First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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".
Consider that a larger-than-average chunk of the Prius's cost is directed to make possible its advanced powertrain, and the amount of plastic in the interior starts to make sense even as it left us wanting for better trimmings. It could be appointed in sumptuous leather and we'd still take issue with the center-mounted information gauges, which require the driver to take their eyes off the road too frequently. Passengers have plenty of room to spread out in the Prius—there's space for four six-footers thanks to upright seating—but several rivals offer even more legroom for back-seat passengers.
But it's the shift in consumer tastes toward compact crossovers that has most impacted the Prius. Toyota's own RAV4 Hybrid is neck-and-neck in sales this year, even with a base price that's almost $4000 higher and fuel economy numbers that start with 3s rather than 5s. If you're looking for an answer to the "Why all-wheel drive? Why now?" questions, this is it. It doesn't hurt that Toyota is already selling a nearly identical all-wheel-drive Prius in Japan, simplifying this marketing move.
Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to User Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service and GPS signals. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.
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.
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Low gasoline prices are partially to blame, but Toyota is also culpable. Redesigned fascias for the 2019 model are its admission that when the fourth-generation Prius debuted for 2016, it was an ugly baby. With less-angry headlights and a smoother, more conservative look, the new face and derriere can only be seen as an improvement, one applied to front-drive and all-wheel-drive cars alike. Some resurfacing inside replaces the blinding-white plastic trim that seemed dated from new with piano black, polishing the idea that after 20 years the Prius is still an aspirational product.
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.