By on July 31, 2008

Um, that\'s the new Prius, right? (courtesy shots of what could credibly be a new Toyota Prius have finally surfaced. The next-generation of "America's Car" looks bigger than the previous iteration, but that's about it in terms of differences. The new Prius sports styling that is nearly identical to the outgoing model, with only a tightened greenhouse to spoil the rear vision freshen up the looks. Of course it will be more powerful and more efficient (according to Toyota). The spy photographers who sent these shots in to Nextautos speculate that the larger dimensions mean wagon and convertible versions could be forthcoming. Though these possibilities would be good news for ToMoCo's ambitions to build the Prius brand, they'll be sure to have their hands full just supplying demand for the standard version. Although, with Honda's unnamed Prius-fighting sedan in the offing, Toyota might want to differentiate the Prius from its blatant knockoffs.

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38 Comments on “Meet The New Prius, Same As The Old Prius...”

  • avatar

    Ahh well. Even if it does face stiff competition from Honda, we still know that it is going to kick the shit out of the Chevrolet Volt.

    But really, I think people will still continue to buy the Prius purely for the name. (Hey, I drive a Prius) The same reason why people buy clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch.

  • avatar

    I know! I was checking out these pics the other day and I was totally bummed – I was hoping it would be a little more radical, like the concept X or whatever it was called. Regardless, it’ll sell like crazy and I might just end up with one in my driveway by the time 2010 is over, so no complaining…

  • avatar


    I guess “Why fix it if it ain’t broken” applies here.

  • avatar

    Does it have to be that ugly to have that mpg?

  • avatar

    I’m guessing the front black part over the grille area is a bra, but I did a double-take thinking it was an Audi.
    Does it have to be that ugly to have that mpg?
    I think so. I think they can make them uglier for greater gains in fuel efficiency.

  • avatar

    Does it have to be that ugly to have that mpg?…

    Agreed. Why must cars like this scream “High Tech High Mileage”…I would prefer to keep it looking like a regular car…and thats coming from someone with a relatively “green” outlook. Hate all the Hybrid markings on the GM trucks, too. I guess they were looking for some rolling billboards…

  • avatar

    Re: ugly

    The Prius Cd is something like 0.27, with all its weird looks. My ’98 Passat sedan has a 0.29 and didn’t have to make overt “ugly compromises” in order to achieve that.

    In other words, a little bit of thought and a lot of underbody flow engineering can go a long way.

    I’ve mentioned before that I think the Prius almost HAS to keep a weird look about it so as not to be confused with regular cars. Its weirdness is part of the sales package, though I think that will tone down over the coming years. Personally, I’d love to see a Prius wagon. Might be perfect for my wife’s next car.

  • avatar

    bigger, heavier, larger engine…….not sure if this is “progress”…..seems like the bloat factor is hard to avoid

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I guess it’s assumed that when a ttac commenter decides a car is ugly it IS ugly? I think it looks cool, and since I’m way smarter than you are, that means it IS cool…

  • avatar

    Actually A&F’s quality is pretty damn good… more than can be said about GM.

  • avatar

    Is it just me, or does that grill treatment give it a distinctly Honda/Acura look? Look at the grill covering – it resembles the Honda Civic grill and logo placement.

  • avatar

    My first reactions to the present Prius’ looks
    were, “How come my Aztek is ‘ugly’ and this thing’s ‘cool’?” and “That Aztek looked better before Paul Bunyan sat on it.”

    I hate the front end on the proposed new one. Why does Toyota have to make all of its new front ends more SUV-like and its new windows smaller?

    First, they ruined the xB. Now this.

  • avatar

    I think they should keep the camo. It make it look almost normal.

  • avatar

    Ummm, Are you guys really sure you are looking at the “new” Prius here? I think everyone should take a much better look at the picture here (particularly at the front of the car) and I believe you will see the impression of very Honda “looking” styling under the cammo bra.

    Considering how close the Honda clone that we have seen the spy shots of looks to the current Prius how can you be sure you are not looking at another test platform for the Honda Hybrid?

    I could also be wrong, no problem there, but have you gentlemen never heard of a pre-production “mule” were a company simply uses body panels and other styling elements of current and previous designs to hide the mechanicals underneath?

    But nevertheless I do see a great deal of vinyl cammo covering this car. With that said maybe this test car is meant to look like the current Prius whether it is a Honda or Toyota product underneath.

