There’s no denying that the Toyota Prius has been at the forefront of the green car revolution for over 15 years now. True, the Tesla Model S is considered by many to be the new face of alternative fuels, but the Prius remains far and away the most popular green car on the road, and it may get even more popular once the new redesign debuts.
The thing is, that redesign has been pushed back at least once, as executives try to increase the appeal of the Prius with a bolder, edgier look, or so we’re told. We’ve been given vague hints about what that new look entails, and spy pictures haven’t really shed any light on the situation, but HybridCars reports these are supposedly leaked images of what the redesigned 2016 Toyota Prius will look like. And, well…it still looks like a Prius.
Is that a bad thing? Depends on whom you ask. I will say that giving the conventional Prius hatchback and the Prius Plug-In (now with 30 miles of electric driving range) slightly different looks is a step in the right direction. But for those hoping for a more aggressive, and even conventional look, the disappointment is palpable. Toyota definitely included design elements of its Mirai FCV in the new look of the Prius, and it hasn’t done the hybrid car any favors in the looks department.
But the Prius has never been about being pretty, it’s about being efficient, and a reported 8% improvement in fuel economy on the liberal Japanese testing cycle could mean fuel economy ratings of up to 55 MPG here in the U.S. Power is also said to be up a bit, with the 2016 Prius offering as much as 145 horsepower compared to the outgoing model’s 134 horsepower rating.
For my money though, these small improvements don’t change the fact that the Prius still looks like a Prius, which means it’s still only going to appeal to Prius people.
With so many other options that look better or don’t use gasoline at all, does the Prius still stand a chance with consumers?