Toyota realizes that most Prius-owners don’t purchase the vehicle because they are enamored with its design, and it is trying to change that.
After nixing the original design of the nearly complete fourth generation Prius, Toyota has delayed production of the Prius’ newest iteration until the end of 2015 – a decision that gives the company ample time to transform the vehicle into a sleeker, sportier, and more stylized version of its former self.
Although Toyota is maintaining an air of secrecy about design details, the company aims to overhaul the Prius’ less-than-cool persona and inspire consumers to purchase the vehicle for more than just practical reasons.
“We want designs that feel like a fresh breeze and have impact,” a Toyota insider told Automotive News.
Toyota also plans to more clearly differentiate between the designs of the standard Prius and the Prius Plug-In by making the standard Prius sportier and more youthful and the plug-in more traditional and conservative.
According to Automotive News, one Toyota insider did hint that the Prius hatchback would take after the Toyota C-HR Concept, using the company’s new diamond architecture styling theme, and taking inspiration from the Concept’s muscular wheel arches, large lower grille, and sharply tapered glasshouse.
In addition to a more stylized look, the new Prius will also utilize new features and technologies. Modular vehicle architecture will give the Prius a sportier stance and allow for a roomier interior design, and the next-generation hybrid system will make the vehicle more fuel efficient, promising the most thermally efficient gasoline engine yet. Toyota is also increasing the use of lightweight body parts in the Prius which will help increase fuel economy, and is maintaining the third generation’s split-level rear window to maximize aerodynamics.
The transformation of the Prius reflects an overall shift in Toyota’s design philosophy as the company aspires to create designs that evoke a stronger emotional response among car buyers. As a result of these substantial institutional changes, the Prius is entering a new and important phase that could extend its long reign as the world’s top selling hybrid.