Cars: Take A Drive On The Wild Side

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.



Designer: Toyota

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.



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.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.