First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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 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
Launched in Japan in 1997, the Toyota Prius hybrid made its U.S. debut in 2001 and sold only 15,000 units that first year. By 2011, U.S. sales reached the 1 million mark, and today global sales top 3.5 million. The Prius uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor with a battery pack. The hybrid system saves fuel by using the electric motor at low speeds, with the gas engine automatically turning on when needed. The Prius’ batteries are recharged by energy captured from braking and by the gasoline engine. Known for its distinctive styling, the Prius name has been applied to other hybrid offerings, including the Prius c, v and Prime. Toyota’s hybrid system found in the Prius is also used in hybrid versions of some of Toyota’s mainstream models.
Toyota sold 223,905 Priuses among the various HEV family members in the US in 2012, representing together a market share of 51.5% of all hybrid sold in the country that year. In addition, a total of 12,750 Prius PHVs were sold in 2012, allowing the plug-in hybrid to rank as the second top selling plug-in electric car in the US after the Chevrolet Volt, and surpassing the Nissan Leaf. The Toyota Prius liftback, with 147,503 units sold, was the best selling hybrid in 2012, the Prius v ranked third with 40,669 units, and the Prius c was fourth with 35,733 units. Toyota USA estimated that sales of its hybrids models in 2012 would represent 14% of total Toyota sales in the country. Since their inception in 1999, a total of 1.5 million Prius family members have been sold in the US by mid October 2013, representing a 50.1% market share of total hybrid sales in the country. Of these, 1,356,318 are conventional Prius liftbacks sold through September 2013.
New "official" size designations in the U.S. were introduced by the EPA, which defined market segments by passenger and cargo space. Formerly mid-sized cars that were built on the same platform, like the AMC Matador sedan, had a combined passenger and cargo volume of 130 cubic feet (3.68 m3), and were now considered "full-size" automobiles.
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.
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.