By John Addison (11/6/09)
2010 Prius Lowest Carbon Footprint Hybrid
The 2010 Toyota Prius continues to deliver the best mileage in the United States. It will get you to work using less gasoline than the others, unless you get an electric vehicle like the Tesla. Accelerate on an expressway with power to spare. You can seat up to five, or drop the back seat and carry lots of business stuff, extras for a vacation, or bicycles and snow boards. The 2010 Prius is Toyota’s third generation hybrid. Over a decade, Toyota has learned and improved, giving the new Prius record fuel economy and more room inside. The Prius continues to outsell all other hybrid cars.
Mileage & Carbon Footprint
- 50 miles per gallon (mpg) overall
- 51 mpg highway
- 48 mpg city
- 3.7 tons CO2e carbon emissions per year
$28,000 if loaded with entertainment, navigation, solar moonroof
Hybrid Drive System
Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive engages an electric motor, a gasoline engine, or both to keep you moving. In slow traffic, only the 60 kW electric motor is engaged, receiving electricity from the NiMH battery pack. Most of the time, both electric motor and the 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine are working together to improve fuel efficiency. In this automatic, acceleration is smoothly managed by the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT).
The 2010 Prius lets you touch a button to select whether you want fuel economy or extra power: EV Mode –select to run in electric-only mode for less than 1 mile, ECO Mode – select to drive with the best fuel economy over a distance, and Power Mode – select for added acceleration. The new Prius also offers an optional solar moonroof – if you plan to park in the hot sun for hours, a cooling fan will be powered by the photovoltaic moon roof.
The 2010 Prius offers more space than it would appear from an outside glance. You can seat 5 passengers. Some want more leg room with the back seat. The middle seat in the back can be dropped to provide a convenient divider with two cup holders. The cargo space is 21.6 cubic feet. The 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat can be lowered for bicycles, lots of boxes, sporting equipment, and business stuff.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Prius the Top Safety Pick Award. The Prius scored a respectable NHTSA crash tests 4 out of 5 stars. Electronic stability control is standard on the Prius, giving most a solid driving feel, but frustrating those who want a sport car feel. 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake assistance are standard to prevent panic brake skids. The view through the rear mirror is not great; many buy the backup camera option. More expensive packages include advanced navigation features to keep you in the lane and to reduce collision risk. These options include: Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA).
Prius is such a popular name that Toyota may make it a separate brand like the Lexus and Scion. Toyota is putting into test 500 Plug-in Hybrid Priuses that can travel at least 12 miles in electric mode at up to 62 miles per hour. Toyota has unveiled concept cars like a Prius coupe and a battery-electric car. Just as it has hybrid market share leadership, Toyota wants to lead in electric cars.
Other Cars to Investigate
Honda Insight may save you $2,000 at the dealer. It is also a 5-seat hatchback with an aerodynamic design similar to the Prius. The Insight only gets 41 mpg in comparison to the Prius 50 mpg.
Honda Civic Hybrid appeals to some because it looks like a conventional sedan, rather than standing out like the Prius or Insight. It costs a bit more than the Prius and gets 42 mpg.
Ford Fusion Hybrid is a smooth riding traditional 4-door midsized sedan that is made in America. Expect to pay at least $6,000 above a Prius and only get 41 mpg.
Toyota Camry Hybrid appeals to Toyota customers who want a traditional-looking 4-door sedan to seat 5 and have more trunk room than the Prius. The Camry Hybrid only gets 34 mpg and costs about $4,000 more than a Prius.