Ian Cartabiano is a designer we have lots of time for at MotorHub. His latest creation is the Toyota Aygo X Prologue – a funky, tiny, town car with a huge amount of attitude.
Ian is president of ED2 (Toyota European Design Development) and he believes that everybody deserves a cool car. So what is this car? Ian says: “We call it the Aygo X prologue, because it’s the next step in development. It’s a teaser, if you will, maybe it’s a preview. The aim of this project was to re-imagine the A segment (city car). In a segment overlooked by others, we saw opportunity, we strongly believed that there was a chance to bring bold, exciting and passionate design into this segment, we found that a lot of cars in this A segment are cute. So we wanted to shake things up a bit.” Most other manufacturers are leaving the sector due to poor profitability – so hats off to Toyota for continuing to build small city cars.
Ian continued… “With the Aygo X prologue, we wanted to create a design that had a fun image, a naughty attitude. And we found during the pandemic that although many people live in urban areas, there is a desire to get out as well. We really wanted to create a vehicle that was go anywhere and do anything. And because this car was specifically designed for Europe, we really looked at it as a completely European design process. From start to finish. We developed new processes, new ways to create design in a faster cycle. We combined hand sketching, digital study modelling, 3D printing and VR design reviews to create this stunning concept that you’ll see here. We assigned a small, dedicated team from start to finish to focus on a unified message all the way through the project. And we did it here at.”
I asked Ian as part of a one to one interview about the likelihood of the car making it through to production especially with it huge 19 inch alloy wheels. He said that the GAB platform it uses allows for large wheels, and while 19s on this car might not make it to production he said I shouldn’t be surprised at how big the next generation Aygo’s wheel could be. Ian described the Aygo X Prologue as a ‘one voice product’ that it was heaven to design for a number of reasons. The prologue is aimed at present and future customers who see a car as a personal statement. Unlike many city cars that are all about maximising cabin space even at the expense of styling, Ian told me the Aygo X Prologue was still slightly larger in side than the current Aygo.
Ian told me of the car’s three dominant design features; the face, the surfacing and the car’s stance. Bi-tone paint played a big part in its design and was included from the getgo. The positioning of the smart cut line (split) and the ratio of coloured paint to black paint was critical to deliver the mood he wanted the car to express. He explained how the front of the car looks as if it is pushed up and ready to pounce off into the distance, while the cabin looks like a very secure and distinct area made all the more so by the positioning of the large wheels on the car’s extremities. Jokingly I warned him not to say it was ‘dynamic’ (an overused phrase by designers) but he did say that the car’s stance was similar to a parkour athlete ready to leap… (we’ll allow him that one!)
Ian’s creation clearly looks like a lot of fun Ian: “As a car person, I want to drive this car. And I always think that’s a good test of the final result. As designers, the creation process is what we live for. Sometimes it can be a little bit of a torturous process because you’re always waiting to see the final result. And when you finally see it, it’s the best feeling on Earth. It’s why I’m still a car designer after all these years. I truly love this job. I get excited every time I see the final product and I’m really proud of the team at for creating such a beautiful Aygo X prologue that’s going to revolutionise and change the A-segment.”
In another interview with Lance Scott I asked about new challenges in design with the transition to electrification. The Aygo X Prologue was designed with a petrol engine initially in mind. He told us “designing any car is a challenge but with electric cars for example you can have a lower hood height, and with the battery pack underfloor this means you often get higher seating and this leads to more crossover styling. Aerodynamic performance is very important with EVs and this can reflect in the car’s centre line silhouette. With EVs “We have the whole of the front of the car to play with although EVs still need cooling. A face (even in a car) needs to have a mouth. There are a lot of areas we can work on and of course remembering the importance of aerodynamics.” He went on to say “Perceived quality is very important – regardless of the size of car”. The Aygo X Prologue is a high quality stand-alone Toyota product so ED2 had a lot of freedom. The take away phrase from Lance was that ED2 designers want to do cool designs.While no interior shots were shown to us, the Aygo X Prologue to our eyes looks ready to go. Sadly we will just have to wait and see how much of it makes it through to the new Toyota Aygo in the not so distant future.