Some cars are just naturally, and obviously cool, like the Dodge Challenger, Jaguar E-Type, and almost every Aston Martin ever made. However, some are cool in a different way; they are undercover cool. People hate on them to no end, and yet, these things are persistent.
So, the Toyota Prius then. I would argue that this car is, or at least was up until recently, cool in a weird, obscure way. The only reason I am writing about this is because I am not aware of any other car that is this kind of cool.
Before anyone in a muscle car or lifted pickup truck hunts me down and does unpleasurable things to me, let me explain.
The hybrid power was thought to be needlessly nerdy and, for lack of a better term, lame. However, the Prius used the same basic powertrain as the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, both of which are some of the most insane Hypercars ever made. If you do not know what I am talking about, look them up. Now tell me those are nerdy and lame.
That being said, I will not try to explain how these systems work because if I do, I will possibly put you and definitely me into a coma.
The largest part of what made it cool actually had nothing to do with the car itself. It was how people that knew nothing about cars (the vast majority of people) perceived it.
Additionally, the Prius was not cheap, slow, and about as efficient as an equivalently sized diesel car, not that practical, and it was boring to both drive and look at.
The Prius was branded and marketed as a car that was so eco-friendly, that the only way it could be more so would be to have baby polar bears coming out of the exhausts, even though it was anything but.
The rare and difficult to get metals needed to construct the electric motors and the batteries had to be mined from all over the world and the assembly process caused an immense amount of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.
But, nobody knew that. So when you drove around in a Prius you were effectively telling the world that you were sacrificing speed, practicality, fun, design, and money so you can be ever so slightly kinder to the environment.
In our society today, that is incredibly cool. We Americans love to shout from the rooftops all of the quiet little selfless things we do.
This really all began when Leonardo DiCaprio drove an original Prius to the Oscars in the early 2000s.
But you might say ‘Aha, the only people that drive Prii (the plural of Prius) are basic white girls at Starbucks and old, bald dads.’ Not anymore.
The Prius is the opposite of something I like to call the ‘Wrangler effect.’ The Jeep Wrangler is, unlike the Prius, inherently cool, you can take the doors and roof off and drive wherever you want in a roll cage on wheels.
However, the people that buy Wranglers, make it un-cool. The basic white girls and old, chubby, bald guys are all in Wranglers now.
So maybe, don’t give the Prius that much hate. Besides, it’s almost dead anyway.