Seat-mounted side air bags and side curtain air bags, optional on last year's Prius, are now standard. The new Prius Touring Edition gets a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, HID headlights, a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, and fog lights.
When the original Pruis went on sale in Japan in December of 1997, it became the world's first mass-produced hybrid car. Toyota offered the Prius for sale in North America as a 2001 model. Toyota introduced the second-generation Prius for the 2004 model year as a larger 5-door hatchback with improved acceleration and fuel economy. The new Prius offered Camry-like interior space, hatchback convenience, and futuristic styling inside and out. This was the formula that worked, and the new Pruis was a hit.
The Prius combines a 76-hp 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor to produce a combined output of 110 hp. While that may not seem like much, consider that the electric motor produces a V-8-like 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 0 to 1200 RPM, and it becomes clear why the Prius is able to quickly accelerate. The hybrid system's computer selects the best mix of power between gasoline and electricity, the latter stored in a hidden battery compartment that uses regenerative charging from the motion of the Prius. EPA fuel economy estimates are 60 mpg in city driving and 51 on the highway. Despite the fact that hybrids are more about ecology than the sport of driving, Toyota has introduced a new Touring model with a European-tuned suspension in an effort to appeal to the driving enthusiasts among the environmentally conscious.
In addition to Toyota's regular warranty-3 years/36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain-Toyota warrants the hybrid components, including traction battery, control modules, and inverter, for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The Toyota Prius competes in the Compact Conventional segment, which consists of 20 models. Buyers in this segment look for fuel economy, reliability, and safety, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Toyota Corolla (328,699 units sold), Honda Civic (316,638), and Chevrolet Cobalt (211,449). The Toyota Prius sold 106,971 units in 2006, a decrease of 0.9 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Conventional segment include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta, Saturn Ion, and Hyundai Elantra. Joining the segment in 2007 are the Pontiac G5, Suzuki SX4, and Volkswagen Rabbit.
|Base (CVT-E)||continuously variable automatic||$22,175||76-hp / 1.5L 4-cyl||60/51|
|Touring (CVT-E)||continuously variable automatic||$23,070||76-hp / 1.5L 4-cyl||60/51|