Long praised for its fuel economy and reliability, the Toyota Prius has been no stranger to less-than-flattering remarks about its styling and sense of excitement. In fact, the model is a regular movie punchline. For evidence, see Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys or, more recently, Ice Cube in Ride Along.

Apparently, Toyota President Akido Toyoda is getting the message and is pushing for what's been translated as a more "heart-racing" design for both the Prius and the Camry, the Canadian website Driving says. The Camry and Prius accounted for about a third of Toyota's US sales last year.

With the Camry as the best-selling US model for each of the last dozen years, Toyota US head designer Kevin Hunter noted at the Detroit Auto Show last week that the Japanese automaker is looking for a "more emotional" design for the boxy sedan. The Prius redesign may have more constraints, as aerodynamics have to be factored in to ensure top-line fuel economy for the world's best-selling hybrid. Toyota used the Detroit show to show off the FT-1, a concept that many consider a preview of the new Supra. How this "Future Toyota 1" will affect the Prius and Camry redesigns, whenever they appear, remains in question but we like where things are headed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      A 'more heart racing design for the Prius?' Is this possible without customers having heart attacks just by gazing at it?
      TIMMAH!
      • 1 Year Ago
      "A little more fun to drive would be great - but I wouldn't be willing to give up any MPG's or reliability to get it. Don't try putting lipstick on a pig - just make sure the bacon tastes good." Well here's the thing though. Why not give the consumer's the choice? At some point it's all software anyways. If they want more oomph and less MPG, then have that selectable as a user preference. GM is starting to do this with the Volt with it's driving modes and the ELR with the selectable hi/lo regeneration. We need more of this.
      EZEE2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did I specify the Camry only? The corolla, rav4, Prius, Tacoma. No car is perfect, there are too many parts. My point was well covered, I am infallible. Learn it. Live it. I actually re-read my post. I never mentioned the Camry.
      David Murray
      • 1 Year Ago
      What I have found is that most of the people that joke about the Prius's style or handling are people who are either into sportscars or big trucks. And lets face is, no matter HOW they redesign the Prius, it will never appeal to those people. Personally, I think the 2nd and 3rd generation Prius are both very attractive cars. I can honestly say I'm not a big fan of their color choices, most of which are shades of gray or tan. The Volt seems to suffer from a similar issue. As for Prius handling, it is made that way on purpose to appeal to older people. So I suppose they could change it up a bit to appeal to younger people. The Prius C was supposed to appeal to younger people, but the piss-poor acceleration of that version probably drove quite a few away. The regular Prius accelerates well enough, although a little more power certainly couldn't hurt. From a personal perspective of somebody who has owned 5 Prii since 2001, I can say I won't be buying another after my household moved to a Leaf and a Volt. If the next generation Prius PHEV has some better offerings, I'll reconsider. For me they would need to double the EV range, at least. But they'd also need to increase the top speed in EV only mode to 65-70 mph (I rarely drive faster than that) and then provide an EV mode to lockout the ICE. Basically, I want a car I can drive every day in EV mode and never turn on the ICE, much like I do now with the Volt and Leaf.
        19nomad56
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David Murray
        "Personally, I think the 2nd and 3rd generation Prius are both very attractive cars." You lost me after this statement.
        JB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David Murray
        People that hate the Prius have "Prius Envy". hahahaha
          EZEE2
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JB
          Downvote people suck, I laughed.
      NestT
      • 1 Year Ago
      A Model S has a lower CD than Prius since it has no ICE there is no muffler underneath, no feeding the engine air, no hot catalytic converter that needs to be air cooled. Just a flat smooth surface that does not cause air turbulence. Prius can not emulate Model S in that regard.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @NestT
        http://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/5306/10539785.5d/0_74af6_982415c0_orig http://mannphoto.com/prius/bottom/smbottomcenter.jpg Here are some pictures of the underside of a gen 3? prius. There is lots of room for improvement. But the underside is quite good.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @NestT
        Actually.. With some reshaping, all this internal combustion engine stuff could be made very aerodynamic. An exhaust tube does not have to be round. A muffler or catalytic convertor do not have to be shaped the way they are. You could have a variable grill opening.. there are things you can do.. It won't be exactly like an electric car, but it could come very close.
      Joshua Santos
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The Prius redesign may have more constraints, as aerodynamics have to be factored in to ensure top-line fuel economy for the world's best-selling hybrid." This is complete BS. There is absolutely no reason an aerodynamic car needs to look like a dust buster. Case in point, the Tesla Model S is MORE aerodynamic than a Prius.
        thecommentator2013
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joshua Santos
        @J Santos Yes, that might be so but car companies won't give you that look for that price. Even they could, they won't.
