The smash hit second-generation Toyota Prius was released in late 2003. Believe it or not, that’s almost four years ago. In the car world, that means it’s time for a design refresh. For a number of months, there have been hints and rumors about the technology for the third-generation Prius, including the use of lithium batteries and some limited plug-in capacity. But for the market, the bigger question might be, “What will it look like?” The current Prius design tends to quickly separate Prius-haters from hybrid-huggers.
Toyota answered the question—in an obscure way—when the company unveiled the Toyota Hybrid X at the 2007 Geneva International Motor Show. The press release described the concept in grandiose terms: “It will create a new design language for hybrid models while also acting as a technology showcase for future hybrid cars.” This is purely a design exercise; no details about the hybrid system, fuel economy, or performance.
Squint past the design embellishments always used in concept vehicles—like the bumper to bumper see-through roof—and you get a glimmer of the shape of things to come for the Prius. Take a look at these images and let us know what you think?