First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
Presented at the April 2003 New York International Auto Show, for the 2004 US model year, the NHW20 Prius was a complete redesign. It became a compact liftback, sized between the Corolla and the Camry, with redistributed mechanical and interior space significantly increasing rear-seat legroom and luggage room. The second generation Prius is more environmentally friendly than the previous model (according to the EPA), and is 6 inches (150 mm) longer than the previous version. Its more aerodynamic Kammback body balances length and wind resistance, resulting in a drag coefficient of Cd=0.26. The development effort, led by chief engineer Shigeyuki Hori, led to 530 patents for the vehicle.
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 Priuses worldwide.
Available also as a hybrid, sports model or a standard, this is a top mid-size sedan with a fuel economy of 30 in the city and 38 for the highway. It’s dependable, easy to drive, energy efficient and powerful, and even its base model has a 33 mile-per-gallon combined fuel economy — with the hybrid option offering 48 MPG combined. It comes with a standard 192-horsepower 1.5-liter engine, though if you spring for the 2.0-liter turbo, you’ll get 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (though the mileage ratings are not nearly as good). This year’s model hasn’t changed much since last year, however, so if you want to save a little money, consider purchasing this vehicle used.
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We sampled both the standard front-wheel-drive Prius and the Prius AWD-e on a snow-covered course in Wisconsin to experience the differences firsthand. On a rather conservative uphill grade, the front-drive Prius was unable to find the traction to climb. The AWD-e, in contrast, was able to get up the hill. Its front wheels struggled briefly to pull the car upward until the rear wheels gave it the nudge they needed. There was a slight lateral creep when the front wheels spun freely, but the Prius never felt as though it would veer off the intended path.
The Audi A6 has been redesigned for 2019 with an emphasis on evolutionary improvements. Like its predecessor, the new A6 delivers space, technology, luxury and performance in spades, but it's more refined and advanced than ever. Most of the changes for 2019 center on the A6's technology offerings, including additional advanced driver safety aids and a new dual-touchscreen interface that replaces the old knob-based MMI system. Equipped with a velvety-smooth turbocharged V6, the A6 won't leave you pining for more acceleration, although you may find yourself wanting a softer ride. With its typically European sporting bias, the all-wheel-drive A6 rides a tad firmer than some shoppers might prefer, but it's a remarkably well-rounded car overall. See the A6 in our Sedan rankings
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On the inside, Toyota has replaced the white plastic interior trim with black glossy and semi-glossy finishes. The Prius lineup has gone through a name change, too, dropping the numbered trims with a more traditional Toyota name lineup of L Eco, LE, XLE and Limited. Feature content remains largely unchanged, which unfortunately also means Apple CarPlay is not yet available. On the plus side, the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of advanced safety features is standard on all Prius trims.
The Prius offers little in the way of driving enjoyment and refinement. Still, the steering effort is pleasingly weighted, and responses to your inputs are accurate—making the handling feel almost lively. Feedback from the road is non-existent, though, and feels numb on-center. Braking is a common gremlin for hybrid vehicles, which use a mix of regenerative and friction braking. Inconsistent or numb feedback from the pedal, as we experienced in the Prius, is often the trade-off and, combined with the low-rolling-resistance tires that most hybrids wear, can make for longer braking distances in our testing than we would expect from other similar-size non-hybrid vehicles.
^ Jump up to: a b "Most Efficient EPA Certified Vehicles". U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016. The 2014–16 BMW i3 BEV was the most efficient EPA-certified vehicles considering all fuels and of all years until November 2016, when it was surpassed by the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric. As of November 2016, the 2016 Toyota Prius Eco hybrid car is most efficient EPA-certified vehicle with a gasoline engine without plug-in capability.
For 2019, car shoppers have another reason to consider the Prius: available all-wheel drive. The new Prius AWD-e adds an electric motor to drive the rear wheels for better initial traction between 0 and 6 mph and re-engages when front tire slippage is detected at speeds up to 43 mph. If you live in an area that has snowy or icy roads during the winter, the AWD-e could provide extra traction. Fuel economy suffers only slightly with the Prius AWD-e.
But the Prius AWD-e isn't quite like other all-wheel-drive vehicles. Instead of drawing from the engine to power the rear wheels, this new Prius uses a separate electric motor to enhance initial traction from 0 to 6 mph. If wheel slippage is detected, the motor will re-engage at speeds up to 43 mph. That means the rear wheels are only powered when needed, minimizing the detrimental effects that traditional all-wheel-drive systems have on fuel economy. Toyota estimates this new Prius AWD-e will achieve 50 mpg combined (52 city/48 highway), which is still very impressive. By comparison, the standard Prius gets an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined, while the Prius L Eco earns 56 mpg combined.
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.
Stepping up to the XLE trim brings 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, keyless entry for the front passenger door and rear hatch, SofTex simulated leather upholstery and wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a semi-gloss black center console and a wireless charging pad. It also reverts back to the tire inflation kit.
If you’ve always coveted a Tesla but didn’t want to spend close to six figures, this might be your route. It’s a mid-size electric car with plenty of technology, as expected with this brand. Additionally, the trunk is large enough to easily hold a mountain bike (as long as you fold the flat rear seats), and the interior cabin is large and comfortable. Consider the long-range battery version — approximated at an extra $7,000 — if you plan on driving longer distances.