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2010 Toyota Prius Review
In the U.S. alone, Toyota has sold more than 670,000 Prius hybrid models. The car has become an icon of the environmental movement. We’ve just driven the all-new, third-generation Prius, and we believe that it will continue to be popular with the eco-conscious.
Evolutionary describes the new Prius’s new shape. The all-new design rides on the same wheelbase as the second-generation model (106.3 inches). While the roof is the same height, the peak roof height has been shifted back almost four inches. The move gives the Prius a more wedge-like shape for improved interior room and reduced aerodynamic drag. According to Toyota, the Prius achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.25, which is among the best in the world for production cars.
Even thought the 2010 Prius is slightly larger and carries more features than the outgoing car, its combined mpg rating has increased to 50 mpg, up from 46 mpg for the 2009 model. Toyota achieves this mileage using a 98-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine running on the ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle. The engine’s extra size enables it to make more torque (105 lb-ft), and although it runs counter to conventional thinking, the additional torque enables the engine to get better highway fuel economy (because the engine can run at lower engine speeds).
The motor portion of the Prius hybrid system produces a peak 80 horsepower, and when combined with the engine, results in a maximum powertrain output of 134 horsepower. Acceleration should be more than ample.
Additionally eco-enhancements include seemingly dull engineering advancements such as an electrically-driven water pump. Water pumps are normally driven by the engine’s crankshaft, and continuously sapped power even when water flow wasn’t necessary. The beauty of the new system is its improved efficiency that stretches more miles from every gallon. Toyota also cut the weight of many components including the transmis...
2012 Prius v First Drive
This new Prius v (‘v’ is specifically lower case and stands for versatility) is the second vehicle for this family. Next will be a smaller Prius “C” in early 2012 and then a plug-in version later. In this case they’ve taken the existing Prius, which has more than 50% of the hybrid market here in the U. S., and added 6 inches in length, 3 inches in width, one inch in height and 3 inches in wheelbase, increasing by more than half-again the cargo space (with rear seat folded), while adding substantial passenger space making it essentially a station wagon.
The shape and appearance is so close to the recognizable shape of the existing Prius we would have trouble distinguishing them one from another without seeing them side-by-side. Look closely and you can see that they’ve raised the rear roofline and spent a great deal of effort on aerodynamics. In fact, this one has an exceptional coefficient of drag of just .29, with, among other details, little ridges on top of the headlight housings to split the air just enough to mitigate the effect of the outside mirrors.
Power comes from Toyota’s tried-and-true hybrid Synergy drive, the third generation of the gasoline/electric hybrid system that has powered the Prius since its birth. A nickel-metal hydride battery pack supplements the small gasoline engine to make around 134 horsepower in total – 98 horsepower comes from the 1.8-liter gasoline engine, the rest from the electric motor. That may sound like an unusually small number for a midsize car and it is, but it really doesn’t feel as tepid as you may think.
Four driving modes are driver selectable – EV, Eco, Power and Standard. With the EV mode you can go about a mile on electric only but regenerating that battery power will take longer than would be practical to use it for stop-and-go urban traffic. These modes allow customization of the power delivery to maximize efficiency based on the driving environment.