The Toyota Prius was introduced in our country in 1997, and is America’s top-selling hybrid car. The Prius accounts for almost 51% of the 270,000 or so hybrids sold in America each year, and globally the U.S. accounts for half of Prius production. The name on the car, “Prius”, is Latin for “before”. This is the second “Prii” that I have driven this year, with the first one designated as a “V”, for versatile. This 2012 that I am reporting on now was a Winter Gray metallic, 3rd generation Prius in the Five Model configuration. A Five Model is the top-of-the-line Prius with SofTex leather-like interior and 17” alloy five spoke wheels, among other things. And by third generation, I mean the car that has been on the market since 2009, with its full re-design. It is the best-looking Prius that has ever been produced.
During the week, Ruth and I travelled to Denver twice in the little gray Prius and obtained over 40 miles per gallon of regular gasoline. We were so excited about the national championship game at the Pepsi Center, I must admit that we failed to nail down the exact mileage of the car. Everyone knows these Prii do good on gas, and the economy ratings are 50/city and 48/highway. The reason that city ratings are superior is because of the availability of electric power to cruise around town. The Prius has a 98 horsepower (1.8 liter) gasoline engine and two electric motor/generators on board. In the “EV” mode, a person can drive to the neighbors or perhaps to Loaf ‘n Jug without the gas engine even operating. For highway driving, you need internal combustion engine power, but the car runs pretty quietly and ride/handling are fine. The Prius is pretty roomy (it seats five) and comfortable, with fetching two-tone seats and plenty of cup holders and compartments. This Prius was base-priced at $29,805.00, and freight and technology package brought the total to $34,885.00. That last item provided hard-disk nav, JBL sound system with MP3 connection, Entune (a Toyota exclusive), HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth, hands-free phone setup, back-up camera, radar cruise control, lane keep assist, and head-up speedometer display in the windshield. Approaching the car with a key fob in your pocket, you can just reach for the door handle and get in. Upon getting situated, you just push the button and the car is ready to drive (even though you may not hear anything). The navigation screen was 6.1” touch-type, and provided oodles of information for interested parties.
Outside, the car had blue-accent car badges, rear spoiler, LED headlamps, power mirrors, and front fog lamps. Tires that were fitted on the 17” alloys were P215/45R17 all-season radials. I recommend the Prius to anyone looking for a solid investment and a method for saving money on gas. A person could wait for the plug-in Prius, due out soon, but would have to spend a little more money, and, well, plug it in. Either way a person wants to go, the pump prices we are seeing make the purchase pretty sensible.