Toyota NS4 Plug-In Concept Points At Future Prius Design

It’s not exactly a surprise that Toyota sells more hybrids than anyone else in the United States, let alone the world.  In fact, half of all hybrids sold bear the Toyota emblem, showing that the brand has found a winning formula. This is largely due in part to the success of the Prius, the quirky-looking, soft hybrid that achieves a combined 50 miles per gallon. But what does the future hold for Toyota’s darling hybrid? What will it look like? The answer may be in the NS4 Concept, a futuristic hybrid Toyota unveiled during the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

The NS4 concept is far more striking than the relaxed look of today’s Prius, with sharp angles in the front head lamps and rear tail lamps, and even a hidden “T” shape in the front fascia. Just look closely at the prominent center grille parting and how it flows into the creased head lamps. But design isn’t the only futuristic take found with the NS4.

Beneath the sheetmetal is a powertrain similar to that of today’s Prius Plug-In Hybrid, which achieves an amazing 87 mpge thanks to it’s ability to drive in all-electric mode for a short distance. There’s also more creature comforts and technology, like a smartphone-esque interface to monitor and control everything in the car from the air conditioning to the charge left in the battery. Additionally, the NS4 features the latest pre-collision and blind-spot monitoring systems, adaptive headlights and four new types of glass. But perhaps the most futuristic feature is the concept car’s deletion of mirrors, replacing them with an around-view camera system.

When will the Prius actually resemble something like the design study of the NS4? Not before 2015, but keep an eye out for even more takes on the evolution of the Toyota Prius.

Toyota Reveals 50 MPG Prius C at 2012 North American International Auto Show, Promises to Start Under $19,000

Toyota has recognized a need for an urban, incredibly fuel efficient and affordable vehicle, and has presented such a car at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. Cleverly titled the Prius c (the “C” is for “city”), it’s another addition to the growing Prius family, joining the standard Prius, the versatile Prius V, and the Prius plug-in hybrid. That’s a lot of Prii to go around.

The subcompact Prius c looks to be the most nimble and affordable of the group, utilizing a 1.5-liter four cylinder engine along with an electric motor that delivers 99 peak horsepower. It might be less than the standard Prius’ 134 hp output, but the Prius c’s smaller size and lighter weight (542 pounds lighter than the basic Prius) should provide a more entertaining driving experience. Best of all, however, is the Prius c’s estimated fuel economy rating of 50 combined miles-per-gallon. That’s about as good as it gets besides getting something that plugs into a wall.

Along with fantastic projected mileage, the Prius c will come with standard Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Additionally, the Prius c can be outfitted with BlueTooth, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and available Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune. And thanks to its hatchback design and fold-flat rear seats, the Prius c comes with 17.1 cubic-feet of cargo volume. Now, consumers may have to pay a little more for all the bells and whistles, but the 50 combined mpg rating comes standard at a starting price that Toyota claims will fall under $19,000. Expect the little Prius to hit the market in March.