Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jalopnik has a great article where they spoke with Prius chief engineer Satoki Oya about the car and why it looks so good compared to previous gens.
“We wanted to make a good looking car that drove and performed well, and so when design first brought me the initial sketch, I thought it was really good,” Oya told me through a translator. “So, the whole development team said, ‘we want to build this.’ What you see is actually the end result of that.”
During our conversation, Oya also slyly ribbed the Prius that’s currently on the market, saying that the Prius has always been a good-looking vehicle... “putting the fourth generation aside.”
I asked Oya to name his favorite part of the new vehicle’s design. Coincidentally, it’s the exact same part I find most interesting: the side profile.
To Oya and myself, the real focal point of the new Prius is the roofline. The apex of the roof has been pushed fairly far back, cresting behind the b-pillar. It’s a unique touch that really sets the car apart — not just from other hybrids, but from most passenger cars in general.
In a very un-Toyota move, this styling comes at the expense of practicality. Headroom up front isn’t really an issue, but in the rear, the sloping roofline means there’s very little room if you have a head. It also takes away some cargo space, and on top of all that, the shape slightly reduces the aerodynamic efficiency of the vehicle. Toyota says the new Prius has a coefficient of drag of 0.27, whereas the old car managed a slightly more slippery 0.25.