Mike Stevens | Sep 8, 2008

Perhaps in recognition of the fact that the Prius is now getting on a bit, and mindful of the recent unveiling of Honda's reborn Insight hybrid, Toyota is set to unveil a new vision for the future of planet-friendly cars in the shape of the Hybrid X.

The futuristic concept is intended both as a design study for future models across the Toyota range, and as a showcase for some of the technology we can expect to see in the next few years.

Measuring 4.5 metres long and 1.85 metres wide, and rolling on a 2.8m wheelbase, Toyota's new styling exercise is about the size of a regular family car.

The Hybrid X was created at Toyota's European styling centre, called ED², in the south of France.

The unconventional design of the X—even for a hybrid, a class of car known for offering unusual styling—brings a new sportiness and futurism to the scene. Toyota says the Hybrid X is a vision of the company's design future, not only for its hybrid range but for the entire brand.

hybrid-x_02

Whether as a hint at the car's potential as a spirited driver or simply more of the usual showcar efforts, the 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile 225/40 tyres of the Hybrid X leave plenty of possibilities for the imagination to chew on.

From a technology perspective, the Hybrid X has some interesting tricks in its bag. LED headlights are integrated into the dashboard, forming part of the interior of the car. If that were not enough, they can also provide the driver with information such as safety distances, acceleration and braking, and the proximity of other drivers and pedestrians.

For comfort, the driver is provided with the ability to control the interior environment to a greater extent than ever before, with control over sight, sound, touch, and even smell.

hybrid-x_03

The Hybrid X features a drive-by-wire steering pad with a central screen to transmit information to the driver about the energy flow of the car's systems, as well as fuel consumption and of course gear position.

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