The Toyota Prius sets the standard for environmentally friendly transportation. It also delivers extremely good fuel efficiency for a four-seat car with an automatic transmission. Just ignore those EPA numbers. Buyers can expect to average something north of 45 mpg. Toyota is clearly the leader in hybrid technology. The Prius is an amazing piece of engineering yet driving one and owning one is not much different from a conventional car. That's impressive.
New Car Test Drive correspondent Tom Lankard is based in Northern California.
Model Line Overview
Toyota Prius ($20,875)
76-hp 1.5-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4, plus a 50-kw (67 hp), 500-volt permanent magnet electric motor
continuously variable (CVT) automatic
Safety equipment (standard):
dual front airbags; anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints in all five seating positions with force-limiting pretensioners in front and height-adjustable front shoulder belt anchors; ISO child seat tether anchors
Safety equipment (optional):
driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags; front and rear side curtain airbags
3 years/36,000 miles
Tsutsumi (Toyota City), Japan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Toyota Prius ($20,875)
automatic climate control; cruise control; power steering; tilt steering wheel with redundant climate control and audio controls; front and rear variable-speed intermittent wipers; remote keyless entry; power windows, central locking and heated outside rearview mirrors; AM/FM/CD stereo; delayed accessory power shut off; 60/40 split folding rear seatback
Options as tested (MSRP):
Package 6 ($5,065) includes VSC electronic stability control, fog lamps, HID headlamps, Smart keyless entry system, security alarm, Homelink programmable remote opener system, navigation system with steering-wheel controls, JBL ETR AM/FM/Cassette/6-Disc changer stereo, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested (MSRP):
1.5-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4/ plus 50-kW (67 hp), 500-volt, permanent magnet electric motor
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
76 @ 5000 plus 67 @ 1200-1540
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
82 @ 4200 plus 295 @ 0-1200
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
Head/hip/leg room, f:
Head/hip/leg room, m:
Head/hip/leg room, r:
16.1 cu. ft.
not recommended Lbs.
independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar
ventilated disc/drum with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and integrated regenerative braking
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of August 27, 2004.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources:
800-468-6968 (GO-TOYOTA) -