2010 Toyota Prius hybridelectric cars road test and details

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Toyota Prius III (2010-2015) test / car review

Prius performance, and efficiency

The Toyota can be an efficient car which helps to increase their mileage; it can be an daily driver; or it can be a sporty-feeling The feel of the car is dramatically altered by the driver chooses the Power or mode — or ignores both. Never before we encountered Power and Economy that had so much of an impact.

In and go traffic (or when your are in the car), the Economy mode is a large push down on the is required to get much movement, and it is needed to get serious acceleration. The mode makes the throttle more responsive, providing push for the movement and increasing the of power far beyond what is there. Most of the time, the mode is more than and in any case, if you push the pedal to the the motor provides instant then the engine comes in as the CVT a lower gear ratio.

of the reason for the new feeling of power is the capability of the gasoline engine, an 1.8 liter powerplant (the not the one used in the Corolla) of just 100 horsepower. In addition to providing zoom, its greater low-end helps on the highway. Owners can now better high-speed gas mileage the engine doesn’t have to as hard (cold-start mileage has been improved).

The weak of the Prius used to be highway now highway mileage is rated at 48 and you can fly down the highway or zoom up the getting up to speed well running out of acceleration lane. though you only feel initial burst of power the motor and CVT downshift, the engine remain at its peak power until you ease off the pedal, and from 0 to 65 is quite competitive. The important range, 0 to 40, is very as is passing power (e.g. 55 to Improved traction from the helps, as does the instant from the electric motor, gives an extra 2-3 miles per instantly, while most automatic-transmission cars will be on a downshift.

While 0-60 take around ten seconds, is not especially fast (or especially the powertrain is instantly responsive due to the and CVT.

At highway speeds, the is fairly quiet — more wind noise the better-insulated Camry, but nothing to about, and better than models. The engine is not a powerhouse at speeds, but it’s strong and reacts than the Camry automatic we tested just getting the Prius. It’s a far cry from the original, which was and loud on the freeway; now, you can at irresponsible speeds with else, and feel as though in a “regular” car while you’re it.

Again, the Prius can be treated as a family or commuter car, and consistently deliver gas mileage in the mpg range; or you can follow its many and shame the EPA 50 mpg estimate.

What’s the suspension of the Prius has been to the point that grip is no an issue. Whether you start out on a or a straight, the tires keep grip on the road and do not squeal. The cannot be taunted for its speed or at least not compared with sized, similarly priced

The engine was deliberately allowed to an un-Toyotalike amount of noise and at idle, though they down the noise at full (originally the engine was meant to an audible dis-incentive to high and power application is smoother it used to be across the board, the “stepping” feel of the first generation. not too annoying, but you certainly notice it the engine shuts off. One can encourage the engine to shut earlier by shutting off the heat or air until the engine warms up. case of the Prius training its to have more frugal


The powertrain is smooth under the engine powers a responsive a belt-driven automatic transmission discrete gears (“continuously CVTs have proven in longevity, and Toyota has been them since the first Nissan and Chrysler have adopted CVTs for “regular” cars. It a little getting used to, but the CVT is programmed and acts sensibly.

we prefer it to Toyota’s six-speed (at least as the latter is coupled to the Four).

When you drive the gear ratio changes are when you need sudden it takes little time for the to drop down to its power and it stays there as long as you full power. The result is not unique to hybrids) is that feels somewhat anti-climactic, with a conventional automatic you feel a downshift, rev, with the engine making more noise as it revs within each gear. a CVT, the audible cues are — the engine goes to its power and stays there.

The is pointlessly complicated. Push the to the left (encountering almost no and up for Reverse, Down for drive (if you your foot on the brake; don’t bother). From you can go straight down to get into B which provides low-gear-style (provided by the regenerative brakes) for down steep hills; or you can go Drive to Brake, by going Confused yet? One does get to it.

One also gets used to the Park button most of the because it automatically goes Park when you shut the One wonders why they bother the levers at all, when could pull a 1960s-Chrysler and go all buttons.

Speaking of shutting the Toyota uses a pushbutton if your foot is on the brake, it the engine. Otherwise, it goes accessory mode. We found it as well but got used to it, unlike the emergency brake, which was

The rubber pedal cover off almost immediately, and reattaching it work for long, so we got used to a brake pedal, which that sometimes we had to reengage it a few (because it’s push to push to release.) It’s for Toyota to use a separate brake

Under the hood, the Prius easier to maintain than pure-gas cars. The 1.8 engine is the first Toyota powerplant requires no belts under the improving fuel economy and maintenance and a point of failure.

