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Report: Toyota Sent Designers Back to Drawing Board for Next Prius

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/15/2014 Karla Sanchez

No one would describe the current Toyota Prius as a looker, but the next-gen hybrid car could change all that. The redesigned Prius was supposed to arrive next spring, but we won't see it until the end of next year because Toyota execs have been particularly choosy about the hybrid's new design, which will reportedly be much sportier and more emotional.

The push for a more exciting Prius comes from Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, who has been on a mission to make the company's cars more exciting, and to appeal to buyers beyond the Prius' traditional customer base. Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice president of Toyota, listened to this, as Automotive News reports he rejected the hybrid's initial design last year.

Report: Toyota Sent Designers Back to Drawing Board for Next Prius

"The design redo was instructed by myself, and the president said the same thing," Kato told Automotive News. "We substantially refined the design, and we have finally reached a level where we can offer it next year." Toyota C HR Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota C HR Concept

The next-gen Prius will reportedly have a lower and sleeker profile compared to the current car, with lots of styling cues taken from the C-HR concept shown at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Although that concept was a CUV, AN says we can expect its muscular wheel arches, aggressive front grille, and diamond architecture to greatly influence the new hybrid's design. Toyota also wants to make it much sportier to help separate it from the next-gen Prius plug-in, which will reportedly be redesigned to look much tamer than the standard Prius. While Toyota boasts the next-gen Prius will look substantially different, the car will keep its wedge shape and remain roughly the same size. Even still, cabin space will grow thanks to the use of a new platform.

"The body size will change very little to the current car and maintain the present 106-inch wheelbase. Front overhang will decrease by just under 2 inches thanks to the smaller powertrain and hybrid system. But as I said before, the overall styling will change considerably, but it will still be recognizable as a Prius," a Toyota engineer previously told us in an interview.Toyota C HR Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota C HR Concept

With more than 1 million hybrids sold in 2013 for a second straight year, the Prius is an extremely important car for Toyota, which helps explain why there's so much riding on the next-gen car. There's not only a lot of pressure to make the car look good, but also because it will debut new and complex technologies, including the automaker's modular vehicle architecture and next-gen hybrid system.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required).

Toyota C HR Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota C HR Concept
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