Just Car Blog
|2013 Toyota Prius V Hybrid Review & Test Drive||
‘GIVING MORE VERSATILITY TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS
Fourteen years ago Toyota introduced the original Prius hybrid, the industry’s first hybrid technology-driven four-door sedan. After more than 2-million units sold around the world, the 2012 model year saw the splitting by Toyota of the Prius into four distinct new models. The original Prius gets update front and rear fascias, the latest in infotainment technologies and more ‘man-made’ materials. New models included a regular size Prius but with ‘plug-in’ hybrid technology with the ability to operate solely on electric power and the first to come with lithium-Ion batteries. This new Prius has the ability to travel up to 11 miles on battery power alone at up to 62 mph. It will then revert back to hybrid power once the batteries are depleted. This Prius also received a new front fascia and new taillights and has a mpg rating in electric power of 95/90-city/highway, and 51/48-city/highway in hybrid mode. The new Toyota Prius C is smaller and has a higher mpg rating of 53/46-city/highway. It is more affordable with a starting price of just $20,000.00. Despite its smaller size it can still hold up to five passengers. The real big news was the Prius V. Last year I only tested the new Prius C and now I am testing the Prius V which stands for versatility with more cargo space than 80% of small SUVs.
This new Prius V is geared to growing families with active lifestyles who need more room and cargo space while giving it the same attributes traditionally found in the previous Prius-Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system producing 66% fewer smog-forming emissions while giving the consumer EPA fuel economy rating of 44mpg/city, 40mpg/highway, and using many man made materials that can be recycled.
The Prius V emphasizes overall proportions with spaciousness and flexibility for active families with a comfortable interior space and good visibility that is assisted by a high seating position, substantial head room, and an impressive 38 inch couple distance providing generous rear legroom. A low, wide-opening rear hatch reveals 34.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it the most spacious dedicated hybrid on the market. Comfortable seating for five is specifically designed for young families. Sliding second row seats allow for easy entry and rear storage flexibility, with a 40-degree recline for greater comfort. The 60/40 split folding rear bench seat presents four different seat arrangements that offers excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-down front-passenger seat allows for extra-long cargo.
Up front you are kept informed via a center-mounted instrument cluster with a hood to keep any glare from the sun out. It is a visually succinct space efficient design that is also exceptionally use-friendly with trip and fuel consumption readouts from buttons on the tilt/telescopic steering wheel. Below and to the left is your driving controls-push button start/stop, parking switch, drive-by-wire shift toggle. On the left of the center console are three driving mode buttons-B- for full electric drive, Eco-for normal driving and Power-to change the ECU mapping for quicker acceleration. Below on the center stack are controls for the automatic climate control that is easy to use. The center console features dual cupholders, and is accessible for you, your front passenger and rear seat passengers. The console is big enough to hold 23 CD cases, yet low enough so that lines of sight and conversation between everyone can be relaxed and natural.
A wide array of engineered storage spaces is located throughout the cabin. These include dual glove boxes, a center console utility tray and five cupholders in large and medium sizes. Bottle holders are built into the front and rear door pockets. Addition to the large main cargo hold, there are storage units built into the sides and under the cargo floor for storing equipment such as car wash items or gloves. Even a special space for umbrellas is located under the second row seats. Rear seats fold, slide and recline to configure for any mix of passengers and cargo, and operation switches are located conveniently next to the seats. New for Toyota is an optional seat material call SofTex that is designed for easy cleaning; resisting spills and wear in a family vehicle that could see heavy use on a daily basis. Soft to the touch, SofTex’s attributes as compared to leather and other traditional leatherette-type materials include a weight reduction of 50%, a manufacturing process with approximately 99% few volatile organic compounds than conventional synthetic leather, and it’s water and stain resistant. It also does not include any animal-based material.
Seamlessly integrated into the Prius V are state-of-the-art electronics and enhanced connectivity features. A Bluetooth wireless connection for compatible hands-free phone calls is standard, now improved by an automatic phone book transfer function. Also standard is a USB port that allows playing of music and video from portable audio devices, using the vehicle’s sound system and indash display screen, including full iPod integration. The standard audio system has a 6.1 inch screen and six speakers. The screen also displays the energy monitor and fuel consumption data, and functions as the monitor for the integrated back-up camera and the Display Audio System. The screen also offers a new value-driven navigation system and serves as a portal for Entune. An optional HD radio system enables CD sound quality from digital FM broadcasts, and has features that maximize analog and AM broadcast sound quality. The system includes HD radio and iTunes tagging for future purchase and Sirius satellite radio.
The new Prius V will be one of the first Toyota’s to offer the Entune multimedia system. This innovative system leverages the mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with full integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services. The Toyota Entune debuts the first-ever support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com along with accessing useful travel-related services such as live weather, traffic, fuel information, stocks and sports. Toyota Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle including iheartradio’s 750+ stations and Pandora’s personalized music service. The audio systems combined with Entune feature a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps you stay focused on the road by eliminating the need to memorize thousands of voice commands.
The new Prius V is a perfect balance of spaciousness, new more refined styling and smooth aerodynamics with a 0.29 coefficient of drag. The Prius V was designed from the ground up, with a shape that has evolved from Prius rather than just an elongated version. Keeping air resistance low is the signature triangle Prius silhouette, adapted to a larger length. A flush surface from the front of the car through the front pillar works with side ‘aerocorners’ for excellent clean airflow. The smooth front sheetmetal blends into a carefully designed roof and greenhouse, leading to an optional cabin-end shape that acts to converge side and roof airflow. Wheels and wheel caps are designed with aerodynamic effects in mind. Enhancing the clean, low wind-resistance design are materials that keep the Prius V relatively light and easy to move. The door panels are foam-injected with polypropylene and the deck board with light-weight urethane to produce a weight savings of 20%. Significant weight reduction is also achieved through the use of high-tensile grades of steel throughout the body along with aluminum in key body panels and systems. Also, high-strength steel sheets and bars are used throughout the body to ensure a light, yet highly rigid platform structure.
