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2008 Toyota Prius

Video highlights of the redesigned 2010 Prius (available May 2009):

overview    advanced safety and security features   Multi-Information Display

 4 different drive modes    navigation system   Smart Key   available audio systems

Update August 2007: For 2008, the Prius is pretty much the same. The great news is that there's a significant price reduction on the base model. Now it starts at $20,950.

(courtesy Toyota)

The Touring Edition is an addition to the line. A little sportier wheel and tire combo is the main change.

The Toyota Prius is a pretty remarkable car. In addition to being very low polluting and fuel efficient, the technology on this car is very advanced. Since it's a Toyota, you get this technology with the track record of outstanding reliability that Toyota has long been known for.

The responsible part: it's got very low emissions. It's got a combined city/highway mileage rating of 55 MPG.

One of the nice additions on the Prius for 2006 is traction control. In canadiandriver.com's traction test, the Prius with traction control did as well as some all wheel drive vehicles. A well designed front wheel drive car with computerized traction control might be a much better choice for many people than AWD. All wheel drive is very complicated and can present some real maintenance headaches and expenses. Look for packages that include Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).

Demand for hybrids has been high so far, and being a Toyota, the Prius will likely hold it's value well. In fact, a used 2004 Prius often sells for almost as much as what a new 2006 lists for.

I've talked to lots of people who own a Prius, and every single one of them has really loved theirs. Owners range from somewhat technically oriented people who appreciate the engineering to regular folks who could care less how a hybrid works. They just appreciate the phenomenal gas mileage. Almost everyone reports getting about 45-50 miles per gallon in suburban Maryland and Virginia driving, and they've been very pleased with that.


Fuel mileage is displayed (courtesy Toyota)


The fun part. Do any of these words describe your life: dull, boring, mundane, monotonous, dreary? If so, the Prius will add a little fun to your woeful existence. From the cool "Start" button, to the voice-activated navigation system to the electronic key that you can leave in your purse or pocket, this is a great blend of high tech innovation with practicality. All told, you'll probably look forward to that morning commute for quite some time in the Prius.

How's the power? This second generation power plant is much more powerful than the initial Priuses. No problem here. Quite amazing for a car that gets such good mileage.

Other improvements that have been made are more interior room and a  totally redesigned air conditioning system. Overall, Toyota has done a really good job of taking a groundbreaking design and making lots of significant improvements on it.


With the rear seats folded down, there is a surprising amount of space for storage. (courtesy Toyota)


If you have a Bluetooth enabled cell phone, you can take an incoming call even if you're phone is out of reach. The car's speakers let you hear the caller and the car's navigation system microphones pick up your voice. If you are using the nav system to look up an address and want to call that number, just tell the nav system and it will make the call hands free using your phone.

The optional JBL 6 CD changer/cassette player is really nice. Other available options include intermittent rear window wiper, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side and front and rear curtain airbags, and an anti-theft system.

There's a lot of people who will really get a kick out of this car. For the eligible bachelorette, it may be the ultimate guy magnet (over half of Prius buyers are women). For the environmentalist, it's a dream come true. For the average person, it's a practical car with something extra about it. It might make sense for a lot of different reasons. Why, if Einstein were with us now, he'd probably drive one. But would he have a hard time deciding which color to get?





2003-2006 David Walls







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