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Toyota Prius

A hybrid for every need.

HYBRID

The versatile Prius hatchback not only pioneered hybrid technology but also proved “green” cars could appeal to those outside a narrow niche of environmentally conscious buyers. Toyota has widened the vehicle’s scope even further with the Prius v and Prius c variants. The v has a tall rear hatch that certifies it for Costco duty. The c, which rides on the same platform as the Toyota Yaris and has a smaller engine, is the least expensive hybrid on the market. The v and the c both exhibit the competent — if not quite engaging — dynamic qualities of the regular Prius, with good body control and decently weighted steering. On the other hand, they’re also very slow. The heavy v puts out the same 134 hp as the hatchback, and the lighter c squeaks out just 99 hp. The c manages the same 50 mpg combined rating as the regular Prius, with the v hitting only 42 mpg. Toyota has also rolled out a plug-in version of the Prius hatchback that uses lithium-ion batteries. Its promised fifteen-mile electric range isn’t quite in the Chevrolet Volt’s league, but the Prius Plug-in returns better mileage than the Chevy in hybrid mode and thus receives a higher mpge rating from the EPA. The Toyota is cheaper, too.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Volt

Honda Insight

Nissan Leaf

Volkswagen Jetta TDI

new for 2013

The Prius enjoys a quiet 2013.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, side curtain, and driver’s knee air bags; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 44–53

HWY 40–48

PRO

Good fuel economy

Decent driving dynamics

Proven and popular

CON

No longer the greenest choice

Even with more flavors, it’s still vanilla

Base Price Range: $20,000–$33,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Prius, Two, Three, Four, Five, c, c Two, c Three, c Four, v, v Two, v Three, v Five, Plug-in

BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 1.5L I-4/electric hybrid, 99 net hp

1.8L I-4/electric hybrid, 134 net hp

TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 93.7–97.2 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (Prius/Prius c) 21.6/17.1 cu ft; (v, rear seats up/down) 4.3/67.3 cu ft

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