Toyota brand design chief says Prius needs massive restyling

Article by Anita Panait, on December 3, 2013

The fourth-generation Toyota Prius needs a “massive restyling,” Toyota brand's global design chief Simon Humphries told Automotive News at the Tokyo Motor Show. "It has to be a revolution this time around," Humphries said. He remarked that the last redesign was evolutionary, adding that when two evolutionary designs are implemented in a row, "things go wrong.”

Prius, featuring an aerodynamic triangular silhouette, is considered as one of the most unique designs on the road. However, the hybrid unit has been criticized for lacking sex appeal with its quirky looks. A redesign of the Prius is expected in early 2015.

The challenge now is how to make the Prius stand out in the increasingly jam-packed segment of gasoline-electric vehicles, including hybrid units from Toyota.

"The biggest challenge is that quite simply, when Prius was first initiated, there was only Prius as a hybrid,” Humphries told Automotive News." He remarked that now that more and more hybrids are being offered, he hopes that the next-generation Prius will be an “emotional hybrid car.”

Shaped using the wind tunnel, Toyota revealed that the design of the Prius is not just about brains but emotions as well. The reason being the designers want the new version to be able to deliver a greater sense when it comes to excitement. This sporty design expresses a feeling of forward motion as the inspiration was that of a runner on the starting blocks. Compared to the previous version, the highly unique roof peak was moved forward by 170 mm (6.7 inches). This has two benefits with the first being that it ensures that it remains to be ample headroom in the rear seat with the second that it lowers drag further.

One can also see edgy lines that go through the side beginning in the fenders on the front section. One such line is on top of the sill and sweeps up all the way to the rear fender. There is also an upper crease which transforms into the spoiler in the rear. A rocker panel meanwhile reveals that unique upward-facing light-catching surface which starts at the vehicle’s lowest part allowing it to put focus on the stable low stance. One feature that has managed to define the second generation of the Prius, and even the third generation, is dubbed as the “Triangle Silhouette.”

However for the new version, this feature has been reimagined. Meanwhile, the profile has been made sleeker and longer with the entire outline, bringing to mind a sporty shape. The hood has been changed as well as it is now lower with the name badge placed on the front now on the same height as that of the Scion FR-S sports car. Dominating the front fascia of the new Prius are the B-LED headlamps which have been fitted as standard. It also gives the Prius that unforgettable face. Through the use of automatic headlamp leveling, the beams are always focused on the road and ensure that drivers of oncoming vehicles are not blinded by the light.

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