Toyota calls its Prius an "Eco-Icon," and the latest generation should have plenty of available gadgets for technological and environmental die-hards. Among them are a solar-panel moonroof that powers modest air conditioning in hot parking lots and LED headlights that use less energy than conventional halogen lamps. The five-seat Prius competes with Honda's Insight hybrid, and indirectly against Volkswagen's Jetta TDI diesel.
The Prius v, Prius c, and Prius Plug-In are covered in separate reports in the Cars.com Research section.
Exterior features include:
- Standard 15-inch wheels; 17-inch wheels optional
- Standard LED taillamps use less power
- Available power tilt/sliding moonroof with solar-powered ventilation
The dashboard has instruments mounted high atop the center portion, two glove compartments and a nublike shifter. The shifter itself sits close to knee level. The dash and doors have a matte-style finish, and the steering wheel has tilt and telescoping adjustments.
The steering wheel has touch-sensitive audio and climate controls, and the instrument display shows a replica of the actual controls when they're touched. Toyota calls it Touch Tracer, claiming it helps drivers keep their eyes on the road. Other information on the display includes fuel and energy consumption meters, as well as a depiction of power flow between the drivetrain's gasoline and electric components. Interior features include:
- Standard fabric upholstery; leather optional
- Optional heated front seats
- Optional navigation system
- Optional Entune multimedia system
Under the Hood
The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine in the Prius is augmented by a number of high-efficiency tricks — among them an electric water pump, exhaust gas recovery, an efficient automatic transmission and optimized regenerative braking. Coupled with an electric motor, the drivetrain makes a total 134 horsepower. Mechanical features include:
- Can drive on electric-only power, gasoline power or a combination of the two
- No need to plug car into a wall outlet
- Electric motor draws power from a rear-mounted battery that recharges using braking friction
- Four driving modes: regular Drive; Eco mode, which optimizes settings for better mileage; Power mode, which increases gas-pedal sensitivity for better acceleration; and EV-Drive mode, which attempts to stay in electric mode as long as possible, provided the battery has enough power.
Safety features include:
- Seven standard airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags
- Standard active head restraints for the front seats
- Standard all-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system
- Optional radar-based adaptive cruise control
- Optional lane departure prevention system
- Optional precollision system
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||October 15, 2012|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||July 15, 2012|
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Toyota Prius
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.