2010 Prius debut
Impressions from Detroit
Ok, as I said, I wanted to relate to you as many of my direct thoughts as possible. So here they are, stream of consciousness style, in no particular order. If some of the things seem contradictory then mark that down to the observations any person would make of something as complex as the new 2010 Prius.
-It’s beautiful car. No really. I thought the previous iteration was as well despite a lot of juvenile jibes from the mainstream auto press but I think this new model is more mainstream in its styling while still staying true to what the Prius is supposed to be, first and foremost, a performance* vehicle. It’s sexy.
*and to those of who take issue with my use of performance I would contend the following, as much or more than any other production vehicle on the road, the Prius delivers the performance it promises. While that performance may not be the fuel huffing paradigm of the pro car writers, it is the performance that matters to most consumers. The Prius is and will continue to be reliable, environmentally sound, comfortable, efficient, affordable and technically interesting. As part of this contention I would add that it outperforms, in this manner, anything else on the road. Sure, a Z-06 goes faster but what’s the point? You can’t actually take advantage of that definition of performance unless you own a private track. The Prius does what it supposed to do and the 2010 does it more stylishly than ever.
-The sunroof and solar panels rock. Seamless integration, great idea.
-Are the seats in the 2010 different? I got the immediate impression it’s slightly more comfortable. Maybe it was the blueberry martini gelatin shots.
-Touch Tracer is one coolest innovations since SmartKey. It’s brilliant.
-I’m not sure I like the new display on the dash. This is an early impression and I would drive the car to get a better sense of it but while integrating more information up higher is better in general am I too frivolous if I suggest the old MFD display was prettier? Either way, it’s more ergonomically placed now and possibly more useful. It reminds me, a bit, of the hybrid Camry I drove last year (though much more complex).
-There’s no excuse for a 2010 model not to come standard with full iPod integration.
-Oh, and a CD stacker? That’s so 1990. A single slot in the dash is more than enough for those dinosaurs left reliant on optical discs for music. It’s like putting wooden spoked wheels on the car. To me, a stacker is a liability. I know it will break, it’s just a matter of when.
-I don’t mind the badge on the front of the vehicle being larger but the terrible blue, printed “glow” is, well, terrible. It looks cheap, very cheap. If I do get a 2010 that’s the first I’m going to look around to replace. I know this is trivial but it jumped out at me.
-I’m undecided about the new center console “nose”. At first I loved it. Then, after sitting in the car I wasn’t as sure. I might really like it when I’m driving it but I’m not why it’s there other than for stylistic reasons. It might make a really nice armrest. It might just get in the way.
-And with the above said, I love the shifter on the new center console “nose”. I could live without the rather odd blue carbon fiber embedded in the plastic but I love the positioning of the shifter.
-Big props for the changes to the between front seats center console. I love the new lid mechanism.
-The flipdown cupholders in the back seat rock.
-I love the restyled rear tailights. Can say Batmobile?
-The 17″ magnesium wheels look incredibly cool. I wish I didn’t have to go the full boat upgrade to get them but if you want to talk about going a long way to remove the nerd factor from the exterior, these wheels do it.
-I’m very curious to see real world performance from this new HSD system. Toyota says it’s 90% new compared to the previous generation so I’m quite eager to see how it performs on the road. I would love to see it do better in cold weather. I hate seeing my MPG dive in the winter.
-The LED headlight option is very cool. Unfortunately I’m guessing it’s going to cost prohibitive and porbably very hard to get. It’s still very cool.
-Colors for 2010. Why of why won’t Toyota do one weird color every year? It would be sort of out of character for them. Toyota has always striven to please the broadest range of people possible but these colors are, can I say it, kind of boring? Now, with that said, the new blue (Blue Ribbon Metallic) is OUTSTANDING! It’s beautiful and the new Prius wears it very well. On the other hand, the adult diaper gold (Sandy Beach Metallic) may be one of the worst Toyota colors ever. The new gray (Winter Gray Metallic) is very similar to previous versions and looks nice. I imagine white is white will look mostly the same. The silver, as viewed in the photographs, seems washed out to me but still nice. Avoid the A-D-gold.
-EV mode, ECO mode and standard. I will be very interested to see how these work in practice, especially the ECO mode. EV is pretty obvious and frankly, there’s no ambiguity there but the ECO mode seems a bit more problematic. I’m very curious to see how it plays out in real life. Of course, cheers to Toyota for bring the choice to the American version of the Prius.
-More get up and go? Once again, without driving it I can’t say much other than, I’ve never been disappointed in the way my Prius accelerates. Maybe this one will somewhat assuage the “but it’s no fun to drive” folks. I doubt it. The Prius, by definition, isn’t their kind of car. It’s a new and different paradigm which you either accept and love or resent.
-Yay, they kept the double glove boxes.
-”Plasmacluster”? Just wondering what the heck that means?
-I liked the power button up high better. It’s a very small thing but there it anyway. I’m also not sure about the placement of the “park” button but that’s not a big deal either. It’s probably a good when you have to try this hard to find something to whine about.
-Two words for those us in the north, “heated seats”. Oh yeah!
-No Mo Fuel Bladder!
That’s enough for now and all I can remember or grab from my notes. Have you seen the 2010? What do you think?
tonight and this afternoon
Later this morning, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Toyota will unveil, by video, the new, third generation, Prius. Then later this evening Toyota has kindly put together a chance for us to, and I quote them, “get up close and personal” with the new Prius. I’ve just learned that this event will be at the Detroit Opera House. Should be interesting.
Check back after 11:00 for a report and pictures from the event.
If you want to see all the pictures I’ve shot (so far)
Follow these links:
And then there’s this…
You have to say one thing, Toyota knows how to throw a party. They put nice get together for everyone this everyone this evening. Below some of the images from that get together.
And of course, tomorrow is the big day. At 11:00 we get to see video of the big reveal and then in the evening, as the story, we’ll actually be hands on with the car. Of course, I’ll have a lot of pictures from that (and video). Check back here for more from the Detroit Prius Connection.
Getting here and being there
Well, here I sit in the spiffy leather desk of my marble top desk in my room. Who woulda thunk it?
Here are the shots so far today. They’ll give you an idea of the trip and what’s Toyota has set up for those us here for the 2010 Debut tomorrow.
Two legends of the Prius world. John runs one of the pioneering Prius sites on the web and frankly, one of the most informative. John has collected a mountain of data on his Prii and has posted it all to the web. John’s site is one reason I have a Prius today. Michelle is another encyclopaedia of Prius knowledge. I’ve emailed with her a few times and she’s been kind enough to set me straight on facts. Between these two people there is a vast wealth of real world Prius knowledge. I was honored to finally meet both of them in person.
Now I’m heading off to the welcome reception. More stories and pictures later this evening.
After a wonderful customer service experience with a delightful Northwest employee (no sarcasm, she rocked) here I am at the gate. I managed to get all of my camera and computer equipment through security, something which I had imagined would not be simple.
HIA is mostly empty. I guess not a lot of Harrisburgians fly to Detroit on Sunday morning.
In a little over two hours I should be safely ensconced within Toyota’s arms in the motor city.
On my way
I’m leaving for the airport in a few minutes. I have all my fluids segregated to the checked baggage and everything that could possibly be used for a dangerous purpose has been secured.
It’s a short to Detroit and I’ll check back in here sometime around 3:00 p.m. just to let you know how the venue for the big event looks (or at least one of them).
It’s should be a very interesting next 48 hours.
Below are the officially issued Prius “teaser” images from Toyota. I’m just placing them down here for the record.
What it is I’m not exactly sure but it’s a legit image of some part of the new 2010 Prius. Maybe it’s control for the fully motorized gull-wing doors the 2010 will have? (and of course, that last line is a joke)
Posted by Toyota at Greenhybrid.com
This shot of the console isn’t nearly as cool as the shot from the New Zealand spycar. In this one the center console looks as though a nose as just been stuck on the dash. It had a much more wraparound look in the other images.
This image was posted on priuschat.com by bossdowner