  • avatar

    Edward Niedermeyer:
    The next-generation of “America’s Car” looks bigger than the previous iteration, but that’s about it in terms of differences. The new Prius sports styling that is nearly identical to the outgoing model, with only a tightened greenhouse to spoil the rear vision freshen up the looks.

    Misleading news title. The Prius in these pics is heavily covered in white cardboard camo and cladding. Aside from the general shape, which everyone OBVIOUSLY knew would be similar to the current Prius, it is impossible to tell the styling of the new Prius, because of the very clever camo being used. Just a thought, but how about we wait for the actual production Prius to appear before making any remarks?

  • avatar

    Why the “Hybrid” logos all over big trucks/SUV’s? Not to proclaim intelligence, but to ward off incoming tomatoes and rotten eggs.

  • avatar

    Just a thought, but how about we wait for the actual production Prius to appear before making any remarks?

    Where’s the fun in that?

  • avatar
    John The Accountant

    I don’t care if it gets 60 actual MPG this time around. I won’t be buying one at the end of the day. I’ll get a 4 banger Accord Coupe (which the new one looks incredible by the way) or Altima Coupe before this if I need space.

  • avatar

    I guess “Why fix it if it ain’t broken” applies here

    But why did they reduce window area? I hate that.

  • avatar

    Off topic to Stephan Wilkinson: I ordered Crap Cars on your advice.

  • avatar

    “Why must cars like this scream “High Tech High Mileage”…I would prefer to keep it looking like a regular car”

    Toyota will happily take your money for the Camry and Highlander Hybrids, the Honda dealer will happily sell you a Civic Hybrid, Nissan offers the Altima Hybrid, and Ford sells the Escape/Mariner Hybrid – all of which look exactly like the regular cars they’re based upon. And other folks, who do like the high tech look, and who appreciate higher aerodynamic efficiency, will buy the Prius and unnamed Honda. Everybody’s happy – except you, who for some reason is still complaining.

  • avatar

    “The Prius Cd is something like 0.27, with all its weird looks. My ‘98 Passat sedan has a 0.29 and didn’t have to make overt “ugly compromises” in order to achieve that.”

    It’s actually 0.26.

    The Passat, however, has a larger frontal area and is overall far less aerodynamically efficient. Cd is not a good measure of aerodynamic efficiency; the Ford Flex has a .32 Cd, but it’s still pushing a lot of air out of the way. Cd only reflects drag, and it’s not a good way to measure how truly aerodynamic something is; you can have low drag and still experience significant vortex action and such. Also, speed, downforce, lift, and whatnot come into play; I doubt your Passat has less drag at highway speed than the Prius.

    Comparing Cd’s is like comparing 0-60 times. Doesn’t tell you much about real-life performance.

  • avatar

    When comparing the drag coefficient of the Passat at 0.29 and the Prius at 0.27, you would basically be increasing the drag by 7% by going to that higher drag coefficient. Drag is what kills your fuel economy at highway speeds. The prius already uses very little if any of the hybrid capability at highway speeds right now. A higher drag coefficient just drags your gas mileage down, which is the whole point of this car! (pun intended) As an aerospace engineer, I find the Prius beautiful and intriguing in the functional way. It was beautifully executed to be an everyman’s car with great fuel economy. The volt, w/ its typical 3 box shape, is the complete opposite in my eyes. They’ve sacrificed function for form.

  • avatar

    StephanW-Thanks for the humor.
    BTW-I also liked the current Prius styling from day one (hated the previous one).
    A little look into the future while Debtroit had its head firmly ensconsed in a retro sand pile.
    Looking back has lost a lot of races.


  • avatar

    A convertible Prius? Well, the HSG excels at stop-and-go, and convertibles are sometimes used in parades.

    A wagon would certainly be nice, though.

  • avatar

    I stand corrected on my bad memory–the Prius is 0.26 and Passat is 0.27. The frontal areas on the two are not much different at all, but that’s just my assessment after parking next to one at work.

    The Flex is obviously much larger–in fact, I think I recently made the same comment you did in a thread about Flex. Definitely misleading.

