Toyota Hybrid-R: A Pursuit of the Ultimate Compromise?
There are a few things various people place as priorities when it comes to choosing a car: Speed, economy, and practicality. What if, finally, there was a car that could provide all three, while still remaining affordable enough for the average person to purchase it?
Introducing the Toyota Hybrid-R. The name says a lot – Toyota itself is known for producing high quality cars that provide many years of performance for a low price, hybrids are known for getting great gas mileage (especially when it comes to Toyota, such as their Prius line), and Toyota’s “R” has a legendary racing implication. When someone sees “R”, they expect power, and this is one case where Toyota doesn’t fail to deliver.
How much power from a hybrid would you expect? Probably not 420 horsepower, which is exactly what the Hybrid-R delivers. It’s like a Prius, if a Prius were extremely pissed off and determined to overtake every car on the motorway.
The engine itself may only be 1.6 liters, but it’s powered by a turbo charger to force more air into the cylinders than they would normally be able to pull in. In addition, the gas engine is backed up by a large electric motor (powered by the onboard batteries, which recharge as the car drives) that boosts the power to the 420 HP total.
The advantage of an electric engine is that it can produce all of its power from a standstill, giving this car a huge advantage over gas only models. From the line, it can launch with full torque, so it can shoot forward and accelerate to 60 faster than you might be able to imagine.
Putting the Power to the Ground
When you have a lot of power, it’s useless if you can’t put it to the ground and gain traction. One of the problems with a lot of hatches that rival the Hyrbrid R is that they are front wheel drive. That means that on launch, the weight shifts to the back, causing the front wheels to spin. Once they do gain traction, they have a problem with torque steer, causing the car to pull to one side as the tires gain grip.
The Hybrid R solves this by using all wheel drive, something rare from a car of this class. That helps lower the zero to sixty time, and increases traction coming out of corners, helping make this more of a sporty hatch than it might otherwise be. Another bonus is added traction when the weather begins to turn south.
Concept or Production?
One problem with great concept vehicles is that many of them don’t ever make it to production. It’s not that they aren’t great cars, but the market has to be there. There can be thousands of screaming die hard fans that want to see it make the assembly line, but if the average household consumer has no interest in buying it, it will never happen.
The problem with the Hybrid R is that, even if it is a great car, it crosses a line that refines their target demographic to too small of a number. They can’t make cars just for green minded youths who want to tear up all of the corners – they have to make something the everyday person would want, and sadly, the Hybrid R might not be that car. It doesn’t look hopeful for this car to ever see production, but many of us are hoping Toyota decides to push forward anyway. It would be a nice change to the Prius models they produce today.