a nickel-metal-hydride battery.

The Prius Two Eco model, as expected, gets a lithium-ion battery, as do all remaining grades of the car: Prius Three, Prius Three Touring, Prius Four and Prius Four Touring.

Because of the lightness of the Li-ion and a relative lack of creature features, the Prius Two Eco is projected to get the best fuel economy.

Although falling shy of a rumored 60-mpg (3.9-L/100 km) figure, the Eco comes close in city fuel economy at an estimated 58 mpg (4.1 L/100 km). Prius Two Eco highway and combined fuel economy is projected at 53 and 56 mpg (4.4 and 4.2 L/100 km), respectively.

The base Prius Two with the NiMH battery and the Li-ion-equipped upper grades should return 54/50/52 (4.4-4.7-4.5 L/100 km) city/highway/combined, Toyota estimates.

Heather Willis, a member of the Prius sales and engagement team, says the 207.2V Li-ion battery is 40% lighter than the NiMH battery in the outgoing third-gen Prius, while also being 38.5% smaller.

The ’16 Prius Two base model’s 201.6V NiMH is 2.5% lighter and 13.7% smaller than the third-gen’s NiMH.

Toyota officials here say there is no cost difference between the ’16 Prius’s NiMH and Li-ion batteries, illustrated by the slim $500 gap between the Two ($24,200) and Two Eco ($24,700) grades.

The officials say the automaker is offering both battery types because it wants to be cautious about introducing Li-ions, which have been problematic for some automakers due to their faster rate of degradation. Willis says the global nature of the Prius also dictated the battery strategy, and she notes there are fewer recycling opportunities in some countries for Li-ions compared with NiMHs.

Fay expects most buyers will opt for the Prius Two, projecting it will account for 33% of the mix, while the Prius Two Eco should account for 10%-12% of total sales.

The Prius Three, Prius Three Touring, Prius Four and Prius Four Touring also are seen each having a 12% take rate.