Making its debut today on the automaker's Detroit stand is an advanced new plug-in hybrid concept dubbed the NS4, a vehicle that signifies Toyota’s vision for future mobility and in particular connectivity and the human interface.
The aim of the project was to create a mid-size vehicle that could go on sale in global markets by 2015.
And although the NS4 features hybrid technology, Toyota is keen to stress that it’s not part of the Prius family, either now or in the future, though we could very well see a production version spawned.
There’s been no mention of powertrain specs, but Toyota says that a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system lies under the concept’s sheet metal. The key changes have been a reduction in the number of components as well as their weight and size compared with the automaker’s current technology. Toyota boasts the setup offers improved overall fuel economy, better acceleration and longer all-electric range, all while maintaining a short charge time.
The NS4 also signals a new styling direction for Toyota, though with that nose we can’t say it’s a good one. According to its designers, the NS4’s lines reflect a new take on the aerodynamics of the modified triangle, with a low height and cabin-forward tilt.
As for the connectivity and human interface features, the NS4 comes with a special multi-touch screen that’s designed to look and feel like the one on a smartphone. This can be used to control everything from the air conditioning to the audio system and even battery-charging and navigation functions. Not only that, but the system is capable of “learning” driver preferences and habits to anticipate driver responses in specific environments and situations.
Other advanced features on the NS4 include a next generation Pre-Collision System that relies on radar and camera monitoring, adaptive headlights, cameras that replace the side mirrors, and special glass that blocks out UV rays.
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