Touted by Toyota as the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, and listed by the EPA as the most fuel-efficient gasoline car currently for sale in North America, the Toyota Prius is a midsize, hybrid gasoline-electric hatchback. In EPA testing, the Prius earns fuel economy ratings of 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. Now in its third generation, the Toyota Prius is all-new and improved for 2010.
- All-new for 2010
- Roomier than its predecessor
- Improved fuel economy
- Simplified interior controls
- Available solar sunroof
- Available Intelligent Park Assist
- Updated 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter gasoline engine and 80-horsepower electric motor
- Electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
The Toyota Prius is one of the first \"full hybrids\" to enter the market, and the first to be mass-produced. It's now in its third generation, having undergone an extensive redesign for the 2010 model year. It's known for its fuel efficiency and low emissions. The Prius can run on electricity or gasoline alone, or a combination of both. Its electric motors can recharge while the car is running.
The 2010 Toyota Prius is available in four trim levels, numbered II through V. (A few base-levels Prius I cars were apparently produced but not made generally available.) Standard equipment on the Prius II includes 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and power heated mirrors. Features are gradually added to succeeding trim levels. The top-of-the-line Prius V includes 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and a premium sound system. The Prius' optional sunroof includes solar panels, which power a ventilation system that Toyota says prevents dramatic temperature change when the car isn't in use, and allows the driver to turn on the air conditioning in advance of entering the vehicle.
A combination of a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motors produces 134 horsepower, and delivers 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The 2010 Toyota Prius employs a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive.
Standard safety features on the 2010 Toyota Prius include anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front side air bags, driver's knee air bag, and side curtain air bags. Pre-impact and lane-departure warning devices are optional. In government crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Prius 4 (out of 5) stars for driver and front-passenger protection in front-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Prius the highest-possible \"Good\" ratings in frontal-offset, rear-, and side-impact tests.
Starting MSRPs for the 2010 Toyota Prius ranged from $21,400 to $28,070.