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In 2010, Toyota released a device for the third-generation Prius meant to alert pedestrians of its proximity. Japan issued guidelines for such warning devices in January 2010 and the US approved legislation on December 2010. Models equipped with automatically activated systems include all 2012 and later model year Prius family vehicles that have been introduced in the United States, including the standard Prius, the Prius v, the Prius c and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The warning sound is activated when the car is traveling at less than 15 mph (24 km/h) and cannot be manually turned off.
The second generation Prius plug-in, called Toyota Prius Prime in the U.S. and Prius PHV in Japan, was developed in parallel with the standard fourth generation Prius model (XW50) released in December 2015. The model was released to retail customers in the U.S. in November 2016, followed by Japan in February 2017. In the American market, unlike the first generation model, the Prius Prime will be available in all 50 states. Cumulative global sales of both Prius plug-in generations totaled 79,300 units at the end of January 2017. The U.S. is the top selling market, with 46,133 units sold since inception through January 2017, of which, 3,788 units are second generation Prius Prime cars.
The Prius picked up its trademark hatchback configuration for 2004, moving from a compact to a mid-size with improved backseat room. Horsepower from the gas engine and electric motor increased to 76 and 67 hp, respectively. First advertised at 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway, the numbers went to 48/45 with revised EPA ratings. A new gear shifter added a “B” for engine braking. Safety ratings improved, and side airbags were standard.
What all-wheel drive won't do is help in the stopping department. Prius AWD-e models come shod with the same 15-inch, low-rolling-resistance Dunlop Enasave 01 all-season tires as front-drive Prius models. A good set of winter tires, even fitted to a front-drive Prius, would bring greater traction benefits to stopping as well as going. Mounted and balanced on a spare set of wheels, complete with TPMS sensors and wheel covers and shipped to your house from Tire Rack, these would run about $900. By comparison, the upcharge for all-wheel drive in a $25,900 Prius LE is $1400, and in the $28,740 XLE, it's $1000. Those are the two middle trims in Toyota's new Prius trim naming strategy; all-wheel drive is not available on the top-of-the-line Limited or the entry L Eco.
Simply put, the Prius AWD-e is more sure-footed and capable on snow — precisely what the added mechanicals intended to deliver. We'd also like to point out that these vehicles were equipped with the standard low-rolling-resistance tires that are focused on fuel efficiency rather than traction. Switching to all-season or snow tires would likely yield even better results.
The Prius will be available with all-wheel drive — Toyota calls it AWD-e — in its midgrade trim levels. The hybrid system under the hood returns unchanged, but Toyota added another electric motor between the rear wheels. It provides additional traction upon initial acceleration and, when needed, up to 43 mph. In order to better cope with colder climates, Toyota also replaced the usual lithium-ion battery pack with a nickel-metal hydride unit on the AWD-e.
A 2013 study by the Mayo Clinic found that patients with implanted cardiac devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators can safely drive or ride in hybrids or plug-in electric cars without risk of electromagnetic interference (EMI). The research was conducted using implantable devices from the three major manufacturers and a 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid. The study used 30 participants with implanted devices, and measured electric and magnetic fields in six positions inside and outside the Prius, and each position was evaluated at different speeds.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States, based on smog-forming emissions. The 2018 model year Prius Eco ranks as the second most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability, following the Hyundai Ioniq "Blue".
The following table presents fuel economy performance and carbon emissions for all Prius family models sold in Japan since 1997. The ratings are presented for both, the older official 10-15 mode cycle test and the new JC08 test designed for Japan's new standards that went into effect in 2015, but was already being used by several car manufacturers for new cars. The Prius 2nd generation became the first car to meet Japan's new 2015 Fuel Economy Standards measured under the JC08 test.
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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 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.
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Once the premier name in American sedans, Cadillac is a latecomer to the modern luxury-sedan world. It hasn't taken long for the fabled brand to reassert itself, though. The midsize CTS stands apart thanks to its distinctive design, sporty performance and advanced technology features. The standard four- and six-cylinder engine options don't overwhelm with power, but the optional turbo V6 is the equal of almost any rival. On a winding road, the CTS is easily one of the most engaging cars in its class, even alongside the 5 Series. The downside is a stiff ride quality that may give buyers pause, as well as an iffy control layout that incorporates Cadillac's sometimes-frustrating CUE infotainment system. Perhaps it's no surprise to learn that this year's CTS may be the last. See the CTS in our Sedan rankings
More and more hybrid vehicles are coming out every year, yet the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of them all, remains at the forefront. It provides high fuel economy (more than 50 mpg), a comfortable ride and a versatile cargo area. There's also the argument for peace of mind since Toyota certainly has a long history of making reliable hybrid vehicles.
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.
If the vehicle is traveling at a low speed and the camera-based system detects that a front-end collision is imminent while following a detected vehicle and the driver has not already applied the system can automatically apply the brakes to potentially help reduce the collision’s severity. The system may even help avoid the collision at very low speeds.
There are so many options within the 5 series, but experts suggest getting the 540i if you’re looking for a powerful sedan, though it is more expensive than the 530i ($53,400). Like other BMWs, the 540i comes with a dizzying array of options, including all-wheel drive and a hybrid version, not to mention numerous tiers and packages you can add — consumers who prefer (and can afford) customization may well swerve toward the BMW.
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.