The dominant design theme among the cars that won IDEA awards for 2004 is out-of-the-box thinking. This was a year for innovation. The Chevy Super Sport Roadster melds classic pickup-truck and roadster designs to create an entirely new vehicle. The second-generation Toyota Prius puts hybrid technology inside a sleek, appealing skin. The Toyota Scion xB throws out the conventional aerodynamic look for a boxy shape and lets consumers personalize their cars with side-door graphics. And the Ford Cobra is a dream -- a concept car stripped down to bare essentials for speed. Dream on.
Targeting Gen Y, its square shape and sharp edges hunker down over the wheels. There are many options for customizing the car, such as body-side graphics. The second row of seats folds down -- or comes out -- to make room for bikes, surfboards, and other gear. Half the buyers so far are under 35. $14,165.
FORD COBRA CONCEPT
Designer: Ford Motor
It's all about speed, and this rendition of the Cobra has nothing to slow it down: no side mirrors, no outside door handles, no windshield wipers, not even a convertible top. Pure power and muscle.
Designer: Calty Design Research; Toyota Motor; Techno Art Research
This second-generation hybrid vehicle creates synergy between ecology and fun. The four-door sedan doesn't look like a boring "green" car but an exciting automobile that also, by the way, has a gasoline-electric engine. $20,510.