October 21, 2014

Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept – better looking than a Prius

Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

The Toyota NS4 Hybrid plug-in has been revealed at the Detroit Auto Show, a glimpse at Toyota’s future design direction and full of concept gimmicks.

When we had the teases for the Toyota NS4 plug-in Hybrid, Toyota made big claims about the NS4 being an ‘Advanced’ Plug-in Hybrid. But strip away the concept-only stuff like the camera door mirrors and trick doors and what we have left is a look at the next generation Toyota Prius – perhaps.

And perhaps if the NS4 is a look at the next generation Prius we should be happy – because it looks a great deal better than the eco-statement that is the current Prius. There’s no doubt Toyota conceived the design of the Prius to shout ‘Eco’, but as hybrids become more mainstream – and that’s down to Toyota – the design of the Prius has become jarring and passé.

The design of the NS4 is much more convincing, and we hope it signals the general future of design for Toyota, rather than just the Prius. Because surely Prius should become a ‘Badge’ you can attach to the hybrid version of the Toyota you choose, rather than a ‘Brand’?

The NS4 gets a new HSD hybrid setup which Toyota say is smaller, lighter and quicker to charge than the current Prius Plug-in, but they fail to give us any details. There’s also a focus tech, with a touchscreen in the centre console designed to look like a Smartphone which controls stuff like HVAC and connectivity.

The NS4 is also long on safety equipment like pre-collision detection, blind spot monitoring, adaptive lights and a pop-up bonnet to mitigate injuries for pedestrians. It also gets lots of concept daftness like swan wing doors and a front grill that would lose its life in the first car park.

But despite the lack of any real detail on what makes the Toyota NS4 Hybrid ‘Advanced’ – and news that Toyota were going to give the HSD more power or better real world economy or a decent gearbox would have been welcome –  it’s the design of the NS4 that makes it a success.

Especially if it’s not just for a Prius future.

Toyota NS4 Plug-in Hybrid Concept Photo Gallery

(25 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

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