Why The 2016 Toyota Prius is the World’s Most Attractive Alternative Energy Car

Do you find the 2016 Toyota Prius attractive? When you look at it do you see a beautiful car, or does it look just OK, or are you one of the people who’ve found serious fault in the hybrid’s new design?

Since photos began appearing last fall of the fourth-generation 2016 Prius Liftback, it has elicited some form of response, but by what may be the most relevant criteria possible it could be called the most attractive car in the world.

Attractive how? Attractive as in this is the alternative energy car more people vote for by that most meaningful metric of all – with their wallet.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Toyota Prius First Drive Review – Video

For those who’ve said Toyota “beat it with an ugly stick,” this may be dismaying, irksome or strike them as just plain wrong, but whether the Prius’ aesthetics are deemed lovely or not, more people take this one home than any other.

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So many buy it, in fact, that it has become its own sub-brand. Since it went on sale in January this year, Toyota has already booked 18,600 Prius sales including leftovers and the 2016.

This is 3,000 more units than Chevrolet recorded for the Volt all 12 months last year. By the end of March, it will have outsold what’s projected for the 2017 Volt this whole year.

Not to pick on the Volt, the Prius crushes every alternative energy car out there in that beauty pageant that means the most to the automakers – market acceptance.

It beats all alternative energy cars from Honda, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Nissan, Tesla, you name it.

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Last year, with sales declining at the end of its lifecycle, the Prius Liftback sold 114,000 units in the U.S. This year analyst Alan Baum projects 130,000 and for 2017 he projects 143,000 U.S. sales.

Since its Japanese launch in 1997, the Prius has accounted for more that 3.5 million units in the 90 markets around the world in which it is sold.

As a known quantity with proven record, and given the present growth rate of plug-in cars, it may continue to dominate for some time to come.

But Do You like It?

The Prius is a mish-mash of design elements taking it up a notch from the 2010-2015 Prius Liftback with a heavy smattering of Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle blended in.

Prius (left), Mirai (right).

Prius (left), Mirai (right).


Its aerodynamic coefficient of drag is a Tesla Model S equaling 0.24, and it rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture providing greater chassis stiffness, and sportier road manners. MPG is 52 combined for five trims, and an Eco trim offers 56 mpg.

That said, random 2016 Prius article comments around the ‘Net reveal it is easier to find people with disparaging remarks levied at the new hybrid flagship proffered by one of the world’s consistently most prosperous car companies.

Even among Prius fans, not all have been flattering. Following are some clipped – negative first followed by positive or close to positive.

The tail end looks like a poorly designed front-end that got tail-ended by a big truck. The stylists found a really big ugly stick the morning they started on the redesign.

 

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First the Mirai, now this. I actually thought the 3rd-gen Prius looked acceptable, but this is way too much.

 

Oh my gosh, seriously, what a horrible design. Inside and out both look tremendously bad.

 

Mirai FCV.

Mirai FCV.


 

Fire the entire design department responsible and castrate them so they don’t breed.

 

Clearly, the styling evokes the futuristic hot mess that is the hydrogen-powered Mirai, although it’s not nearly as hideous.

 

Say what you will about the overall design, but those taillights are pretty amazing. Welcome back, tailfins!

 

This probably won’t actually hurt sales amongst those were were already in the Prius camp, but it’s not gonna help convert anyone who was on the fence. Bad move on Toyota’s part for that reason, IMO.

 

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I’m evidently the only one who finds this car to be outright stylish (no, I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Prius either). The wheels still look too small, but the rest is filled with interesting and original details, inside and out.

 

While motor-jocks scoff at the Prius from ignorance, I accept it as a high performance vehicle: no other gets such MPG with so few concessions from the driver.

 

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It’s futuristic.

 

New looks always appear strange until folks get used to them.

 

Is there something wrong with me in that I’ve never given a hoot about what my car looks like? It’s transportation, nothing more and nothing less. I’m not trying to impress anyone with what I drive and I’m not trying to make a statement about who I am. Even if I were single I would be turned off immediately by someone who’d judge me on how flashy and attractive my car is.

 

Lots of fun has been poked about the new 2016 Prius. The new Prius is different, but being different does not mean that it’s a bad design. Toyota designed the Prius for the next five years. Doing so they stepped out of the comfort zone and designed the new Prius with design features that will be copied in the future.

 

Officially Attractive

If you are undecided, aesthetically challenged, or otherwise looking for some direction, Toyota also volunteers what you should think.

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It is “a dramatic new look,” says the automaker in official advertising copy:

Get ready to take everyone by surprise. The 2016 Prius is here with a striking new look that will shake up the status quo. Its sleek shape has been engineered to cheat the wind and win over the crowd. Stylish front and rear LED lighting helps this hybrid make a powerful statement. And available 17-in. alloy wheels ensure that this hybrid rolls in style every time it hits the streets.

 

It’s All Subjective

The new Prius is definitely improved as a vehicle by most critical measurements for which it has long been judged.

It’s 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, height is decreased by 0.8 inches and inside it’s roomy and functional. While bigger, just as quick with 0-60 around 10 seconds or so, it manages to be the most fuel efficient non-plug-in car sold in the U.S.

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As the Prius before it, and as one commenter said, it is believed the new look will grow on people and what appears jarring or incongruous to the sensibility of some will seem less so as it grows on them. Maybe.

Meanwhile people find other things to be attractive about it like its reliability record, its resale value, that it is a fourth-generation evolved car now 19 years on the market since the original 1997 Japanese version.

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Total cost of ownership is relatively good, and its price from the mid 20s to low 30s without subsidy is below the lower-30s average new car price, so it’s relatively mainstream priced.

Toyota did wish to make a design statement, and on that score, it seems to have succeeded. The Prius Liftback is not likely to be mistaken for anything else.

What do you think? Are you attracted to the world’s most attractive alternative energy car?