Detroit Auto Show 2009: New 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid Will Get 50 MPG, Optional Solar Roof


Photo: Michael Graham Richard. Click to see 2010 Toyota Prius Slideshow.

2010 Toyota^ Prius Hybrid: Hello World

After some not too suspenseful waiting, here it is. The official debut of the 3rd generation Toyota Prius hybrid! You can see tons of pictures by going to our 2010 Prius Slideshow (click here or image above), and you can find out all about the new features and technical specs below.

Read on for more!
Photo: Michael Graham Richard. Click to see 2010 Toyota Prius Slideshow.

2010 New Prius Specifications

First, MPG. After all, that's the first thing that people ask about when it comes to the Prius. Here the news are good, though not fantastic. The 2nd generations Prius (released in 2004) got a combined 46 MPG using the new EPA standardized tests. The 3rd generation Prius will get 50 MPG despite having a larger and more powerful engine.


Photo: Michael Graham Richard. Click to see 2010 Toyota Prius Slideshow.

The 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder (76 HP) is replaced by a 1.8-liter Atkinson 4-cylinder that produces 98 HP (for a total of 134 HP with the electric motor, compared to a total of 110 HP for the previous generation Prius). One of the benefits of the bigger engine is that it keeps a lower RPM on the highway, improving fuel economy there, a relative weakness of most hybrids.

Transmission is still a CVT.

Extensive wind-tunnel tests helped Toyota bring the coefficient of drag (how slippery the car is in the air) down, from 0.26 to 0.25. This will help fuel economy, especially on the highway.

It's kind of funny how, from certain angles, the new Honda Insight hybrid looks more like a Prius, and the new Prius looks more like a Honda Civic Hybrid. Talk about cross-breeding.


Photo: Michael Graham Richard. Click to see 2010 Toyota Prius Slideshow.

Making the Prius Sportier?

Toyota writes: "Internal tests show that Prius’ zero-to-sixty acceleration time has dropped from the previous generation’s mid 10-second range to 9.8 seconds, making it comparable to that of an average mid-size sedan with a 2.4-liter engine."

There is also a "power" driving mode that can be activated at the press of a button. This "increases sensitivity to throttle input," making the car more responsive.

But if what you're after is not speed but MPG, there's also an "ECO" mode to help you increase fuel efficiency (this is kind of the opposite of the "power" mode; making cruise control less aggressively try to keep speed, making throttle response smoother, etc).

And finally in North-America, the Prius will come with an "EV-Drive" mode to allow you to stay in all-electric mode at low speeds for up to a mile.

Continued on page 2!

Tags: Detroit Auto Show | Hybrid Cars | Toyota | Transportation

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