First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
In August 2013, Toyota Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso, who was chief engineer for the Prius line, announced some of the improvements and key features of the next generation Prius. This was the first generation of the Prius to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform, which provides a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. Ogiso also explained that the next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime, was developed in parallel with the standard Prius model.
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.
As of April 2011, the US accounted for almost half of Prius liftback global sales, with 1 million Priuses sold since 2000. However, the Prius experienced two consecutive years of sales decreases from its peak in 2007, falling to 139,682 units in 2009 before rebounding to 140,928 units in 2010. Sales in Japan reached 1 million Priuses in August 2011. As of January 2017, sales of the Prius liftback totaled over 1.8 million units in Japan and 1.75 million in the United States, and ranked as the all-time best-selling hybrid car in both countries.
Despite its larger size and strong acceleration, the Camry Hybrid returns an EPA-estimated 52 mpg combined to match the standard Prius. We also like the Camry for its spacious interior and cargo capacity, but deduct a few points for its noticeable braking transition between regeneration and mechanical systems. The base Camry's ride quality also tends to feel overly soft on the highway.
All 2019 Prius models receive a slight styling refresh that replaces some polarizing body panels with more conventional ones. The unusual marker lights that used to drop below the main headlights are gone, as are the awkward creases in the front fascia directly below them. The same holds true for the taillights that now have a more horizontal orientation.
When the vehicle is turned on with the "Power" button, it is ready to drive immediately with the electric motor. In the North American second generation Prius, electric pumps warm the engine by pumping previously saved hot engine coolant from a coolant thermos before the internal combustion engine is started. The delay between powering the car on and starting the internal combustion engine is a few seconds. The third generation Prius does not have a coolant thermos. Instead, the engine is heated by recapturing exhaust heat. A button labelled "EV" maintains Electric Vehicle mode after being powered on and under most low-load conditions at less than 25 mph (40 km/h). This permits driving with low noise and no fuel consumption for journeys under 0.5 miles (0.80 km). Prior to the 2010 model, the North American model did not have the "EV" button, although one can be added to enable the "EV" mode supported internally by the Prius Hybrid Vehicle management computer. For the N.American market, the third generation can remain in EV mode until 70 km/h (43 mph) depending on throttle and road gradient.
Along with updated styling, the Prius grew for 2016, increasing cargo space. A new platform improved handling and ride. Though output from the carryover engine decreased slightly, thanks to lighter hybrid components fuel mileage estimates increased to 54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway; an Eco version was even more efficient. Lithium-ion batteries are now used on some variations. Six trim levels are offered.
Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief R. James Woolsey, Jr. drives a Prius because of its low fuel consumption. Woolsey noted the volatility of the Middle East, coupled with anti-US sentiment in much of the region. Noting that the high percentage of oil drilled in the Middle East gives vast profits to Middle Eastern regimes, Woolsey believes that it is a patriotic obligation to drive more efficient vehicles. In a Motor Trend magazine article, Woolsey stated that those oil profits find their way to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, meaning that Americans who buy inefficient vehicles would, in effect, be indirectly funding terrorism. "We're paying for both sides in this war, and that's not a good long-term strategy," said Woolsey. "I have a bumper sticker on the back of my Prius that reads, 'Bin Laden hates this car.'"
High gasoline prices in the US, approaching US$4 a gallon by March 2012, contributed to record monthly sales of the Prius family vehicles. A total of 28,711 units were sold in the United States during March 2012, becoming the one-month record for Prius sales ever. The third-generation Prius liftback accounted for 18,008 units (62.7%); the Prius v accounted for 4,937 units (17.2%); the Prius c, for 4,875 units (17.0%); and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, for 891 units (3.1%). Another record was set during the first-quarter of 2012, with Prius family sales of 60,859 units, it became the best selling quarter ever. Sales of Toyota Prius family vehicles in California represented 26% of all Prius purchases in the US during 2012. With 60,688 units sold during this year, the Prius became the best selling vehicle in California, ahead of the previous leader, the Honda Civic (57,124 units) and the third ranked, the Toyota Camry (50,250 units). The Prius nameplate was again in 2013 the best selling vehicle in California with 69,728 units sold in the state, ahead of the Honda Civic (66,982) and the Honda Accord (63,194).
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.
In 1995, Toyota debuted a hybrid concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, with testing following a year later. The first Prius, model NHW10, went on sale on 10 December 1997. The first generation Prius (NHW10) was available only in Japan, though it has been imported privately to at least the United States, United Kingdom, Australia,[not in citation given][dubious – discuss] and New Zealand.
The Prius is a power-split or series-parallel (full) hybrid, sometimes referred to as a combined hybrid, a vehicle that can be propelled by gasoline or electric power or both. Wind resistance is reduced by a drag coefficient of Cd=0.25 (0.29 for 2000 model) with a Kammback design to reduce air resistance. Lower rolling-resistance tires are used to reduce road friction. An electric water pump eliminates serpentine belts. In the US and Canada, a vacuum flask is used to store hot coolant when the vehicle is powered off for reuse so as to reduce warm-up time. The Prius engine makes use of the Atkinson cycle.
The NHW11 Prius became more powerful partly to satisfy the higher speeds and longer distances that Americans drive. Air conditioning and electric power steering were standard equipment. While the larger Prius could seat five, its battery pack restricted cargo space. The Prius was offered in US in three trim packages: Standard, Base and Touring. The US EPA (CARB) classified the car with an air pollution score of 3 out of 10 as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). Prius owners were eligible for up to a US$2,000 federal tax deduction from their gross income. Toyota executives stated that with the Prius NHW10 model, the company had been losing money on each Prius sold, and with the NHW11 it was now breaking even.
There's nothing mysterious about the midsize-car formula: four doors, room for five passengers, big trunk, decent power, good fuel economy, and up-to-date technology. Most mainstream family sedans start at around $24,000 and try to match each other feature for feature, making this one of the most competitive car segments you'll find. There are a number of good sedans out there, but these are our top picks.