Friday, February 7, 2014


To figure out what all the hype about the Toyota Prius is we will first have to look at the origin of this hybrid car that gets very high gas mileage.

The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, and was available at all four Toyota Japan dealerships, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2000. The Prius is sold in almost 80 countries and regions, with its largest markets being those of Japan and the United States.

Toyota debuted the new Prius (2010 US model year) at the January 2009 North American International Auto Show, and sales began in Japan on May 18, 2009. Toyota cut the price of the Prius from ¥2.331 million to ¥2.05 million to better compete with the Honda Insight, leading some to wonder whether increased sales of the Prius might come at the expense of sales of other vehicles with higher margins. Competition from lower priced hybrids, such as the Honda Insight, also made it difficult for Toyota to capitalize on the Prius's success. As of June 2013, Toyota has sold about 1,688,000 third-generation Prii worldwide.

At its introduction in 2009, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award for the second time.
Its new body design is more aerodynamic, with a reduced drag coefficient of Cd=0.25. This figure is disputed by General Motors which found the value for the model with 17" wheels to be around 0.30 based on tests in GM, Ford, and Chrysler wind tunnels. An under-body rear fin helps stabilize the vehicle at higher speeds.

Although the typical Toyota Prius driver might call America’s most popular hybrid fun to drive, excitement behind the wheel is not the goal. Instead, each model in the growing Prius family offers virtually unmatched fuel efficiency. The lineup includes the original hatchback, the compact and affordable Prius C, the Prius V wagon, and a plug-in version with a longer electric-only range.

The estimated fuel-efficiency rating, using the U.S. EPA combined cycle, is 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp). The Prius was the most efficient car powered by liquid fuel available in the U.S. in 2009, based on the official rating. Only the first-generation Honda Insight (2000–2006) equipped with a manual transmission attained a lower fuel consumption rate. The official UK fuel efficiency data for the Prius T3 is Urban 72.4 mpg-imp (3.90 L/100 km; 60.3 mpg-US), Extra Urban 76.4 mpg-imp (3.70 L/100 km; 63.6 mpg-US), Combined 72.4 mpg-imp (3.90 L/100 km; 60.3 mpg-US).

The 1.8-liter gasoline engine (previously 1.5 liters) generates 98 hp (73 kW), and with the added power of the electric motor generates a total of 134 hp (100 kW) (previously 110 hp or 82 kW). The larger engine displacement allows for increased torque, reducing engine speeds (RPM), which improves fuel economy at highway speeds. Thanks to its electric water pump, the Prius engine is the first consumer automotive production engine that requires no accessory belts, which also further improves its fuel economy. The electric motors and other components of the hybrid powertrain are also smaller and more efficient than the industry average. Toyota estimates the new inverter, motor and transaxle are 20 percent lighter.

The Prius V grows to size-XL by getting a three-inches-longer wheelbase and another 6.0 inches in overall length, with a 70-percent increase in maximum cargo space, thanks to a roof that is flattened out and carried back, wagon style, to a nearly vertical hatchback. With the rear seats up, the V offers 34 cubic feet, a considerable volume when most mid-size sedans have trunks in the 15-to-19-cubic-foot range. Fold the middle seats (nearly) flat, and you have a hangar: 67 cubes.

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