    If every car made the same efforts as Prius to reduce drag, we’d all be better off. But I doubt most people would buy cars that look like Prius without some big efficiency tradeoff in exchange for that styling. It’s not objectively “bad,” just unconventional–and that’s part of the whole Prius brand (I am still in favor of a Prius spinoff brand for Toyota)

  • avatar

    I think the current Prius’s looks have been a big part of its success. The first-gen Prius looked like a dumpling, and could easily be mistaken for a Ford Aspire or even a Toyota Echo. The current generation looks like a prop from Star Trek, and even if you don’t like the looks, it’s hard to mistake it for anything else.

    The Prius isn’t as aerodynamic as some of the show cars Ford and GM played with in the 80s, but it’s handicapped somewhat by the need to package all of its hardware and a reasonably amount of people/utility space into a relatively small footprint. Since it’s fairly tall, all things considered, its CdA (frontal area * Cd) is only decent, not extraordinary.

  • avatar

    How come my Aztek is ‘ugly’ and this thing’s ‘cool’

    I never thought the aztec looked all that bad other than the grill and ALL THE PLASTIC at the bottom. The last year or two of the Az, you could get one without all that plastic at the bottom. I almost picked up a (mostly) plasticless one a couple years ago, but I was told not to because of the 3.4 V6. The price was certainly right.

  • avatar

    While the styling on the Prius is polarizing it is hard to argue with success. If the next model has plug in capability I’ll likely bite once production has caught up with demand and the pricing gets reasonable.

    The after market has already done a convertible:

    Honda had the 1st entry with their Insight and had an ok product with the 1st gen Civic but it was Toyota that cracked open the market beyond the Left Coast centered green geek set.

  • avatar

    I also like the styling of the Prius. And the Aztek, though the black plastic was not great.

    I always imagine it turning a faded light grey after 3-5 years. Oh wait, it’s a Pontiac. Make that 3-5 minutes…

  • avatar

    It will have a larger engine and a larger motor

  • avatar

    David Holzman: “Why did they reduce the window area? I hate that.”

    Me, too. But I think they did it to help you survive a T-boning from an SUV.

    I didn’t like the higher window sills on the latest Camry, either, but I’ve driven them on a number of occasions, now, and visibility was still OK.

    I must say, I’m all for superb fuel economy and all that but I’m really hoping Toyota will offer a sunroof on the upcoming Prius. I really enjoy having a sunroof. Among other things, it makes up, a bit, for the lack of side window glass.

  • avatar

    Although, with Honda’s unnamed Prius-fighting sedan in the offing

    If all they’ve got is a sedan, then they still haven’t learned their lesson.

    I only hope this new Prius will have a telescoping steering wheel.

  • avatar

    Does it have to be that ugly to have that mpg?


    Aerodynamics play a huge role in efficiency (and stability), especially as speeds rise. One of the reasons the Prius has such fantastic highway mileage (yes, the hybrid systems helps a little) is it’s slippery shape.

    Saabs used to look much the same way for the same reason. So did the Honda Insight. So did a lot of cars, actually.

    The SUV boom and it’s associated marketing baggage destroyed aerodynamics; people are now accustomed to, if not outright demanding, truck styling cues in their cars. If someone strays from the formula, the reviewers jump all over them. Personally, I never found four feet of schnozz an attractive vehicle feature, but I grew up in Toyota Van.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    “Me, too. But I think they did it to help you survive a T-boning from an SUV.”

    Probably true. But, Toyota, if I could see the SUV I could at least brace myself…

  • avatar

    Guys, that’s gotta be the new Honda hybrid. Jeez, it’s got the square logo, you can see its impression right through the black camo. It looks nothing like a Toyota sombrero.

    As for engines: I remember hearing they’re making a 2.4 liter hybrid drivetrain, but I don’t think it’s because they’re making the Prius with a bigger engine. I think it’s because the Toyota A-BAT truck will be coming out by then. Same size as the RAV-4’s engine, if I’m not mistaken. That’s gonna be a great little truck right there. Not pretty, but I’ll betcha it’s gonna do a good job of being a truck.

  • avatar

    My guess as to the small greenhouse/high belt line is, it is the result of the pedestrian safety standards of the european union. The hood needs to be high so there is crush space over the motor.
    Look the Fiesta photo posted on thes site the past few days, see how high the hoodline is, as well as the base of the windshield?
    Seems outward visibility is being compromised by this new regulation. Bummer.
    I would guess high belt lines don’t really make a car more side, impact resistant unless the beam inside the door is mounted higher up.

  • avatar

    more powerful/more efficient – fine

    but they need to make it LIGHTER

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