The Toyota Prius’ 50 mile per neatly beats Ford’s new hybrid by nine miles per (Ford advertised the Fusion as the best mileage midsized but Prius is a hatchback.) Numerous helped it to pull ahead:

The is lighter and reduces torque by as much as 20%.

The inverter converter) has a direct cooling to reduce size and weight.

together, the inverter, motor and are smaller, and 20% lighter.

The regenerative system has been re-engineered and is controlled.

An electric water and a new exhaust gas recirculation system raise the engine’s efficiency.

was also saved through use of in the hood, rear hatch, suspension axle and brake and super high-tensile steel in the inner, center pillar, and reinforcement. Zero-to-60 acceleration has cut to 9.8 seconds, more than a faster.

Our gas mileage did not get as high as the EPA estimates. We tested acceleration and cornering; and of our trips were relatively in freezing weather when any will start out being efficient. We still never had a end with less than 25 per gallon, even a two-mile one-way journey. We drove to a destination during a snowfall, frequent stops; on the way, we 32 mpg, and on the way back, 48 mpg. on bad trips, we used far less than most other could dream of, including economy cars and other

The fuel economy of the Prius the Smart to shame, and it seats quite comfortably.

Engine in cold weather is speeded by a new exhaust heat recirculation which warms the antifreeze the engine is cold. For hot weather, a air conditioner is more efficient.

Prius surprise is the cornering. its low-rolling-resistance tires and heavy we expected the Prius to squeal its around any sort of hard but that didn’t happen. it stuck to the road like with very little roll (credit the battery for helping to make a low center of

To pay for this, the ride is now much than in the past, so that are felt more clearly and sharply. The end result is still an — at least, to those who to feel the road more. The is a little on the stiff side but not

The Prius was surprisingly good in rain, and on dry roads, whipping turns that some would have a problem The suspension uses front and a rear intermediate beam as before, but handling stability was by improving the stabilizer layout and and using higher caster The electric-boosted steering still have a sporty or “connected” but that’s a common complaint.

The were very effective, and still a little grabby, better modulated than in the Disc brakes are now used on all corners, replacing the front drum brakes.

Visibility was very good, though the bar going across the hatch was intrusive, as was the decision to have the two of the hatch with different On the lighter side, the lower seemed fairly impervious to and snow blockages, and did not fog much; the top had its own wiper/washer, and both parts had defroster elements. The headlights strange but effective, using an bare bulb for parking headlights mounted on the far outside, and high beams.

The passenger-side wipers was mounted on a special which allowed it to clear of the glass.

The front defroster was ineffectual, and took a long to defog the windshield.

Stylistically, the seems to be a good looking especially given that it was with aerodynamics in mind. The of the Prius is the same as the prior but the top of the roof was moved 3.9 inches to the for better rear headroom and drag. The front cowl was forward slightly, and while the is unchanged, the overall length by half an inch.

Toyota that the Prius received wind tunnel hours of than any other Toyota in the drag coefficient (cD) from an excellent 0.26 on the 2009 to 0.25 on the 2010. focused on the shape of the body, wheelhouse liner and shape of the changing the shape of the fender and underfloor, and adding a fin at the rear cover to increase linear

2010 Toyota Prius and gauges

The interior is stylish and designed, with swoopy curves but not too many curves, and touches such as narrow, vents (which can, it be said, be hard to arrange so the doesn’t get an unpleasant wind). The stack was redefined, brought out from the dashboard to the center between the front seats, a covered cupholder up top, underneath the sliding console, and a storage area underneath the (the photos show it clearly). This allowed to bring the shifter up, making it convenient (and getting it from the dashboard), and to the controls accessible, and operated with buttons so that drivers can gloves and still control car.

The buttons are also all so you can use them at night without memorized their positions.

an especially good move, how many controls and gadgets the has. The stereo has AM, FM, Satellite, CD, and hard buttons, all separated to life easier for the driver, again, all backlit. There are two for volume and tuning, — unfortunately, setting bass, balance, and fade still going through soft and multiple screens (hard button; press Sound on right of screen; drag on screen).

Now, why could not just build in its usual Tune to get into audio then turn the knob to system, and have the screen along?

The optional voice-activated system adds hard for destination, map, setup, and settings. Then there is the system, which provides you a calendar, phone controls, and map Somewhere in there is maintenance too.