Optional and a Toyota first, is a resin Panoramic View Moonroof with power retractable sun shades that give the interior an open feel with 40% reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size and excellent heat insulation performance. The improved thermal resistance means the engine needs to run less to preserve comfortable ambient temperatures, which in turn enhances fuel efficiency. The moonroof has an electrically operated shade system with a jam protection function. Also optional is LED headlamps that work to improve visibility while reducing current draw. They use projector lenses to offer long-range visibility and are designed to be virtually maintenance free for the expected life of the car. Prius V also features a climate control system with enhanced cooling capability to cope with a larger cabin. The system uses an electric compressor so the A/C can run without depending on the engine, and improved component design for better maximum-demand cooling performance.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system is essentially the same as the current third-generation Prius. The system uses two high-output motors, one 60kw (80hp) unit that mainly works to power the compact lightweight transaxle and another smaller motor that mainly works as the electric power source. Maximum motor-drive voltage is 650 volts DC. The proven and practical nickel-metal hydride battery pack is the same as on the other Prius models. As with the current generation Prius cars, Hybrid Synergy Drive is a series-parallel hybrid system that provides power either from the engine along, or the motor alone, or any mix of both. A hybrid control computer manages the system so that optimum power is delivered according to your demand. It uses a start/stop system and regenerative braking to conserve fuel and recharge the battery upon deceleration. The Hybrid Synergy Drive is built around a specially adapted, efficient 98 hp 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a total system horsepower of 134.
The transmission is a smooth and quiet electric CVT (continuously variable transmission) with four drive modes. Standard driving mode, Eco mode prioritizes fuel economy, EV for electric only driving up to one mile, and Power mode that is great when entering fast moving highway traffic, and driving up slopes and mountainous terrain.
The longer wheelbase gives the new Prius V a smooth ride and the new Pitch and Bounce Control works with the suspension enhancements to improve ride comfort and control. As a result of its larger size it is capable of carrying more cargo loads. As a result the front and rear suspension components have been redesigned to improve handling and ride quality. Front coil-over springs and damper capacities have been significantly increased and a new upper support has been designed. The steering gear in the electric power steering system now is attached to the front suspension member, and the stabilizer bar is repositioned for more responsive steering feel and enhanced ride comfort. In the rear a torsion-beam suspension design has been fitted with appropriately tuned springs and dampers. The new rear suspension system is designed to help ensure stability and ride comfort, and it has a lower mounting point to improve luggage space. Furthermore, Pitch and Bounce Control uses the torque of the hybrid motor to enhance ride comfort and control. The system, working with wheel-speed sensors and in tune with the suspension, helps suppress bounce and toss motions to improve comfort for passengers and because it helps control the balance and posture of the vehicle as a whole, it also functions to improve handling response.
The Prius V stop quickly and always in control thanks to powerful regenerative steel disc brakes with ABS, VSC, Traction Control, EBD, BA and Smart Stop Technology. Up front are 10.8 inch vented discs and in the rear 11.5 inch solid discs. Each disc is clamped with large single-piston calipers.
The Prius V rides on 16X6.5 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with load rolling resistance 205/60R16in. all-season, radial tires with 17X7 inch wheels and 215/50R17 inch low rolling resistance tires optional, for a smooth and quiet ride.
Standard features not mentioned above includes AM-FM-CD with MP3/WMA, 6-speakers, Sirius satellite radio, HD radio/Bluetooth, USB connectivity, all express power windows/door locks, dual map lights, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin/padded armrest, cruise-control, grab handles above each door, dual vanity mirrors, variable intermittent wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, remote power side mirrors, 2-12-volt power plugs, thick cut-pile carpeting and front/rear floor mats.
Standard safety features include front/side impact airbags, front/rear side-curtain airbags, three point safety belts for all five seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, engine immobilizer, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.
After my seven-day test drive around the city and on the highway I got 44.9mpg on the trip computer. This new Prius V is the best station wagon styled hybrid with enough room for the whole family including plenty of room for cargo for long vacation trips with excellent fuel economy, a smooth and controlled ride that has no piers for the starting price of just $27,165.00.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Base Prius V $26,650
- Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive – 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder – Combined power: 134 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm / 105 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,000 rpm
- Overall length: 181.7 inches
- Overall width: 69.9 inches
- Overall height: 62 inches
- Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
- Track: f/r-60.6/60.8 inches
- Ground clearance: 5.7 inches
- Headroom: f/r-39.6/38.6 inches
- Legroom: f/r-41.3/35.9 inches
- EPA passenger volume: 97.2 cu.ft.
- EPA cargo room: 34.3-rear seat up/40.2-rear seat forward/67.3 cu.ft. with rear seat folded
- Curb weight: 3,274 pounds
- EPA fuel economy: 44 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
- Fuel tank: 11.9 gallons
|2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Review & Test Drive||
The 2012 Toyota Prius continues to embody the purpose-built principle of being one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road today. To expand on the Prius’ technological advancements, a new Prius plug-in version has been introduced for the 2012 model year to further push the fuel efficiency envelope to new heights.
I had the chance to experience firsthand on the highway and in city traffic if there were any beneficial attributes to a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius. To summarize the differences in the new Prius plug-in hybrid version and a normal 4-door Prius, you do not have to stretch your imagination too far. The new Prius plug-in hybrid (PHV) takes the traditional Prius and introduces an electric-only range of about 13 miles and the ability to charge the larger battery through a standardized plug. All else remains to be a Prius hybrid in the traditional sense of mustering out about 50 mpg in the city and highway.
The conception of the new Prius plug-in hybrid is somewhat of Toyota’s answer to the Chevy Volt and with a dab of essences of the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf and Volt are totally different vehicles as they are when compared to the Prius plug-in hybrid. The Leaf is completely electric and the other, having an electric drivetrain with a gasoline motor acting as an active generator, is essentially an extended range electric vehicle. The Prius plug-in is still the concept of a traditional Prius, it only adds the capability to charge a larger and heavier nickel-metal hydride battery pack and have a viable electric-only range by means of a higher threshold of electric propulsion before kicking in the gasoline engine.
In terms of power output of the 2012 Prius plug-in hybrid, it is the same combined 134 horsepower output rating derived from a 98-horsepower 1.8-liter inline-4 cylinder engine and 80 horsepower electric motor as found in the regular Prius hybrid. The total horsepower figure, by means of some fuzzy math, is consequent of how the power is transmitted, which finds its way to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2012 Prius plug-in hybrid, aside from the specialized PHV badges, silver paint on the door handles and extra cutout in the left front fender for the charging plug, there are no distinctive characteristics to differentiate a plug-in hybrid Prius from the normal Prius hybrid. The same goes for the interior, and for the most part, the way in which it drives. However, driving the new Prius plug-in hybrid, with the added weight (about 330 pounds) of the larger battery pack, tends to get in the way of performance. Prius and performance go together like oil and water, even more so in the new plug-in hybrid version getting a 0-60 mph time of 11.3 seconds – a step in the wrong direction from the already lackluster time of 9.8 seconds in the standard Prius sedan.
After much time spent in development of the Prius, still holding the title for today’s quintessential hybrid vehicle, the new Prius does everything that it is supposed to do without any fuss. When you think of a Prius and an appliance, they are both purpose-built and sometimes one may gain a few pounds to add extra features to keep the consumer happy. That is just what the Prius plug-in hybrid is all about, a continuation of not disappointing its main consumer base.
Driving impressions of the Prius plug-in hybrid are about on par with Sebastian Vettel taking his Infiniti FX to his next F1 race, sure it will get him around the track but it won’t win any races even if he is getting better gas mileage than everyone else. The electric mode for the new Prius plug-in hybrid is good for traveling up to 62 mph and topping out a range of around 13 to 15 miles. Just getting the Prius near highway speeds in electric mode is somewhat of a challenge, even on a fully charged battery, due to relatively low load constraints on the electric motor. Low speeds are not such of an enduring task, though the LCD dashboard information screen does a good job at actively displaying your throttle/load conditions so you may accelerate softly without demanding the ECU to turn-over the gas engine. After the main battery is depleted, the Prius plug-in hybrid is back to the normal expected modes of a ordinary Prius hybrid. It will actively charge the temporary battery storage for those times when you are crawling around town or in stop-and-go traffic.
The hybrid system in the new 2012 Prius and Prius plug-in hybrid are the best that they have ever been. The time when the engine turns over is hardly noticeable without any abrupt power transitions. Even the braking system has been tweaked to limit as much unnatural feedback when the generators kick in to put power back in the battery during slowing. Toyota has almost mastered the efficiency of their hybrid system to get as much juice out of every drive through an advanced control system that works virtually seamless in the background.
Driving the Prius plug-in hybrid to the limit is almost a necessity when peculiar traffic situations demand it. The Prius has just enough power to not be dangerous when keep up with flowing highway traffic. The ride quality is fairly good and never overly soft. Traction and stability control is sometimes overly sensitive drowning out any bit of wheel spin or loss of traction.
The interior of the new Prius plug-in hybrid, basically identical to the regular Prius hybrid, features a floating console setup with storage space underneath it. The futuristic cabin design makes the best use of all available space, while the central mono-green LCD information screen reading out a multitude of vehicle data and hybrid drive status.
What is more of a disappointment with the new Prius’ interior is the use of plastics that actually look somewhat cheap. Hard plastics are used throughout the interior leaving the only soft surfaces to the leather seats. Though, most of the interior plastics mesh well together, which is more of an expected characteristic for a Toyota than the overshadowing use of hard plastic. Seating position for the driver seems somewhat disconnected due to the long distance to the dashboard and far reach for what is a telescoping steering wheel.
Considering that enthusiasts will probably pass on the purchase of a new Prius and the plug-in hybrid version, it still serves to be the most sought-after hybrid vehicle and gas miser on the road today, and for good reason. I saw a steady 46 mpg on the highway when really pushing the Prius plug-in hybrid beyond the boundaries of what the speed limit signs had posted. Around the city fuel estimates hovered around 53 mpg.
With emerging hybrid competition coming into the picture from many automakers, the Prius may eventually have its work cut out. Something tells me the Prius does not have much to worry about with its decade-long jump on the market when it comes to hybrid vehicles in the states.
The new 2012 Prius plug-in hybrid has a starting price of $32,000, about $8,000 more than the standard 2012 Prius hybrid starting at just $24,000. Is the premium of the plug-in hybrid version worth it? It all depends on your usage. One could consider the plug-in hybrid if they commute 10 miles to work each day, they could essentially utilize the electric mode and hardly ever use gas.
COPYRIGHT: 2012 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base Prius Plug-in Hybrid MSRP $32,000 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Advanced trim As-Tested $40,365
- Engine: 1.8-liter gas engine with hybrid synergy drive electric motor – total 134 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm/105 ft-lbs. torque @ 4000 rpm
- Turning circle: 34.2 ft.
- Total length: 176.4 in.
- Total width: 68.7 in.
- Total height: 58.7 in.
- Track: f/r-59.6/59.4 in.
- Ground clearance: 5.3 in.
- Headroom: f/r-38.6/37.6 in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/36.0 in.
- EPA interior volume: 115.3 cu.ft.
- EPA cargo volume: with rear seats up-21.6/with rear seats folded-39.6 cu.ft.
- Fuel tank: 10.6 gallon
- Curb weight: 3,165 lbs.
- EPA mileage est.: 51 mpg city / 49 mpg highway
- 0-60 mph: 11.3 seconds
|Report: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Outsells Chevy Volt & Nissan Leaf in April||
Major kudos to the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, a newer iteration of the Hybrid that started the Eco craze in the states, for outselling the new Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf for the month of April.
The Toyota Prius is basically the epitome of hybrid vehicles. When you think hybrid, you think Prius. Having such an impact on today’s society among common folk and even the 1-percenters (including movie stars), the Toyota Prius continues to be a dominating driver for all-things fuel efficient. To keep things sailing smoothly with the Prius line, Toyota introduced many new variations of the Prius including a plug-in hybrid version, which takes the traditional Prius and adds an electric-only range of 13 miles and the ability to charge the larger battery capacity via standardized plug-in stations or wall charger units. In addition to the 13-mile electric only range, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid still manages to get an estimated 50 mpg in the city and highway.
Over-all, Toyota’s sales increased 11.6% for the month of April, which includes selling 1,654 Prius plug-in vehicles. That sales number surpasses the Chevy Volt’s 1,462 units and Nissan Leaf’s 370 units sold during the month of April.
For obvious reasons, the record gas prices this Spring have sparked sales for hybrid vehicles, including plug-ins and all-electric variations. The strong sales figures for the Prius speaks for itself, once again proving the dominating factor in the automotive industry when it comes to the most fuel efficient vehicles available right now.
Hit up the Toyota Press Release below for additional Toyota/Lexus sales data for the month of April 2012.
Toyota Sales Increase 11.6 Percent in April 2012
Camry Up 20.9 Percent; Prius Records Best Ever April
TORRANCE, Calif. (May 1, 2012) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported sales of 178,044 units, an increase of 25.5 percent compared to April 2011 on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Unadjusted for 24 selling days in April 2012 versus 27 selling days in April 2011, TMS sales were up 11.6 percent over the year-ago month on a raw volume basis.
The Toyota Division posted April total sales of 160,493 units, an increase of 27.2 percent over April 2011 on a DSR basis. Volume-wise, Toyota Division sales were up 13.1 percent over the year-ago month.
“Thanks to continued strong sales of Camry and Prius family, Toyota was America’s number one retail brand for the second straight month,” said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “With consumer confidence improving, we expect to see sustained industry growth in the months ahead.”
The Lexus Division reported total sales of 17,551 units, up 12.3 percent over April 2011 on a DSR basis. Volume-wise, Lexus Division sales were flat compared to last year.
Toyota Division passenger cars posted combined sales of 99,450 units, up 44.3 percent over April 2011. Camry and Camry Hybrid led passenger cars with combined monthly sales of 36,820 units, an increase of 36.1 percent year-over-year. The Prius family recorded its best ever April with sales of 25,168 units, increasing 126.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Corolla reported sales of 24,804 units, up 15.2 percent over the year-ago month. Avalon was also up with sales of 2,881 units, a 20.9 percent increase.
Toyota Division light trucks recorded April sales of 61,043 units, an increase of 6.5 percent compared to April 2011. The RAV4 compact SUV led light trucks, posting monthly sales of 15,196 units, up 9.7 percent over last year. Highlander and Highlander Hybrid reported combined sales of 9,352 units, an increase of 18.3 percent over the year-ago month. The 4Runner midsize SUV recorded April sales of 3,783 units, increasing 5.7 percent. The Tacoma mid-size pickup posted sales of 10,901 units, an increase of 16.7 percent over April 2011, and the Tundra full-size pickup reported sales of 7,219 units. The Sienna minivan recorded sales of 9,451 units.
Scion posted April sales of 5,503 units, up 8.4 percent versus April 2011. The tC sports coupe led the way with sales of 2,008 units, and the xB urban utility vehicle recorded April sales of 1,617 units. The all-new iQ premium micro-subcompact posted monthly sales of 962 units, followed by the xD five-door urban subcompact with 916 units.
Lexus reported passenger car sales of 9,441 units, up 25.6 percent over April 2011. The entry luxury sedan ES led Lexus passenger car sales with sales of 3,000 units. The IS luxury sports sedan recorded April sales of 2,344 units, flat compared to the same period last year. The GS and GS hybrid posted combined sales of 2,006 units, an increase of 486.2 percent over the year-ago month. The CT 200h premium hybrid compact posted sales of 1,620 units, increasing 108.3 percent year-over-year.
Lexus luxury utility vehicles reported sales of 8,110 units, flat versus April 2011. The RX and RX hybrid posted combined monthly sales of 6,842 units, while the LX recorded sales of 517 units, up 92.6 percent over last April.
