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2006 Toyota Prius Sedan - Overview

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$21,725 – $21,725 MSRP

$20,006 – $20,006 Invoice

60 / 51 MPG City/Hwy

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2006 Toyota Prius Sedan

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Overview

What's New
America's best-selling gas-electric hybrid gets new variable-force front air bags and minor styling tweaks for 2006. New options include leather seats, MP3-compatible sound systems with input jacks for portable audio players, and a backup camera to help the driver spot objects behind the vehicle.

Overview
The second-generation Toyota Prius, introduced in 2004, was the car that made hybrids practical. Unlike the original Corolla-sized Prius, the new version was large enough for serious family duty. Its hatchback design added practicality while its futuristic looks added curb appeal, and the second-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive offered acceleration similar to a four-cylinder Camry (with significantly better fuel economy and lower emissions). For the 2006 calendar year, the Prius will be joined by two more Toyota hybrids-the Highlander and the 2007 Camry. Yet the Prius remains unique both in form and function.

The Prius' most notable feature is its sci-fi styling, a theme that continues inside. The dashboard ahead of the driver is a huge expanse of plastic; a cluster of digital gauges resides in the center, just below the windshield and closer to the driver's field of vision. A small, stubby joystick jutting out from the dash replaces the traditional shifter, while the traditional key is replaced by a power button that the driver pushes to activate the hybrid powertrain. ("Starting" isn't the right term, since pushing the button activates the hybrid system; the engine doesn't actually start immediately.) The key is a small square shape and slides into a slot on the dash-unless the vehicle is equipped with the optional proximity key system, in which the key stays in the driver's pocket or purse. When the car detects its presence nearby, it can be unlocked by touching the door handle. On the safety side, the Prius features standard dual-stage front air bags and anti-lock brakes. Side air bags and a Vehicle Stability Control system are optional.

The Prius is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, which consists of a 1.5L engine producing 76 hp and 82 lb.-ft. of torque and supplemented by an electric motor producing 67 hp and a massive 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The Prius can operate on either gasoline power, electric power, or both, with Hybrid Synergy Drive's computer brain automatically choosing the best mix. The electric motor is powered by a large battery; it serves as a generator to charge the battery as the brakes are applied. The Prius meets Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standards, while in California it qualifies as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (AT PZEV).

The Competition
The Toyota Prius competes against 17 other models in the Compact Conventional segment, a group that includes one other hybrid-only model, the Honda Insight, and the Honda Civic, which offers a hybrid version.

The Compact Conventional segment is a very balanced segment in terms of sales; each of the top nine sellers in the segment achieved greater than 100,000 sales in calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Honda Civic led this segment in 2005 with 308,415 sales, followed by the Toyota Corolla (244,032), and Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667). The Prius sold 107,897 units, ranking seventh on the segment sales chart, compared to just 666 units for Honda's hybrid-only model, the Insight. Other top-selling models in this segment include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta, and Saturn ION.

Top Rated Compact Cars

  • 2006 Toyota Corolla Sedan

    $14,105–$17,880 Base MSRP

    $13,047–$16,179 Invoice

    26/34 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 3.0

    Overall Dependability 4.0

  • 2006 Hyundai Elantra Hatchback

    $14,465–$16,315 Base MSRP

    $13,525–$15,092 Invoice

    24/32 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 2.0

    Overall Dependability 4.0

  • 2006 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

    $14,065–$15,915 Base MSRP

    $13,151–$14,722 Invoice

    24/32 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 2.0

    Overall Dependability 4.0

  • 2006 Honda Civic Coupe

    $14,560–$22,240 Base MSRP

    $13,327–$20,332 Invoice

    23/32 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 4.0

    Overall Dependability 3.0

  • 2006 Honda Civic Sedan

    $14,760–$24,440 Base MSRP

    $13,509–$22,719 Invoice

    28/38 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 4.0

    Overall Dependability 3.0

  • 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Sedan

    $22,150–$23,650 Base MSRP

    $20,250–$21,619 Invoice

    49/51 MPG City/Hwy

    Overall Quality 5.0

    Overall Performance and Design 4.0

    Overall Dependability 3.0

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