Detroit 2012: Toyota NS4 concept

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

We don’t usually spend too much time covering Toyotas here at AUSmotive. But while going through the pics for our Detroit Motor Show gallery we thought, credit where credit is due, this Toyota NS4 concept actually looks half decent.

So we figured we’d take a proper look at the car, which Toyota says uses a more efficient “next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system”.

Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said, “NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s take on the human connection to the car with technology that considers both emotional and rational relationships, person-to-car and car-to-society.

“The continued success of our conventional hybrid vehicles has laid strong groundwork for market acceptance of future advanced technologies.”

Taking centre stage in that human connection is the smartphone-inspired Human Machine Interface (HMI). As well as handling the expected duties of basic driver information and HVAC controls, the HMI system has the ability to learn the preferences of the driver and anticipate certain responses.

Sounds interesting, if a little scary as well. Find out more after the break.

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota NS4 concept, Detroit 2012

Toyota reveals NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept

11 January 2012 – Toyota today revealed the NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept vehicle at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The NS4 presents a Toyota vision for future mobility with a focus on connectivity and the human interface.

Toyota engineers were challenged to design a new mid-sized concept for potential global market introduction by 2015.

The NS4 concept is a dedicated plug-in hybrid, separate from the Prius family, designed with future mobility requirements in mind.

“In this digital age, cars are becoming another spoke in the wheel of our electronic connectivity,” said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

“NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s take on the human connection to the car with technology that considers both emotional and rational relationships, person-to-car and car-to-society.

“The continued success of our conventional hybrid vehicles has laid strong groundwork for market acceptance of future advanced technologies.

“NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the safety, efficiency and convenience of future mobility for people everywhere.”

NS4’s advanced powertrain targets a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system that is smaller and lighter with improved fuel economy, better acceleration and longer electric range, while maintaining a short charge time.

Sleek, futuristic styling

The NS4 concept signals a new styling direction for Toyota, aimed at creating an emotional connection with consumers.

Styling lines reflect a new take on aerodynamics with a low vehicle height and cabin-forward tilt.

The distinctive open trapezoid grille is accented by a floating lower spoiler and wing-like daytime running lights wrapping around to a sculpted fender.

Rear lamps wrap around the sides of the vehicle to quarter sections layered into blistered fenders, while the rear lamp wings create a sharp edge and the effect of a rear spoiler.

The A-pillars are ultra thin for improved driver visibility while maintaining roof-crush integrity. The roof-line profile, liftback design and powered swan-wing doors create greater accessibility and efficient functionality.

Increased connectivity

The NS4 concept has a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) that is built around a multi-touch screen with the look and feel of a smartphone.

Simple and intuitive, it conveys information quickly with minimum distractions and maximum driver awareness. It will also direct air-conditioning, audio, battery-charge and navigation functions.

The HMI system is even capable of “learning” driver preferences and habits to anticipate driver responses in specific environments and situations.

State-of-the-art safety features

The NS4 introduces a next-generation Pre-Collision System (PCS) with lane departure, rear-end and pedestrian collision-avoidance technologies designed to predict collisions under certain circumstances and help avoid them.

Using millimetre-wave radar, stereo cameras and near-infrared beams, it can help avoid collisions by applying the brakes and manipulating steering.

Adaptive Driving Beam headlights help prevent blinding glare to oncoming drivers and pedestrians at night.

NS4’s pop-up bonnet structure automatically raises the rear of the bonnet to increase the space underneath, helping to reduce pedestrian head injuries caused by a collision with the front of the vehicle, within certain speed ranges.

A Blind Spot Monitor detects a vehicle in the adjacent lane and visually alerts the driver with indicators in the upper dash.

NS4 introduces four new glass technologies to improve driver visibility and reduce fuel consumption:

  • Hydrophobic coating – Fluorine-coated glass causes rain drops to form into semi-spherical shapes for improved visibility.
  • Anti-fog film – A high-performance resin with anti-fogging characteristics and increased durability.
  • High ultraviolet (UV) absorbing inner-layer – Removes 99 per cent of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Anti-solar film with radio-wave transparency – Reduces the internal vehicle temperature and improves electronic device functionality

Inner and outer rear-view mirrors have been replaced with cameras that provide the driver with a wider view than conventional rear-view mirrors.