It turns out those photos we thought could be the 2010 Toyota Prius are the new Prius, as we were the first to confirm. Now that we know, mostly, what it looks like, we thought we'd take the first chance to compare the two vehicles to see what the designers were thinking. Overall, our impression is that they've certainly moved it in a more aggressive and distinct direction. A full comparison below the jump.
One: The most obvious change from generation to generation is at the front, and the first sign that this is something new comes from the headlights. The previous generation said "aerodynamic" while the new, feathered lights say "sporty" more than anything. Two: The new grille is also far more aggressive, shifting the logo into the middle with a pointed, almost F1-esque nose crease. Three: Like the 2009 Toyota Matrix, the new Prius' nose features a lower front airdam with a dual-foglight package. Four: Compared to the previous generation, the cab appears slightly further forward. It is hard to say if this is just an illusion created by the lower placement of the mirror and angle of the beltline or an actual change. Either way, the effect is to create a more forward leaning stance. FIve: The little crease at the edge of the bumper could be an aerodynamic touch or purely aesthetic.
One: The line running along the center of the doors in the previous generation has been moved down further along the wheel wells, which makes the new Prius look tall-and-squat as opposed to long-and-lean. This appears to be an answer to the charge that the previous generation looked like a wedge or a jellybean. Two: As mentioned, the beltline is raked towards the A-pillar, giving it a runner's stance. Three: The rocker panels are now larger and more enhanced, appearing to flare a bit at the rear wheel well. Four: The blacked-out B-pillar look has been transferred from generation to generation and the overall shape of the greenhouse hasn't been significantly altered. FIve: The slab-slided Prius is no more. The doors angle further in towards the greenhouse with a line that carries from the front quarter panel back toward the shoulders.
One: We're waiting for a better picture of the rear, but in the meantime it appears the larger presence of the rocker panels has created a line that moves around the rear of the car that's picked up the sheet metal. The purpose of the black wings along the edge of the previous model was primarily aerodynamic and it looks better with body-matching paint. Two: Though there is a new look for the shoulders, with new definition, the car retains a similar, if slightly less angled, C-Pillar. Three: More fanny? Hard to say, but it looks like there is more junk in that trunk. Four: Wheel design for the Prius has always been of the "appliance" variety. These sporty, flared five-spokes clearly point to a new direction. FIve: The gas tank now appears to be on the other side — just kidding. These are opposite sides of the car.