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Toyota’s Prius Prime will feature a unique aerodynamic rear window

One of the most eye-catching elements of Toyota’s new Prius Prime may not be its Tesla-inspired center touchscreen, but a slightly concave rear window that channels air over the spoiler and was unnoticed during our first look.

Toyota expects the plug-in hybrid will have a drag coefficient “among the lowest for production sedans,” though the company has yet to claim a specific number. The uniquely-shaped window, along with another new feature, grille shutters that automatically close when the radiator is not in use, are likely major contributors to that figure.

The rear glass panel is certainly more expensive to manufacture than a typical window, so it is a bit surprising to find such a unique feature in a mass market vehicle. The Tesla Model X is, for example, also pushing the limits of automotive glass technology with its enormous cockpit-style windscreen, but starts at a price nearly triple that of the Prius.

2017_Toyota_Prius_Prime_02The 2017 Prius Prime is expected to have 22 miles EV range, 600 miles combined range, and a 120+ MPGe rating. It will arrive in showrooms this fall.

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  1. freedomev - 7 years ago

    A small detail is the top window gap will trip the airflow before it gets to the window, making it moot as far as aero goes.

  2. Mitchell - 7 years ago

    “The Tesla Model X is, for example, also pushing the limits of automotive glass technology with its enormous cockpit-style windscreen, but starts at a price nearly triple that of the Prius.” And it’s worth every penny of it. Don’t even consider comparing a Prius to a Tesla. You don’t even have to mention anything about money. People with brains know the difference.

  3. Mitchell - 7 years ago

    I can’t decide whether it’s actually good looking or just radical. A green car does not have the requirement of being ugly. That’s why I can’t understand how there can be so many of them, I3, Leaf, and the Bolt to name a few.

  4. amp - 7 years ago

    I have a Prius V and don’t get anywhere near the advertised fuel consumption while driving at real world speeds, even at 100km/h on the highway, in spring with no heat or AC and not using the brakes and tickling the accelerator. The only time I got close was with significant constructions zones and driving at 80km/h a lot and then I got around the rated 4.8L/100km highway efficiency. The highway speed limit where I live is 100km/h so 80km/h in the slow lane is not realistic use and the rated efficiency is just not achievable in real life.

    It would be nice if Toyota would make an affordable pure electric with Tesla-level energy efficiency and range rather than trying to squeeze out another tiny bit of efficiency via strange looking aerodynamic styling from a compromised hybrid vehicle that already doesn’t deliver on its promises in real world use. Do that after you get a vehicle platform that delivers.

    I will be reserving my Model 3 on Thursday AM in my local store and lease busting my Prius early when the 3 arrives in 2018. I am never buying (or leasing) an inefficient ICE (or hybrid ICE) car again, even if they do sell them with funky crooked glass that looks like they backed into a telegraph pole, that ‘look’ was not on my top ten list of reasons to buy a vehicle … I want a car that goes fast, not one with go-faster creases in the sheet metal. I want a car that is efficient, not that promises it but doesn’t deliver. I want a car that delivers meaningful innovation and utility, not funky frivolity that tries to look cool.

    • František Kubiš Jr. - 7 years ago

      wow, where do you live? 100km/h is really slow! We have 130km/h limit and 150km/h is being considered on few highways… Not to mention German Autobahn…

  5. Matthias - 7 years ago

    Toyota and Tesla seem to borrow ideas from (mass produced) French cars:

    Prius Prime: please compare to Peugeot RCZ’s “double bubble” rear window (mass produced 2010-2015, starting from 26kEuro incl. 19% VAT)

    Model X: please compare with windscreen of the Citroen C4 Picasso (starting from 21kEuro incl. 19% VAT). In production since 2006.

    Looking at the price tags of both examples, it seems not to be too expensive to produce the windows. If the French have it since 2006 (windscreen) and 2010 (rear window), it is certainly not “pushing the limits of automotive glass technology” in 2016.

    PS: I do like following your blog.

  6. František Kubiš Jr. - 7 years ago

    What is the MPG when battery gets deplated? It maybe has 120 MPGe when battery is full, but once deplated (after 22 miles) it is only a hybrid.

  7. Andrew Boter Bugenis - 7 years ago

    Man that’s gonna be a pain to clean snow off of.