Toyota Hybrid X unveiled

Published: 03 June 2007

Toyota Hybrid X: that’s an odd name…

Apparently, the Hybrid X was named after its unconventional U-shaped front and rear windscreen pillars. Seen in plan view from above, they nearly meet in the middle to assume the shape of an X. It’s pure concept fantasy, although we can’t help noticing that it’s the same size as today’s Prius, which has been on sale since 2003. A new Prius isn’t due until 2009, and it could pick up a couple of style tips from this 4500mm-long show car. Toyota freely admits the Hybrid X forges new design cues for hybrids, but insists this particular car is not the new Prius.

So it could point to the next Prius. Has it got intergalactic technology on board?

Strangely, no. Toyota said it had the latest Hybrid Synergy Drive petrol-electric system, but issued no further technical details. This isn’t that sort of working concept car, apparently. What it is, is a flight of fancy from the designers at the ED2 studio in southern France. It’s another model mixing synaesthesia with outright madness – you can tweak the interior for every bodily sense, changing the smell, light, touch and sound to match your mood. It sounds strange, but you can order sprightly smells to wake you up on the morning commute.

That huge glasshouse must make it pretty airy inside?

It certainly does; the Hybrid X is one of the most goldfish bowl-like concepts we’ve seen for a while from Toyota. Rear suicide doors make access and exit easier, too. And look at those skinny seats, whose injected foam construction lets them be much smaller. The rear two can swivel by 12 degrees, making it easier to have a chat with your neighbour, or snub them after a family argument.

Is Toyota still market leader in hybrids?

The Japanese brand has sold 50,000 hybrids in Europe, and 650,000 Prius models worldwide since 1997. It is confident that it will be flogging more than a million a year by the start of the next decade. To emphasise that hybrids aren’t just about saving fuel, Toyota also showed the sleek white FT-HS sports car concept from Detroit. Word is that it’s still destined for production eventually. We can’t wait – it looks exactly like a modern, 21st-century Supra should.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet