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Mike Stevens | May 20, 2009

If you’re a Toyota nut but not the biggest fan of the upcoming Prius’ style, you’ve got a problem. If, on the other hand, the look of the new 2010 Toyota Prius hits the spot for you, then the local Toyota showroom offers a rosy future.

In a recent presentation at Toyota’s design studios, global design chief Wahei Hirai told the press that the Prius, which he described as an example of “free-form geometrics,” is a symbol of things to come for the world’s largest carmaker.

"Prius is a showcase. We can try many design cues here first," Hirai told press. "This has to be symbolic."

A major element in the design of the new Prius is its ultra-low drag coefficient, which Toyota was able to scrape down from 0.26 to 0.25. It doesn’t sound like a huge leap, but at the cutting edge of aerodynamics science, it’s no small achievement.

toyota_prius_2010_02

While the flowing bonnet, roofline and high rear deck are uniquely Prius features and not likely to transfer to the likes of the Camry or Corolla (lest they dilute the Prius’ image), there are smaller, more specific elements that will make the leap.

Features such as Hirai’s ‘Aerocorner’ styling – where the flowing lines of the upper body terminate in a sharp edge and the flat edges either side of the wheel wheels – help to control airflow and turbulence as the vehicle is in motion, and are expected to feature prominently in other Toyota models.

Other features we should expect to see more of are smaller top grilles sitting above larger lower grilles, allowing for better airflow over the top of the car.

Toyota Prius 2010

Simon Humphries, general manager for global design, described the small upper grille of the Prius as an “anti-traditional” design, one step closer to the company’s ultimate goal: no upper grille at all, an approach similar to the 2009 Mazda3.

Additional panelling beneath the body of future models will assist with increased airflow, as will a move towards the Prius’ more sharply angled rear overhang.

Hirai said that the Toyota badge will form a stronger, more integrated feature of future Toyota designs, with the vehicle’s style flowing outward from the badge, as if it were the heart of the car. And in a sense, it is – at least metaphorically.

The 2010 Toyota Prius is due for its Australian launch in July.

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