Name: Toyota CS&S
Debuted: 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show
Specs: hybrid powertrain with 1.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor, all-wheel drive, 2+2 interior, 0-62 mph in 8.6 seconds, 127-mph top speed
Why We Remember It Now:
Because it shows how the hybrid powertrain of a rather boring model like the Prius can be put to good use in a car with much more pizzaz. Plus, it’s an adorable-looking thing. There weren’t any plans to put the concept in production as it was created purely as a design study and also to show off the advantages of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
Beyond the cutesy appearance was a decent sports car for 2003 standards, one that paired a naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine actually sat in the middle to drive the rear wheels, whereas the electric motor powered the front axle. That way, the CS&S actually had an all-wheel-drive layout.
Details about the combined output of the hybrid powertrain were never released, but Toyota estimated at that time the concept could do 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 8.6 seconds and top out at 127 mph (204 kph).
In terms of size, the CS&S was bigger than the MR-2 and at the same time smaller than the Celica which were both still in production back in 2003. The interior cabin was also quite interesting as it had what Toyota called a “Space Touch” multi-function system that showed holographic projections, allowing the driver to “touch” those holograms in order to access various functions of the car. Pretty neat, isn’t it? In addition, it also had a retractable canopy to effectively switch from a two- to a four-seat interior.
As you might have guessed already, the car’s “CS&S” moniker had nothing to do with the style sheet language “Cascading Style Sheets” (CSS). Instead, the acronym stood for “Compact Sports & Specialty.”