Will Toyota Prius Hybrid Change Its Shape For 2015?

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2012 Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept

2012 Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept

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Love it or loathe it, everyone can recognize the Toyota Prius.

Since the second generation model arrived in the 2004 model year, the aerodynamically-honed one-box shape has always shouted "Prius". So much so that many consider Honda's Insight hybrid to deliberately feature similar styling.

Only when a new Prius arrives, likely in 2014 as a 2015 model-year car, it may look very different.

According to Bloomberg, Toyota is currently considering whether to give the Prius an all-new look, to widen its appeal.

Various generations of Prius may have helped Toyota's hybrid sales fly past 4 million units, but for some the traditional Prius shape is just a little too challenging.

Chris Hostetter, Toyota's U.S. group vice president for strategic planning, said that Toyota is still choosing from "a menu" of possible designs for the next Prius.

"One of the avenues we're exploring right now is to evolve it, and the other is to really evolve it" he told Bloomberg in an interview. "Maybe our architecture has been a little bit similar for the last two generations."

Neither Hostetter or Toyota have elaborated on these comments, but it points towards a car that may be more conventional in appearance--without sacrificing the Prius' high-tech appeal.

Several other carmakers have recently proven it's possible to design an aerodynamic shape--necessary for excellent economy--yet still avoiding a Prius-like silhouette.

The Mercedes A Class we tested last week is a traditional two-box hatchback, with typical Mercedes details like a large grille and chunky lines--yet has a drag coefficient as low as 0.26. Clever surfacing, an aerodynamic underbody and vents to direct airflow around the front wheels all contribute, without losing the car's individuality.

Toyota has previously hinted that the next Prius will be influenced by vehicles like the NS4 Plug-In Hybrid concept shown at Detroit in January, or the FT-Bh concept which debuted at Geneva in March.

Either way, it looks like the 2015 Toyota Prius could lose those love-it hate-it lines...


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Comments (5)
  1. Perhaps it will get a new look, but don't be fooled by whatever concept they may reveal. They never look anywhere close to that. The 3rd gen was supposed to be radically different.

  2. The prius style is part of the brand identity and as the Prius is now a top selling vehicle, messing with the brand identity is just foolish. Toyota needs to extend the brand, and extend the technology. They've started with the Prius C, V and PIP. They need to look at extending the synergy drive as an option into all of their products (Camry, Avalon, Highlander, Rover) and look at an Prius Mini-van and Plug in options on the Entire family. If they want new style, let the Other models experiment with that. Just keep growing the Hybrid synergy drive.

  3. Good, obvious comments but ignorant on some:
    1) Agreed that the general shape of the primary "liftback" Prius should be evolved rather then discarded for a sedan, however sleek looking, design. Utility is lost as well w/ a sedan.
    2) Yes add to the Prius family a sleek looking Prius variant such as a sporty two door hatch. That would help diversify the Prius family.
    3) Synergy drive is already on the Camry, Avalon, and Highlander hybrid models now...hopefully coming to the Sienna soon...its been promised for years.
    4) It was reported some months ago, on this site I think, that all Prius family members would have a plug-in option or have it standard by 2014. Lets hope this happens sooner then later.
    5) All electric Prius by 2015 too?

  4. In any case, I hope they keep the same loadbay capacity. I have always loved the ability to put lots of things in the back of the Prius.

  5. I think it would look great with something closer to a Volt or a Euro-spec civic. Sporty, but still aerodynamic. Just my opinion

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