The Prius Line Expands With New Models


The Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid on the market, so what would you do to draw more customers?  Well, some would say you would make a great marketing campaign and advertise a lot more, but no no no, that would be the easy way out.  What Toyota did is build great new models out of a popular car, like the Prius for example, so more folks could come and shop for a greater variety of Prius vehicles.

Prius v

prius v

The second model to enter the Prius family is the Toyota Prius v.  The letter v stands for versatility, and to no surprise, the Prius v has about twice as much cargo and interior space as the current Prius.  It has the same 1.8 L four-cylinder engine as the current Prius, coupled to an electric motor.  Total power is 134 horsepower, like the standard Prius.  This being the US version, it still uses nickel-metal hydride battery technology, whereas in Asia and Europe, they use a lithium-ion battery.

This Prius v is a station wagon, and it has sliding and reclining rear seats, great for road trips.  MPG is slightly lower than the 3rd generation Prius, but it is still rated at 44 city/40 highway/42 combined.  That’s not bad for a vehicle with lots of cargo space and interior volume.  There is a new feature called pitch and bounce control, which will limit the amount of shaking of the car, and it will reduce the bounciness on choppy streets.

This is one of the first Toyotas to ship with Entune.  Entune is a service that uses your smartphone’s data plan to connect online and use numerous services like Bing, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Open Table, and movietickets.com.  This requires the Entune app on your smartphone to connect online with your car.  Only the Prius v Three and Five include Entune, HD Radio, and flash-based navigation.  All models come standard with Bluetooth, USB, back-up camera, and Smart Key.

The base Prius v Two starts at  around 26 grand.  The Three will run you around 27 grand, giving you navigation and voice command.  Stepping up to the top-of-the-line Prius v Five gets you to sub-30 grand.  The Prius v Five is available with the Advanced Technology Package.  That includes premium hard drive navigation, safety connect, dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision system, self-parking, and panoramic roof.

Prius Plug-in Hybrid

prius plug-in hybrid

The next model, coming next spring, is the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.  It is a Prius that you would plug in, so you can do more electric driving.  It has a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, which gets about 10-15 miles of all-electric range.  After that, the car goes into a regenerative hybrid mode.  As for charging, it takes 3 hours on a 120 volt outlet, and it takes a quicker 1.5 hours on a 240 or a level 2 charger.  There are three batteries; two large ones that do all-electric driving, and there’s one that is hybridized with the gas engine.  There is still a total combined output of 134 horsepower.

This Prius Plug-in comes with the Entune system, like the Prius v.  In addition, there is also Plug-in Hybrid apps, which deal with things like charging times, air conditioning, etc.  Like many Prius vehicles, the Prius Plug-in comes with many standard features.  This array includes Bluetooth, navigation, Entune, USB, Smart Key, HD Radio, Bluetooth streaming, etc.

There are two models, the standard model and the advanced model.  The advanced model adds nice touches like LED headlights, fog lights, the Plug-in apps, HDD Navigation, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and SofTex-trimmed heated seats.  So most features are standard on the base model, but you have to step up to the advanced model if you want more features and technology.  The basic Plug-in model starts at 32k.  Step up to the advanced model and the price climbs to sub-40 grand.  These cars use lithium-ion battery packs, so the price is mostly due to that factor.  The standard Prius is cheaper because of nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Prius c

prius c

The final Prius I’m going to talk about is the Prius c.  It’s going the opposite direction of the v, in that this is a more city-oriented car, versus the Prius v being a utilitarian, capacious ride.  This ride will offer standard Prius features, such as the Smart Key and Entune.  Powering it is a 1.5 L inline-4 gas engine, with an electric motor, that will deliver 99 horsepower, with MPG of 53 city/46 highway/50 average.  It’s city number is the best of any vehicle that’s not a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle.  The price is said to be estimated under $19,000, but we currently don’t know many other details about this car.  The Prius c hits showrooms spring of 2012.

(UPDATED) – The Prius c comes in four trim levels.  The basic One trim starts at around 19 grand, and it includes features such as a 3.5 inch multi information display and Bluetooth.  Trim two is around 20 grand, and it includes upgraded features such as Bluetooth audio streaming and cruise control.  Trim Three is 22 grand, and it adds Entune, Touch Tracer Display, and Smart Key.  The fully loaded edition, Trim Four, which is around 23 grand, adds 15 inch aluminum wheels, SofTex seats (faux leather), and fog lights.

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    • bob troppo
    • January 27th, 2012

    Nice! Could you review the honda s2000. And when you start to make reviews for apple products, make a review for the ipad2 please.

    • Thanks. The Honda S2000 is a discontinued car, so not so sure if I’ll review that. iPad 3 will come soon, so I’ll make a review for iPad 3, instead of iPad 2.

    • Louis
    • February 10th, 2012

    That has given me some insight into the Prius the most popular Hybrid.
    Thank you
    Louis

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