By Joe Wiesenfelder on January 10, 2012
Toyota's NS4 plug-in hybrid concept is amazingly efficient — not simply fuel efficient, it attempts to solve a bunch of challenges in one package. Toyota says the concept investigates:
In an attempt to get modern, the NS4 puts MyFord Touch to shame by eliminating almost all physical buttons. More functions than ever are incorporated into a large touch-screen. Developed with Microsoft, Intel and Salesforce, the system is claimed to minimize distractions.
The NS4 has a variety of lane departure and collision mitigation systems. Perhaps the most appealing feature, if expensive, is a pop-up hood structure that lifts the rear of the hood in case of pedestrian contact. This provides crush space to protect the poor guy. Even if you don't worry about pedestrians, or care about their well-being, this would be a great way for automakers to design their cars for looks. Currently, pedestrian-crash requirements around the globe are forcing automakers to build their vehicles’ hoods higher, styling be dammed.
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Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, leads the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe