By on May 20, 2009

Toyota’s Prius will extend its domination of the auto design zeitgeist, according to an Automotive News (via Autoweek) interview with Toyota global design chief Wahei Hirai. The third-generation Prius rocks ToMoCo’s latest “free-form geometrics” design language, an “avant-garde, high-tech look that also screams green.” The new Prius has improved its Cd from .26 to .25, with the help of “aero corners” and a reworked grille that shows Toyota’s way forward. “It’s an anti-traditional grille,” says Simon Humphries, general manager for global design. “It’s one step closer to the ultimate goal, which is going grilleless.” The “bolder” presentation of the hood emblem will also find its way onto other Toyotas as well. Which to my way of thinking is no good thing. Where the outgoing Prius was generic looking to the point of becoming iconic, the new model seems almost like a step backwards to the fussy awkwardness of the first-generation Prius. Although much of the visual discord is a matter of proportion, rather than details, news that this new model will influence Toyotas everywhere is reason to give pause. Think about it, man. No one may ever buy a Toyota based on its looks ever again.

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21 Comments on “Prius Styling To Influence Toyota Lineup...”

  • avatar

    “It’s an anti-traditional grille,” says Simon Humphries, general manager for global design. “It’s one step closer to the ultimate goal, which is going grilleless.”

    So we reached the ultimate goal in the mid-1980s and then lost our way? Actually, that sounds about right.

  • avatar

    Everything old is new again, Sajeev.

  • avatar

    No one may every buy a Toyota based on its looks ever again.

    You mean they ever did?

  • avatar

    No one may ever[] buy a Toyota based on its looks ever again.

    I’ll take “Ships That Have Sailed” for $200, Alex…

  • avatar

    Didn’t we go grilleless in the early nineties? It looks like my old Nissan NX and Mazda MX-6 were ahead of the times.

  • avatar

    86er: Guess you could say that Crown Vics are more advanced than Priuses, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  • avatar

    Now that I think about it, grilleless probably goes a long way toward reducing drag. It’s all about the aero.

    There were a lot of pretty slick shapes around from the mid-80s into the 90s. Both of my cars (a ’92 Thunderbird and a ’97 Miata) are sans grille.

  • avatar

    I see this as right up there with “Let’s save a bundle and fire all the good expensive sales people” move by Circuit City a couple of years ago. We all know how well that turned out.

  • avatar

    Only a few people out of the millions of purchase Toyotas do so solely on looks. They’re either purchased on quality/reliability (pretty much the entire line) as well as capability (Toyota trucks). Give me one good reason why a Toyota Corolla looks better than a Honda Civic….or a Cobalt….or a Spectra….or Mazda3…or a….

  • avatar

    Have to disagree. I have always thought the 2nd Generation Prius [and 3rd and now Insight] look like wheeled cockroaches and wish Toyota would go back to the original. Much the same way I see a new Mazda 3 and pine for the days of the Protege’s styling.

    Emphasizing Toyota’s ridculous and contrived badge is a mistake as well. Anyone remember the “belt buckle” jokes made about the original [grilleless] Infiniti Q45 ? Same problem here.

    If this is where they’re going, I’ll take Korean Baroque any day.

  • avatar

    Going grilless? Everything old is new again. Actually I thought Studebaker originated that with the Avanti.

  • avatar

    I really think the new Prius is one of the most visually appealing models in Toyota’s lineup. It’s one of those cars that artfully carries out the anticipated “future-car” designs I saw in movies when I was a kid.

    I also appreciate the fact that they’ve established a design language and are sticking with it.

  • avatar

    Yeah, but did they have to get their design language from a plecto?

  • avatar

    My toaster looks better.

  • avatar

    Yes, Toyota, how very daring of you.

  • avatar

    My toaster looks better.

    That’s funny because I call Toyota’s toasters with wheels.

  • avatar

    All of Oldsmobile’s lineup was grilleless before they kicked the bucket. Remember Olds? I owned the Intrigue, the best-looking of that design language.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    How ever will Toyota and Audi get along now?

    I thought grilled was better for you than fried and.. sorry my mind was wandering.

  • avatar

    It looks boring.

    And boring is a much better alternative than polarizing, methinks.

    Rock on, Toyota.

  • avatar

    The “bolder” presentation of the hood emblem will also find its way onto other Toyotas as well.

    They already did this when they beat the new Camry with an ugly stick. Guess this means that ugly Toyotas will get uglier? YIKES!

  • avatar

    I do not give a flying fish if they are successful; I hate Toyota and their marketing strategy with a passion. This just poured oil into a raging bonfire.

    For now, at least.

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