TMS posted April sales of 32,593 hybrid vehicles, an increase of 124.6 percent compared to the same period last year. Toyota Division posted sales of 30,126 hybrids for the month, up 142.7 percent over the year-ago month. Lexus Division reported monthly sales 2,467 hybrids, increasing 17.6 percent year-over-year.
|2012 Toyota Prius Review – The Hybrid That Still Leads The Pack||
First introduced in 2001, the Toyota Prius has been a tremendous success in the hybrid world with segment leading sales figures of more than 2-million units sold. For 2012, Toyota is upping the ante by introducing 3-new models. The Prius C is smaller, has a higher MPG spec of 53 combined, while the new V model is larger than the standard Prius and is more versatile and comfortable. The other new model is the Plug-in with an EV only mileage rating of 15 miles at up to 62mph. If you only drive up to 15 miles a day you’ll never have to put gasoline into your Prius.
The new Prius model still expresses the vehicle’s versatility meets the need of growing families, singles and couples with active lifestyles while providing the same attributes traditionally found in the Prius DNA. Despite the spaciousness of a family friendly midsize vehicle, the Prius delivers fuel economy ratings of 51mpg/city, and 48mpg/highway.
The Prius brings leading-edge hybrid technology to customers who need more room and provides more cargo space than 80% of all small SUVs. The Prius emphasizes overall proportions with spaciousness and flexibility for active consumers. Comfortable interior space and good visibility have been assisted by a high seating position, ample headroom, and an impressive 38 inch couple distance, providing generous rear legroom. A low, wide-opening rear hatch reveals 34.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it the most spacious dedicated hybrid vehicle on the market.
Comfortable seating for five is specifically designed for young families. Sliding second row seats allow for easier ingress and rear-storage flexibility, with a 45-degree recline for greater comfort. The 60/40 split folding rear seats present four different seat arrangements that provide excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-flat front passenger seat back allows for extremely long cargo.
Inside you are kept informed via a center-mounted instrument panel, a visually succinct, space-efficient design that is also exceptionally user-friendly and this year an optional ‘head’s-up’ display for added safety. As with other Prius models, the driving controls including the push buttons start/stop, parking switch, drive-by-wire shift toggle and driving mode buttons are right at your hands. Each of these driving control features are distinguished by silver trim. Instrument panel controls, including a single dial automatic climate control, provide an advanced look and user-friendly command. The center console is accessible from both the driver side and rear seats. The console is big enough to hold 23-CD cases, yet low enough so that lines of sight and conversation between passengers can be relaxed and natural. The console design helps make the cabin a human-friendly space, and a low-fatigue environment for long rides. A wide variety of engineered storage spaces are located throughout the cabin. These include dual glove boxes, a center console utility tray and five cupholders in large and medium sizes. Bottle holders are built into the front and rear door pockets, while most models feature an overhead storage space suitable for sunglasses. In addition to the larger main luggage compartment there are storage units built into the sides and under the cargo platform for storing equipment such as car wash items or gloves. Even a special space for umbrellas is located under the second row of seats. The rear seats fold, slide and recline. New this year is seat material call SofTex is designed for easy cleaning, resisting spills and wear in a family vehicle that could see heavy use on a daily basis. Soft to the touch, SofTex’s attributes as compared to leather and other traditional leatherette-type materials include a weight reduction of 50%, a manufacturing process with approximately 99% fewer volatile organic compounds than conventional synthetic leather, and it’s water and stain resistant. It also does not include any animal-based material.
Seamlessly integrated into the new Prius are state-of-the-art electronics and enhanced connectivity features. A Bluetooth wireless connection for compatible for hands-free phone calls is standard, now improved by an automatic phone book transfer function. Also standard now is an improved automatic phone book transfer function. Also standard is a USB port that allows playing of music and video from portable audio devices, using the vehicle sound system and in-dash display screen, including full iPod integration.
The standard audio system has a 6.1 inch screen and six speakers. The screen also displays energy monitor and fuel consumption data, and functions as the monitor for the integrated back-up camera and the Display Audio System. The screen also offers a new value-driven navigation system and serves as a portal for Entune. An available HD radio system enables CD sound quality for digital FM broadcasts, and has features that maximize analog and AM broadcast sound quality. The system includes HD radio with iTunes tagging for future purchase and SIRIUS satellite radio. The ‘top-of-the-line’ audio is equipped with a new seven-inch Premium HDD Navigation system with Entune and JBL speakers. This system offers a new ‘split-screen’ feature that allows for simultaneously displaying navigation and audio info and full iPod video integration. The premium system adds a new JBL GreenEdge audio system that combines an eight-channel amplifier and door mounted ‘acoustic lens’ speakers to provide a high-quality sound. The GreenEdge amplifier achieves a 66% reduction in overall mass and a 50% enhancement in sound efficiency. The GreenEdge speakers produce a higher output of sound with the same power or less consumption of conventional models. It sounds clean and loud with the windows down cruising down the road.
The new Prius is one of the first Toyota models to offer the Entune multimedia system. For the first time ever in a Toyota automobile, this innovative new system leverages the mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services. Entune debuts the first ever support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services such as live weather, traffic, fuel information-location/price, stocks and sports. Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle including heartradio’s 750+ stations, and Pandora’s personalized music service. It also features an advanced voice-recognition system that helps you to stay focused on driving by eliminating the need to memorize thousands of voice commands.
With a balance between outstanding spaciousness, refined style and smooth aerodynamics, Prius has a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, which does not inhibit the vehicle’s convenient packaging. It is a new vehicle from the ground up, with a shape that evolved from Prius rather than being an elongated version. Keeping air resistance low is the familiar triangular Prius silhouette, adapted to a larger size. A flush surface from the front of the vehicle through the front pillars work with side ‘aerocorners’ for exceptionally clean airflow. The smooth front sheetmetal blends into a carefully designed roof and cabin, leading to an optimized cabin-end shape that acts to converge side and roof airflow. Wheels and wheel caps are designed with aerodynamic effects in mind and lessen windnoise.
Enhancing the clean, low wind-resistance design are materials that keep the new Prius relatively light and easy to move. The door panels are foam-injected with polypropylene and the deck board with light-weight urethane to produce a weight savings of 20%. Significant weight reduction is also achieved through the use of high-tensile grades of steel throughout the body along with aluminum in key body panels and systems, their other benefits ensure a light, yet highly rigid platform structure for a smooth, quiet and controlled ride.
Also available and a Toyota-first, is a resin Panoramic View Moonroof with power retractable sun shades that provides an open atmosphere in the cabin with a 40% reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size, and excellent heat insulation performance. I didn’t have this option in my test Prius Five but I’m sure that it really lets the sun shine in to give the entire interior a more spacious feel. Also optional are LED headlamps that work to improve visibility while reducing current draw on the battery. They used projector lenses for long-range outlook and are designed to be virtually maintenance free for the life of the car. Prius also features a new climate control system with enhanced cooling capability to cope with the larger cabin. The system uses an electric compressor so that the A/C can run without depending on the engine, and improved component design for better maximum-demand cooling performance.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the Prius is essentially the same as the current third-generation Prius. The system uses to high-output motors, one 60KW (80hp) unit that mainly works to power the compact, lightweight transaxle and another smaller motor that mainly works as the electric power source. Maximum motor drive voltage is 650 volts DC. The proven and practical nickel-metal hydride battery pack is the same as on the third-generation Prius liftback, but with a cooling duct located under the rear seat.
As with current-generation Prius cars, Hybrid Synergy Drive is a series-parallel hybrid system that can provide power either from the engine alone, or the motor along, or any mix of both. A hybrid control computer manages the system so that optimum power is delivered according to driver demand. It is seamless and uses a start/stop system and regenerative braking to conserve fuel and recharge the battery upon deceleration.
Hybrid Synergy Drive is built around a specially adapted, efficient 98hp 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a total system horsepower of 134. Key components include and electric water pump that requires no belts, and an exhaust gas recirculation system that helps warm the engine quickly, reducing fuel consumption when the engine is cold. Compact and light weight, the engine produces minimal noise and vibration. Sophisticated valve control, injector design and other technologies reduce emissions to allow the Prius to qualify for SULEV and Tier 2 Bin 3 emissions standards. It is a great system that amazed me with its quietness and excellent power delivery at my command because of the different driving modes depending on how you want to drive the new Prius.
In addition to the standard driving mode, Prius also adds an Eco driving mode when you are not in a hurry or want the optimal mpg, and EV mode for electric only propulsion that is only advised for up to a few miles, and a Power mode that really makes driving more fun and exciting, yes even in a hybrid. In this mode, the mid-range response is enhanced for quicker initial acceleration, faster passing other vehicles on the highways and when driving up slopes and mountainous terrain. In Power mode the power and acceleration felt like a larger inline four-cylinder engine under the hood.
A new feature, Pitch and Bounce Control, works with suspension enhancements to improve ride comfort and control. Front coil-over spring and damper capacities have been significantly increased and a new upper support has been designed. The steering gear has been attached to the front suspension member for more rigidity and feel, and the stabilizer bar has been repositioned for even more responsive steering feel and enhanced ride comfort. In the rear, a torsion-beam suspension design has been fitted with appropriately tuned springs and dampers. The new rear suspension setup is designed to help ensure stability and ride comfort, and it has a lower mounting point to improve luggage space. Pitch and Bounce Control uses the torque of the hybrid motor to enhance ride comfort and control. The System, working with wheel-speed sensors and in tune with the suspension, helps suppress bounce and toss motions to improve comfort for all occupants, and because it helps control the balance and posture of the new Prius as a whole, it also functions to improve handling response. The Prius rides on 16X6.5 inch wheels and tires, plus my test Prius Five trim level came shod with the optional 17X7 inch alloy wheels and low-resistance summer tires. The new Prius Five is the best handling and most responsive of any Prius that I have tested in the past.
Standard features in my loaded test Prius Five not mentioned above includes a rear spoiler, foglamps, headlamp washers, power folding, heated outside mirrors, front variable and rear intermittent wipers/washers, heated front seats with driver’s side power adjustments/lumbar, tilt/telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise control/audio control buttons, center console with dual tiered storage box/dual cupholders up front/rear pull down armrest with dual cupholders, dual map lamps, dual, lighted vanity mirrors, door storage slots up front, grab handles above each door, auto dimming rearview mirror, Homelink, 2-front power outlets, 60/40 split rear seats, dual automatic climate control and front/rear floor mats.
Standard safety features include vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, BA, Smart Stop Technology, front /rear safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, front dual airbags, side-impact airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, LATCH system for child seats, remote keyless entry, engine immobilizer, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Safety options include Dynamic Radar cruise control with pre-braking system, Lane Keep Assist, Safety Connect to alert Toyota when the vehicle’s airbags are deployed, and a stolen vehicle locator.
With the new Prius Five, more standard and optional equipment and four-driving modes, you’re driving times are only enhanced with higher MPG stats not found with any other 4-cylinder gasoline engine vehicle. With prices starting at just $29,805.00 you’ll start saving money right away and wont’ give up any of the pleasures that you associate with a drive in the city or country.
- Price: Base Prius One trim level MSRP $23,015 Prius Five trim level MSRP $29,805
- Engine: 1.8-liter gas engine with hybrid synergy drive electric motor – total 134 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm/105 ft-lbs. torque @ 4000 rpm
- Turning circle: 36.0 ft.
- Total length: 176.4 in.
- Total width: 68.7 in.
- Total height: 58.7 in.
- Track: f/r-59.6/59.4 in.
- Ground clearance: 5.3 in.
- Headroom: f/r-38.6/37.6 in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/36.0 in.
- EPA interior volume: 115.3 cu.ft.
- EPA cargo volume: with rear seats up-21.6/with rear seats folded-39.6 cu.ft.
- Fuel tank: 11.9 gallon
- Curb weight: 3,042 lbs.
- EPA mileage est.: 51 mpg city / 48 mpg highway
- 0-60 mph: 10.1 seconds
|2011 Toyota Prius Hybrid Review & Test Drive||
‘THE ORIGINAL AND STILL THE BEST’
It has been a couple of years since I tested a new Toyota Prius hybrid but I have tested several other hybrids from the manufacturers who have started to build them.
I took a base two Prius and found that overall the hybrid is still the best with higher mpg specs, its unique styling, comfort and roominess and versatility.
The Prius continues to lead the market for hybrid automobiles that it started a decade ago. The third-generation Prius was all-new for the 2010 model year, with even better mileage ratings, enhanced performance, and more innovative design features than the second-generation version. The 2011 Prius carries over with such innovative features as a moonroof with solar panels, dour driving modes, Advanced Guidance Parking System and steering wheel control that display on the instrument cluster.
The Toyota Prius-now synonymous with ‘hybrid’ entered the market in 1997 as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid. The company’s exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive System was introduced in 2004 on the second-generation Prius. The Prius helped boost public awareness for the automobile’s role in the environment, specifically putting a focus on improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
This latest generation Prius extends its record of continuous improvement in fuel economy. The first-generation Prius was estimated at 41 combined mpg, and the second-generation model achieved a 46 combined mpg. Using a combination of technologies, Toyota increased fuel efficiency for the new Prius to an estimated 50 combined mpg. Mileage is especially improved in cold-start conditions and at higher speeds.
The 2011 Prius is built using processes that reduce emissions in every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, from production and driving, through the eventual disposal and dismantling years down the road.
In the Prius, a 1.8 liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine produces 98 horsepower at 5,200rpm. Together with its electric motor, the hybrid system generates a combined 134 net horsepower, an improvement of 24 horsepower over the previous generation. Due to the unique way that Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drivecombines the power of the gasoline engine and electric motor, you experience a feeling of torque in the Prius that makes it feel even more powerful that the output numbers suggest.
The use of an electric fuel pump and a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system also contributes to the engine’s efficiency. The 1.8 liter Prius engine is the first Toyota powerplant that requires no accessory drive belts, helping enhance powertrain efficiency and also potentially reducing maintenance costs.
Prius has been an uncompromised ‘full’ hybrid since its introduction. This means that it can run on gasoline engine alone, battery alone, or a combination of both. TheHybrid Synergy Drivewas completely re-engineered for the third-generation Prius, with lighter, more efficient components.
The 2011 Prius offers four driving modes-Normal, Power, Eco and EV. The EV mode allows driving on battery power alone at low speeds for about a mile, if conditions permit. Power mode increases sensitivity to throttle input for a sportier feel and is great when merging onto fast moving freeways or when you have to pass slower moving vehicles on said freeways; Eco helps you achieve the best mileage, best when driving short distances for your daily chores. A multi-information display panel that monitors fuel and energy consumption is standard. It provides feedback on the Prius’ efficiency using three different displays to help you adopt economical driving habits.
The 2011 Prius is certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle and an Advanced Technology partial Zero Emissions Vehicle inCalifornia, as well as those states applyingCaliforniaemission standards.
The Prius design, by itself, came to represent ‘hybrid’ in the eyes of many. The third-generation Prius preserved that brand recognition while expanding the role of efficient aerodynamics in overall fuel economy. The 106.3 inch wheelbase is the same as the previous generation, while overall length is increased by just ½ inch to preserve the car’s efficient packaging. The corners of the new-generation Prius are sharp and sporty. Strong side character lines, rising from front to rear, define the smooth, geometric shape. Viewed from the rear, the wider rear treads provide a solid, firmly planted stance.
The third-generation Prius received more hours of wind tunnel testing than any other Toyota in history, resulting in one of the cleanest aerodynamic profiles of any mass-produced vehicle in the world. By focusing on the shape of the body, underfloor, wheelhouse liner and wheel face design, the designers reduced the coefficient of drag to 0.25 from the previous generation’s 0.26.
Even with the increased focus on aerodynamic performance, the design is instantly recognizable around the world as a Toyota Prius. The current model differs from the previous version however. For example, overall height is the same for the two, but the new-generation model moved the roof peak four inches to the rear to enhance rear seat headroom.
An available sliding glass sunroof is package with solar panels, located over the rear seating area, that power a new ventilation system. The solar powered ventilation system helps reduce the interior air temperature when parked directly in the sun. Cool-down time is shorter when you return to the vehicle, thus reducing the use of A/C.
The 2011 Prius also offers a remote A/C system. It is the first system in the world to function on battery-power alone, and it allows remote operation so you can cool the interior before getting into the car.
