First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
Along with the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord rewrote the American family sedan narrative, shifting it from the lumbering relics of the Jet Age to more compact and fuel-efficient transportation. Despite decades of success with the Accord, Honda hasn't rested on its laurels. With its sleek fastback design, today's Accord displays its sharpest style yet. Powerful yet fuel-efficient engines, a user-friendly infotainment system, and standard advanced safety features, including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, make the Accord one of the best picks, even among this elite group. A hybrid, rated at 47 mpg, is also available. See the Accord in our Sedan rankings
We also drove both cars on a flat but snow-covered road with an obstacle course that required a quick right-left S-turn. When we tried the maneuver in the front-drive Prius, its front tires were easily overwhelmed when we accelerated and steered at the same time. Because of that, it was hard to keep the car from running wide. With AWD-e, there was still some squirming through the course, but it was far more composed and easy to drive.
Despite the newly available all-wheel-drive system, we'd stick with the standard front-drive Prius. Still, those who live where there are more winter months than summer months may appreciate the improved all-weather capability. We prefer the eco-friendliest Prius, which is the entry-level L Eco. It lacks the fanciest options and creature comforts found on more expensive versions, but it has higher fuel-economy estimates from the EPA and solid standard features. These include two USB ports for the back seat, push-button start, passive entry on the driver's door, and numerous driver assists such as adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and automatic high-beam headlights.
From 2005 to 2009, the second generation Prius had been built by FAW-Toyota in the city of Changchun for the Chinese market. It was reported that a total of 2,152 Priuses were sold in 2006 and 414 in 2007. The relatively low sales was blamed on high price, about US$15,000 higher than the equivalent in Japan or the US, caused by high duties on imported parts. In early March 2008, Toyota cut the price of Prius by up to eight percent or US$3,000 to CN¥259,800 (US$36,500). It was thought that the sales dropped as a result of both a lack of acceptance and increased competition. The Toyota Prius Hybrid was exported to China from 2007. Toyota sold about 1,192,000-second generation Priuses worldwide.
Several US companies offer employees incentives. Bank of America will reimburse US$3,000 on the purchase of new hybrid vehicles to full- and part-time associates working more than 20 hours per week. Google, software company Hyperion Solutions, and organic food and drink producer Clif Bar & Co offer employees a US$5,000 credit toward their purchase of certain hybrid vehicles including the Prius. Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto IT company, offers a US$10,000 subsidy toward the purchase of hybrid vehicles to full-time employees employed more than one year.
The yin to BMW's yang, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the answer for buyers who prefer comfort and elegance to the BMW's performance edge. That's not to say the E-Class is a wallflower when push comes to shove. Hardly. One ride in the spirited new AMG E 53 model (362 horsepower) will make you a believer. But the E-Class is really about luxury and craft. It's a finely built sedan with a taut yet forgiving suspension, exceptional seat comfort, a wide range of options, and world-class safety features that include some of the best semi-automated driving systems available. The E-Class tends to cost more than its rivals, but it's hard to argue that it's not worth it. This is simply one of the best luxury sedans you can buy. See the E-Class in our Sedan rankings
The Prius offers Toyota's in-house Entune software for smartphone integration. Setup requires a lengthy app download and account creation process. Entune's app support is meager and less intuitive than CarPlay or Android Auto (neither of which is offered). The Bluetooth menu offers better control and search functionality than most other Bluetooth systems.