      EZEE2
      • 1 Year Ago
      All always, one needs the definitive statement from everyone's humble radical right wing extremist to round out this post. Everyone is wrong. Oh wait, do I need to expand? Sigh, okay. Toyota is most certainly right, in a very scary way for the other automakers. Here are a few things to consider: 1) Toyota's are always at or near the top of reliability. Honda hovers up there, Ford had the previous model fusion (thanks a lot myfordtouch for spoiling ford's record), but Toyota rocks reliability. 2) pretty sheet metal does not cost more than ugly, or boring sheet metal. 3) any style trend can be made to look good. Can a square brick look good? Check out the 1965 continental. Ford tried that dumb edgy design and failed. Toyota tried it on the celiac and failed. Cadillac tried it on the CTS and wow, rebirth if Cadillac and now all of their models have it. Dodge took Kenworth style to their tricks and success. So there are no excuses for ugly or boring cars. None. Most likely Toyota was playing it safe all of these years as people bought their cars as appliances. 4) if Toyota has decided that they can make good looking, fun, reliable cars for the same price as other cars in the same class,, dear God. Would you buy a Chevy cruze or ford focus, when there would be a better looking corolla that could go 300,000 miles? Maybe to buy an American brand, yes, but then Volkswagen or Nissan? Oh heck no! Everyone I have known with a Volkswagen has had horrible luck! Toyota is smart for doing this, and they certainly can do it. See rule number 2. What if the Prius C looked like the Fiesta and had the functionality of the Fit? I would quickly say, 'sorry ford, but this thing is good looking, fun, gets great gas mileage, and will run for 300,000 miles.' I have spoken.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        yes toyota have always near the top, but you just cannot take it like that and said the camry was more reliable, because camry is just one car from toyota, toyota had some issue with their camry , why not check kelly blue , and look at Jd power 2012 report that came out 2013 , while toyota average in the top the camry was ranked at number 5 in reliability. But this year I expect the camry ratings to improve with ford recall, and the new altima with cvt bugs.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        further more prius has always been toyota most reliable car for a couple of years now, not the camry.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Instead of make the Prius more "heart racing", why not come out with a hybrid convertible? I've give up my Prius in a heartbeat if they made a fun to drive car with decent gas mileage. It doesn't have to out-drag a Mustang, just let me get the wind in my lack of hair and not roll like a battleship in the curves.
      chanonissan
      • 1 Year Ago
      you mention reliable cars, and if you read I said you cannot just take it and said reliable cars, mean all cars, but give an example of one that actual did not did well, I telling you the camry and some other toyotas has not have perfect years in reliability.But put it this way most toyota are reliable.
      thumerzs
      • 1 Year Ago
      More "heart-racing" is not what I'm looking in the next Prius. How 'bout better highway mileage? The thing is great in the city, but start blasting along at 70 mph and it takes quite a toll on the MPG's (yeah, still great, but a hit nonetheless.) Winter temps are also a big drag. Better rear visibility. That damned split rear window is probably my biggest peeve of the car. The wagon is much better, but it suffers from all those other Prius complaints. Make me a Toyota Hybrid Forester - albeit with a better radio, and I'll be pleased as punch. (4WD optional) Or just sell an Auris Hybrid Wagon in the US. Nicer interior. Those velour seats gotta go. A nice, durable cloth would be fine. And folding passenger front seat like I had on a Vibe - great option to allow loading of long stuff. Oh, and lose the center gauges too. Quiet down the interior - noise levels too high. (probably my second biggest complaint about my 3rd Gen Prius) At the same time, I want a sunroof I can actually open should I feel the need to let the wind blow through my curls. And yeah, like somebody said, how 'bout some new colors? The entire Toyota line could benefit from an infusion of some brighter colors. Check out the metallic colors Buick (Buick!) is offering on the Encore. A little more fun to drive would be great - but I wouldn't be willing to give up any MPG's or reliability to get it. Don't try putting lipstick on a pig - just make sure the bacon tastes good.
      ChrisM
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyotas are known for years of trouble free service.( My 06 has over 300k, I had to change a water pump .) Not for style or performance. There smooth ,quiet and comfortable. Yet you will not win any red light drag races. Its whats more important to you.
        19nomad56
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ChrisM
        There is absolutely no reason in the world why a sedan can't be reliable and attractive. It's not a law that it can only be one or the other. How many MORE Camry's would they have sold if they were reliable and even the smallest bit aspirational...
      Human
      • 1 Year Ago
      Im happy mr toyoda is trying to make more exciting looking cars, but if he really wants to win over more people he needs to make a prius with tighter suspension. That one tiny change will bring in many buyers like me who want all the efficiency, room, and reliability, but who also want a bit of FRS/86 handling precision. Please mr toyoda, tell the chassis tuning engineers to put something other than sponges for shocks and dampeners. Sincerely, a potential customer.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Human
        Can't you replace the stock suspension with something more to your liking? I have done this with every car i own. I'm sure the Prius is no different. Let's be realistic. Like the Honda Civic, or Toyota Camry, it's a mainstream car and the suspension is a compromise between smoothness and handling, just like anything that isn't designed with being a sports car in mind.
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