The world’s best-selling hybrid is back for 2010-completely revised and revitalized. The first thing potential buyers will notice is a new exterior. Aerodynamics and styling are improved. The coefficient of drag dropped down to 0.25. The roof’s “wedge” is moved back almost four inches to improve headroom. The front pillar is moved forward. The wheelbase is .06 inches longer, and LED’s are used for low beam headlights, taillights, and stop lights. Ecological plastics, which emit less CO2 than ordinary plastics, are used in the seat cushion foam, cowl side trim, scuff plates, and deck trim cover. A solar panel moon-roof combo will help power electrical features.
By changing the stabilizer layout, creating a higher caster angle, and tuning the bushings Toyota improved handling on the Prius.
Fuel efficiency is increased to an estimated 50mpg. A larger 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers the new Prius. Contrary to popular opinion, the larger engine actually increases fuel-efficiency by providing more torque so the engine can be run at lower RPM levels. An exhaust gas reticulation system also helps improve efficiency and cold-start performance. Not present under the hood is a belt; there is an electric water pump and remote-powered A/C system. The new Prius will have three driving modes: EV mode, which allows it to be fully electric for short distances, power mode to allow for most power, and eco mode to help get the best mileage. The 0-60 time is 9.8 seconds. Toyota should’ve upgraded to a lithium battery, but financial competition with the new Insight may be keeping the Nickel-metal hydride battery in use.
Starting at $22,000, the Prius is well priced and competitive with the Honda Insight. A stripped down model will be released later this year, which will cost $21,000. As much as I hate to give into corporate tycoons and greedy business people who could care less about whether or not the new Prius is eco-friendly or not, Toyota is “moving forward” with the new Prius.