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Toyota Prius May Get Sportier

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On: Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 3:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Prius May Get Sportier

Limited size, frumpy styling and great gas mileage - it's a formula that's been defining hybrids and electric cars since they've launched. No car better exemplifies this than the original lean, green machine, the Toyota Prius. The hybrid's styling is enough to draw snickers from strangers and jokes from friends, but its 50 mpg makes drivers plenty content to ignore any negativity from the peanut gallery.

Prius drivers of the future may get the best of both worlds. According to a Toyota executive, the next-generation Prius may trade in the small-hatch shape for something with more visual appeal.

Despite the aerodynamic advantages of the Prius' wedge shape, and despite the fact that the shape is synonymous with the Prius badge, Toyota is considering a new direction for the car's styling.

"There’s an undercurrent among most people that they’re ready for a new Prius look," said Chris Hostetter, Toyota’s U.S. group vice president for strategic planning,when talking toBloomberg. "Maybe our architecture has been a little bit similar for the last two generations."

Hostetter said that Toyota designers have been working on various clay models, a few of which share some similarities with the NS4 concept that Toyota showed at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The aim is to create a more emotional design.

While the Prius may get a more compelling body, the focus will still be on the efficiency that's made the Prius a household name. Toyota wants the car to retain its position as a fuel economy leader. It will equip the car with an updated hybrid system.


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