Oddly, vehicle are not set through the nav system, but through the button on the steering wheel a painful and counter-intuitive process just two buttons, and with that are not explained. Numerous cannot be altered by the driver, an odd given how many computers the Prius and how well some interfaces are set up until one considers the nav system is an option.

A built in camera (which comes the nav system) takes over the automatically when the driver into Reverse; it works in day or night, and does very in low-light situations.

The climate system is a mixed bag. The thermostatic control is easy — press Temp Up or — and the fan control is easy which is good given how the fan can be on Auto. The main issue we is with the Mode button; the of fans is made by pressing repeatedly until you get what you which is just asking for when someone is supposed to be

A new system is Touch Tracer; it the steering wheel control up to the instrument panel, where it the information already there. A is worth a thousand words; is what happens when you one of the steering wheel buttons. The indicators appear on a separate of the screen, above the rest.

too, is standard.

We missed an analog speedometer sitting in front of the driver, but at least the speedomeeter had large, clear, figures. (The Chrysler shows the future of digital analog dials shown on an LCD with the driver able to them at will.) On the right of the speedometer is a gas mileage gauge shows instant mileage as a bar and on the left is the digital gas gauge. do you see a tachometer, engine temperature, or conventional display; even the is unconventional, and only comes up if you ask it to (by Trip and giving up the trip mileage/speed and distance to empty

Instead, the Prius provides information about its operations and efficiency, with your of an animated diagram showing the power is going (which we do not since it’s a serious of distraction), a trip display minute-by-minute histograms of consumption by average speed and mileage the last reset, and a display gas mileage per full trip.

The minute display is reset time you start the car (except the the per-trip is continuous, and shows the gas mileage achieved on each along with the miles The little cars in the by-minute indicated where 30 watt-hours of were regenerated by the brakes.

The panel also shows the mode (electric, power, or and cruise control status. Toyota didn’t provide a speedometer, they did spring for indicators to tell when the control is on, and when a speed is in, which is a nice touch remains unusual. All of the displays consistently clear and easy to protected from direct by a large brow and bright to be seen regardless.

On a foggy, day, the instrument panel up, actually hiding the speedometer; on the defroster cleared it almost indicating that Toyota had the problem and resolved it.

Toyota interior and seats

The front were more supportive the thigh than those of the and helped us to drive the Prius day without back problems. The seats quietly gripped the around hard turns and little adjustment for comfort. In the new front seat design legroom with a new contoured that provided rear with more space.

The was well lit at night, with opera style lights.

The area of the new Prius was expanded 0.4 in length and 2.2 inches in width by a new and an improved layout of the battery unit; it remains nicely in length and width, but shallow. A cover is supplied to hide in the cargo area, or at least that isn’t very In our test car, the plastic the cover hooked into was up poorly on both sides.

The net worked well in the upright but there was no way to attach it to the floor-mounted net holds on the floor of the cargo bay by the seats (as a hold-down net).

The Prius uses plant-derived, plastics, known as “ecological in the seat cushion foam, side trim, scuff and deck trim cover. plastic emits less CO2 and reduce petroleum use. It was for us to tell the difference between plastics and the prior ones.

Toyota Electric Cars

As past Priuses, a touch of the door handle unlocked the door; no such provision was this time for other or the trunk, which had to be unlocked the fob or from the interior switch pointed out that the car could be to unlock all the doors at once, a process in the owner’s manual; but still means going to the side). The cargo bay used the annoying power release across manufacturers in newer As for locking, the buttons used on models were replaced by one touch-sensitive area on the driver’s for unlocking and another, indicated by for locking.

Up front, there numerous areas to put small and items, including rigid, cupholders in the center console lid-covered, one under the sliding dual glove compartments, as small map pockets in the doors; and the padded area underneath the

2010 Toyota Prius gizmos, gadgets

A plug-in hybrid system at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto

The remote air-conditioning system is the system in the world to function on power alone and that can be operated, so the driver can adjust the temperature for comfort before in the car. It does seem to be at with the general theme; appropriate for a fuel-sipper is the optional with solar panels, a ventilator to prevent the cabin becoming an oven while That makes the cool-down shorter when the driver reducing the use of air conditioning.

Optional LED for the low beams and in the tail and stop cut energy use. These to replace the prior high-intensity lamp option.

