One of the first mass-produced and marketed hybrid electric cars was the Toyota Prius. This pioneering member of the hybrid automotive community was introduced in America in 2001 as a four door sedan with a 1.5 liter inline 4 cylinder gasoline engine with a continuously variable transmission that worked with an electric motor to power the vehicle. The electric motor was recharged with an engine driven generator as well as by the energy reserved when the driving in a coasting or braking mode. This fuel efficient and environmentally friendly technology was still a relatively unfamiliar concept to many motorists in 2001, but with the rising cost of fuel and concerns about the environment, the 5 passenger Prius was gratefully embraced in the United States.
As the years passed, the Prius quickly gained market share with its hybrid technology and family friendly design. The Prius was so widely accepted it was recognized at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the 'North American Car of the Year' for the 2004 model year. For the 2004 model year, the Prius arrived in four door hatchback style, further increasing the utility of this relatively comfortable mid size car. The reliable battery back that recharges the electric motor is stowed between the trunk and the back seats and is for the most part physically unnoticeable. However, the fuel efficiency is definitely noticeable, with gas mileage easily averaging over 40 miles per gallon.
As of the 2007 model year, the Toyota Prius is the most fuel efficient car sold in the United States. The two available models are the well equipped base model and the Touring edition, which features a sport suspension system, rear spoiler and 16" alloy wheels. Both models have front seat side and full length curtain airbags as part of the standard equipment package. Reliable, safe and affordably priced, the Prius is a practical and comfortable mid size car that offers hybrid bonuses such as excellent fuel efficiency.
2011 Toyota Prius
Reviewers are quick to point out that the 2011 Toyota Prius isn't nimble, and even though it qualifies as a mid-sized car, it's not all that comfortable. The regenerative braking (as opposed to traditional friction brakes) is spongy, and although the car will jump from zero to 60 mph in under 10 seconds, it does so with disturbing hesitations and surges. Yet 50 percent of the hybrids on the road in the United States today out of a selection of roughly 24 make and model combination are Prii. Why?
The answer, for the most part, starts and stops with fuel economy and price point. The 2011 Prius gets 51 mpg in town and 48 on the highway with the average price paid for the vehicle falling in a range of $23,225 to $30,700. (MSRP is $23,520 to $28,790.) How far behind is the competition? Well, go shopping for a 2011 Honda Insight hybrid and you will save money on the sticker price, which sits at $18,200. Once behind the wheel, however, the combined mileage for the Insight is just 41 mpg, not even as good at the 2010 Prius at 46 mpg. more
2010 Toyota Prius
The 2010 Toyota Prius, with a base price of $22,000 and a fuel efficiency rating of 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway, is the third generation of the gas-electric hybrid which the automotive world is still scrambling to overtake.
2009 Toyota Prius
As the most popular hybrid sedan on the market, the 2009 Toyota Prius has nothing to prove. Yet, it makes a bold statement with an ultramodern profile and incredible fuel economy.
2008 Toyota Prius
For the coming model year the base price of the 2008 Toyota Prius has fallen to $20,950 with the Touring edition selling for $23,220. Producing 110 horsepower in its gas-electric combo mode, the Prius will make the zero to 60 jump in 10.2 seconds, more than respectable for a hybrid just pushing the limit of a designation as "mid-sized.".
2007 Toyota Prius
The 2007 Toyota Prius is a hybrid 4-door sedan that comes in 2 trim levels, 4-Door Liftback, and Touring versions. It is propelled by a 4-cylinder 1.5 liter gasoline engine that produces 76 hp @ 5000 rpm, combined with a 65 hp AC synchronous electric motor.