LEDs, optional in low beam headlamps, standard are halogen, are standard in the rear tail and stop lamps, helping to reduce the vehicle’s power consumption. A/C, a major energy drain, has been re-engineered to increase efficiency and cool-down performance. In addition, an exhaust heat recirculation system reduces heat waste by warming engine coolant during cold startup, for improved performance. It also heats up the passenger cabin more efficiently.
The third-generation Prius is built on a new platform that enables improved handling control and quieter operation. The suspension employs an independent strut setup and a rear beam design, like the previous model, but handling response is sharper and the ride made smoother by improving the front/rear stabilizer layout and geometry and re-tuning the bushing characteristics. The Prius stops quickly with power-assisted 4-wheel steel disc brakes-vented up front and solid in the rear. Heavy-duty brake pads really pull the car to a full stop and the brakes regenerate electricity back into the battery so you know they are strong. Total weight has been lessened with the use of aluminum for the hood, rear hatch, front stabilizer bar and brake calipers and by using super high-tensile strength steel in the inner rocker panel, center pillar and roof reinforcement.
Viewed from the cockpit, the center instrument cluster smoothly flows from the instrument panel to the console. Handy storage space has been added under the shift lever by taking advantage of the shift-by-wire system. Simple fin-type air vents and the judicious use of silver accents add a finished, technical feel and look. The look is very modern, like the car’s concept of hybrid propulsion, and all switches, dials and levers are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel.
The available Touch Tracer Display features touch sensors on the steering wheel switches that are designed to reduce driver eye movement for better concentration on the road. When you touch the audio or trip switch located on the steering wheel, a duplicate image is displayed on the instrument cluster, directly in front of you. Touch Tracer is the first display system in the world to allow steering wheel controls to display in the instrument cluster.
In pursuit of new technologies for sustainable mobility,Toyota uses plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in the third-generation Prius. Known as ‘ecological plastic’ the new material is used in the rear cushion foam, cowl side trim, inner and outer scuff plates, and deck trim cover. Ecological plastic emits less CO2 during the production process than conventional plastic; it also helps reduce petroleum use.
The new Prius was designed to comply with class-top level collision safety performance in each global sales region, and to accommodate increasingly strict safety requirements in the future. In addition to driver/front passenger Advanced Airbag System, front and rear side curtain airbags, driver/front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, front/rear crumple zones, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front pretensioners/load limiters, steel beams in each door, LATCH child seat anchors, a driver’s knee airbags are all standard. Active headrests are used in both front seats to help reduce the possibility of whiplash injury in a rear collision. ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control and enhanced Vehicle Stability Control make up Toyota’s standard Star Safety System.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control using advanced millimeter wave radar is optional. The system also enables the available Lane Keep Assist, which can help you stay within the lane, and the Pre-Collision System, which retracts the front seatbelts and applies the brakes in certain conditions when a crash is unavoidable.
Third-generation Advanced Guidance Parking System features simplified settings to help guide the car into a parking space. A backup camera, which provides a view of rear obstacles when reverse gear is selected, is available with an optional voice-activated navigation system. Safety Connect, Toyota’s first safety and security service, includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, emergency assistance button (SOS), and roadside assistance, one-year trial subscription included.
Prius is offered in one model with five different standard equipment packages designated one, two, three, four and five. Each grade adds varying levels of exterior and interior features. Then on top of those, option packages include-a navigation package on models three, four and five that includes a voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system with integrated backup camera, JBL AM/FM, 4-CD changer with MP3/WMA playback capability, eight speakers XM radio with NavTraffic, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, and hands-free phone capability, and music streaming via Bluetooth technology. Prius four and five also include Safety Connect. A solar roof package is available on Prius three and four and includes all contents in the navigation package, a power tilt/slide moonroof with a solar powered ventilation system and remote A/C.
An advanced technology package available in Prius model five includes all contents in the navigation package, dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane keep assist and advanced guidance parking system.
Standard equipment not mentioned above includes all power express up/down windows, power door locks, push button start/stop ignition, power heated/folding sideview mirrors,
unlocking doors with keyfob in pocket or purse, front variable and rear intermittent wipers/washers, electric power steering, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise-control, center console with sliding armrest and storage, dual cupholders, rear pull-down armrest/dual cupholders, 60/40-split folding rear seats, auto climate control system, over head console with dual map lamps, grab handles above each door, cargo tonneau cover, dual-tier glove box, dual power outlets, thick cut-pile carpeting/floor mats, and storage slots in each door.
I tested the base two model and was happy with the standard equipment that made my ride more enjoyable. It was loaded with what I would like to see in most regular gasoline powered vehicles. The price was only $23,050.00 which is a little high for a mid-size sedan but you will save plenty of money down the line with an EPA mileage spec of 54mpg/city and 48mpg/highway. You can even push those numbers higher by driving conservatively and not launching too hard and coasting to a stop when you see the traffic light change from green to yellow.
- Price: Base Prius (One) MSRP $22,120 As-Tested $23,050
- Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive 1.8-liter inline-4cyl 98 horsepower + 36 horsepower electric motor = 134 horsepower total / 105 ft-lbs. torque
- Wheelbase: 106.3in.
- Total length: 175.6in.
- Total width: 68.7in.
- Total height: 58.7in.
- Track: f/r-60/59.8in.
- Turing circle: 34.2ft.
- Ground clearance: 5.5in.
- Headroom: f/r-38.6/37.6in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/36in.
- Passenger volume: 93.7cu.ft.
- Cargo volume: 21.6 with seats up/39.6 with rear seats folded
- Fuel tank: 11.9 gallons
- EPA mileage est.: 51 mpg city / 48 mpg highway
- 0-60 mph: 10.1 seconds
- Curb weight: 3,042lbs.