The new Prius was to comply with class-top collision safety performance in region of sale, and to accommodate requirements in the future. Front and side curtain airbags, and passenger seat-mounted side and knee airbags are standard. headrests are used in both seats to prevent whiplash in a

Anti-lock Brake System Electronic Brake Distribution Brake Assist (BA), traction control (TRAC) and Stability Control (VSC) are all

Toyota’s Dynamic Radar Control, which uses to maintain a safe distance the car in front (reducing speed as is optional; buyers also get Keep Assist, which the driver stay within lane, and the Pre-Collision System, retracts seatbelts and applies the in certain conditions when a is unavoidable, presumably using data from the cruise

The new “Intelligent Parking Assist” has settings to help guide the car parking spaces. Safety Toyota’s first safety and service, echoes OnStar.

environmental impact

Prius most of whom have actually driven one, to have numerous problems the cars. The complaints seen often are power (which is than sufficient, especially the nature of the buyers (who all live in Long Island and despite Toyota’s sales registration figures, and anyone you may know), the voting habits or beliefs of the buyers, and the idea overall, the Prius is more to the environment than a gas-powered The final statement is hard to especially with one group that, across its full the most environmentally friendly is the heavy Jeep Wrangler, isn’t know for fuel (16 city, 24 highway, around the as competitors from Toyota and We can’t debate that, but we can Toyota’s statement:

The new Prius is using processes that pollution in every stage of life, from production and through to disposal. The third-generation extends its record of continuous in fuel economy. The first-generation which was rated 41 EPA combined was replaced by the 2005 model, EPA at 46 mpg, combined city/highway.

a combination of technologies, fuel was increased to an estimated 50 miles per (48/52) for the new Prius.

It used to be we only recommended the Prius for who put in mostly city or suburban but with the better highway that isn’t the case; those who put on mostly highway may still be better served a little diesel.

Prius

The base price of the Toyota is $23,750, including destination. includes a wide array of features, most of which already been noted. additional features are tire monitors (though without a readout for each tire), engine immobilizer, rear intermittent wipers for front and power heated outside that fold in as needed, steering wheel with controls, JBL six-disc CD changer satellite radio, auxiliary and BlueTooth connectivity, six-way driver’s seat (and adjustable front passenger cruise, auto climate overhead console with map and two 12 volt outlets.

The status displays and trip numerous airbags, stability and many other features are all

Our test car weighed the scales at in the range of the Toyota Camry thanks to three options. The was the $50 cargo net, which has a $45 net profit; followed by the $200 floor mats (including one for the bay). The bulk of the added was the $3,600 solar roof which included the namesake roof (which, if you recall, a handy ventilator, just the for those who commute to an open lot in hot climates.) The pain of the solar is offset by the added goodies it with, namely remote air (an odd choice since you don’t need the remote air if you have the and the voice-activated touch-screen navigation with traffic warnings, phone capability, and backup

This cuts the CD changer to discs but adds two speakers, for a of eight and a satisfying sound For most people, the base is a good deal; with the roof, the price might be it a bit, but for those who have the it’s still competitive numerous gas-powered cars and

The Prius is made in Japan, with most major Toyota has announced that it to move some production to the States, though it has not said major components, such as and batteries, would be made.

The is an easy car to drive and to live At less than the cost of a Camry SE automatic, it provides responsiveness, a more fun feel, and comfort and sound insulation, roughly double the mileage. small surprise that people seeking a new family car to the Prius and find it to be the best for the money — indeed, it can be argued even without the exceptional gas it would be a good value.

In the we could complain about the on the highway, or the acceleration, or the feel. it’s hard to find for complaint, other than the of an analog speedometer in front of the It’s easy to see why the Prius has a lead in sales over any hybrid car —  why some dealers waiting lists — and why so Toyota Prius drivers are not “Hollywood hypocrites,” or, in short, most, in our experience, are perfectly people, modest people, who don’t feel they to prove anything to anyone.

chose the Prius because it was the practical car for them, and it’s to argue with that; it would probably be the most car for me, as well.

Toyota Prius

1.8-liter four-cylinder engine VVT-i, 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 105 @ 4,000 rpm

Electric motor: magnet synchronous motor by NiMH battery pack, 80 lb-ft torque

Emission SULEV (with AT-PZEV)

controlled continuously variable driving the front wheels

fuel economy: 50 mpg (combined)*

Size: 15-inch: 195/65R15; 215/45R17 (optional); both use alloy wheels

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