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Toyota's Hybrid X-pression. Image by Toyota.

Toyota's Hybrid X-pression
Toyota hints at forthcoming designs with hybrid concept in Geneva.
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Toyota has started to shade Honda in the success of its hybrids, a movement that began when the company launched the first Prius in its home market ten years ago. Since then, the company has been steadily moving ahead with the initiative. The Hybrid X concept, unveiled in Geneva, is the most recent technology showcase for its future generation of hybrid cars.

Penned at Toyota's European styling centre in France, the Hybrid X is a four-door four-seat 'open-space' concept which illustrates a new design language for the company. The exterior shape is dominated by two 'U' shapes created by unconventional A- and C-pillars, from which the concept gets its name. The design, devoid of B-pillars, contains a large upper glass frame area which improves outward visibility in all directions.

The front of the car features a short bonnet - resembling the diminutive Mitsubishi i city car - with an enormous windscreen incorporating small LED head lamps recessed into the dashboard. These lamps, essentially fitted to the interior, have the capability to display graphic forms through animation, communicating distance, acceleration and braking information to pedestrians or other drivers.

Viewed from the side, the design is not dissimilar to the current Prius, though with a more rakish form. A dynamic stance is provided by 20-inch alloy wheels shod with low profile 225/40 R20 tyres. The swooping roofline culminates in a sharp, almost vertical boot design, which houses clear tail lamps with integrated blue lights wrapping around the rear windscreen.

Conventional front and rear-hinged passenger doors provide access to the cabin and open electronically at the touch of a button. The cockpit itself is simple, but futuristic, incorporating three screens that relay information to the driver. The first, located in the steering wheel hub, shows energy flow path, fuel consumption and gear position; the second, situated in front of the driver, displays navigation and Bluetooth connectivity; and the third, console-mounted screen, operates the ambience settings - including audio and lighting - via touch.

Space-saving seats, formed using injected foam techniques, are claimed to reduce weight and enhance comfort. Two independent seats in the rear can be rotated by 12 degrees to let passengers enjoy the scenery or a more intimate 'tête-à-tête'.

Toyota is looking to further extend sustainable mobility with the Hybrid X concept and offer better fuel economy and cleaner emissions through its Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The concept illustrates the design direction the next generation Prius will take.

Eric Gallina - 12 Mar 2007

2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.

2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.2007 Toyota Hybrid X. Image by Toyota.    - Toyota road tests
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