Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Embrace Your Inner Hamster

Toyota has recently unveiled its 2010 Prius, and it's got a lot of nifty new features like a solar roof which powers a fan to help keep the interior of your car cool by circulating air from the outside. I know it's the dead of winter and some of you may be thinking how glorious it would be to step into a 125º car right now; but you know as well as I do that when it's 100º outside, the last thing you want to do is get into your 125º car. I imagine this is even worse if you have small children. I haven't met a kid yet who likes being hot, sweaty, tired AND strapped into a car seat. There is also a button on the key fob that will activate the A/C from 30 feet away. How cool is that? Now, I'm not sure if this solar fan thing works no matter what or if there is a way to disable this feature in the winter, but I would imagine that the Toyota folks have thought of that.

So, I'm loving the new features on the Prius. It has also been redesigned to be slightly sportier looking, nothing big, it still looks like a Prius, but a Prius that's trying to look less like a hamster. This is where I am conflicted. You may recall that one of the things that I like about the Prius is that it's cute, but, well, it's no Mustang.  It appears the Toyota people read my blog and tried to address this issue (What? You don't know that they didn't.), but here's the thing:  If you're going to make a car that looks like a hamster, then embrace that and make it as hamster-y cute as you can. The Prius still looks like a hamster, but now it looks like a hamster that is trying to look sporty, maybe more like a jack rabbit. If you're going to make a sporty car, then make it sporty, but don't make a sporty hamster.

What do you guys think?  You can open the links below in separate windows and compare them side-by-side.  
Here is the 2009 Prius, embracing its inner hamster.
Here is the 2010 Prius, trying to make you forget that it looks like a hamster. 
Also, just because I like to bring it up, here is the Tesla Roadster, looking nothing like a hamster but also costing $109,000 AND, as I have just discovered, listed in the #2 spot on Time's Best Inventions of 2008 list .  

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