The Toyota Prius Uncovered

The Toyota Prius Uncovered

The 2010 Toyota Prius (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)

For the past decade, the Toyota Prius has dominated the hybrid car market in the US.  The Prius model has become synonymous with hybrid cars that offer greater fuel efficiency and affordability.  When the third generation model was introduced in 2010, it meant a sleeker, more aerodynamic shape for the hatchback and greater fuel efficiency.

This latest model has a 1.8 litre engine that is matched with Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive that uses a pair of motor-generators and a lithium ion battery to reach speeds up to 60 km per hour.  There is added torque to kick along the engine power and recharge the battery when the car brakes or the engine gets tired.  The combined output of the entire hybrid system comes to a moderate 134 horsepower, which is nothing to be sneezed at.

The interior has a futuristic aesthetic with mostly plastic surfaces. An information centre is mounted next to the base of the windscreen, and the functional instruments are next to the driver’s side.   This year Toyota asked four artists to come up with signature looks for the exterior side-panelling of the hatchback, with striking and distinctive design choices to choose from. It’s a bold design move that brings the car’s aesthetic up to date with its cutting-edge technology.

Despite its small size, the Prius has plenty of leg room in the back seat and can fit five adults at a squeeze. The handling won’t inspire the adoration of sports-car fans but lives up to Toyota’s good reputation.  The engine gets from 0 to 97 kmph in just under ten seconds and runs silently at lower speeds. In terms of safety the Prius comes standard with seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability, plus a system to monitor tyre pressure.  An excellent, affordable all-rounder that is perfect for zipping from A to B.

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