When the Toyota Prius launched its current iteration in 2004, it looked like a futuristic vehicle and stood out in a crowd. Like many Japanese designs, it hasn’t aged well, and most automotive journalists agree that it is in dire need of a makeover. The editors of TheCarConnection.com concur based on our firsthand impressions of the vehicle, including ownership of a 2004 model.
The 2009 Toyota Prius sports a slab-sided exterior and an almost egg-shaped profile. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com generally grouse that the styling has grown old for Toyota's 2009 Prius, but Toyota says a new look won't arrive until the 2010 model year.
While exterior styling on the Toyota Prius may not be the most aesthetically pleasing on the market, Cars.com points out that the "styling has driven the car's success" by improving aerodynamics and fuel economy, and "like it or not...you're likely to see more of this silhouette" as automakers try to cut fuel consumption wherever possible. One of the leading positive reviews of the Toyota Prius' exterior styling comes from Kelley Blue Book, where the reviewers feel that the "design is still unconventional, but somehow palatable to the everyday consumer." A noteworthy addition to the 2009 Toyota Prius lineup is the Prius Touring Edition, which ForbesAutos notes is "distinguished from the rest of the line by high-intensity headlamps...as well as a larger aerodynamic spoiler." ConsumerGuide lists the other new model option for Toyota's 2009 edition of the Prius as "a new lower-priced Standard model," while the midrange Base version completes the trim trio.
A clean, futuristic dashboard serves a simple contrast to the complicated displays aboard the Prius, and large windows provide great visibility in all directions. Looking forward, the driver will find the dashboard conspicuously devoid of instruments. Instead, Kelley Blue Book points out that "the center dash houses a large LCD screen that shows the power transfer map between the gasoline engine and electric motor, as well as the display for the climate, rear backup camera and navigation systems." Other interior styling elements winning high praise are the steering wheel buttons (all 11 of them), which manage to seem uncrowded and contribute to what ConsumerGuide calls the Prius' "own hi-tech look" inside. Edmunds finds the interior of the Prius to be "upscale, if not a little oddball," thanks largely to "flat and wide" dash and "centrally located instrument clusters."