The New 2010 Toyota Prius

The New 2010 Toyota Prius

Guest post written by John: his day job involves selling patio heaters and desk fans, but he sincerely wishes he had a career involving cars.

The Toyota Prius is one of the most famous cars on the planet. Not for its performance or its styling, but because it was the first ever mass-produced hybrid electric car. First released in 1997, the Prius is now over a decade old and has become the highest selling hybrid vehicle in the world.

So what’s new with the 2010 model of this world-renowned car?

The MPG has been improved again, averaging 50 miles per gallon for the new model. Not a bad improvement on the 41 MPG available from the first generation Prius.
There have also been a few other improvements throughout the car, including IPA (intelligent parking assist), touch controls (located on the steering wheel), and a heads-up display showing you fuel consumption, energy consumption and a host of other useful information.

They’ve also attempted to save weight in the materials used for the new Prius, with a 20% lighter transaxle and inverter. They’ve also saved weight by using aluminium in the brake callipers, rear hatch, front suspension axle and the bonnet.

As always with Toyota’s famous eco-car, the main emphasis is on energy saving. They’ve attempted to achieve this with the three alternative driving modes. The Eco mode aids the driver in reaching the best possible mileage from the car; the EV-Drive mode allows driving on battery power alone at low speeds, and the Power mode allows for a more sensitive throttle, giving the car a sportier feel.

New 2010 Toyota Prius

New 2010 Toyota Prius

They have also added LED low beams and taillights to help save energy, as well as using a more powerful four-cylinder engine. You may think that a larger engine would decrease mileage, but it actually increases is by allowing for a higher amount of torque.

Perhaps the most impressive change however is to the air conditioning, and in-car entertainment systems, both of with can be powered by a full solar power panel. By introducing a solar cooling system, Toyota have become the first car company to utilise the technology. The air circulator (also powered by the solar panels), prevents air temperature from rising when the car is not in use, thus lowering the air cool-down time when the driver returns to the car. Toyota have also managed another industry first with their air conditioning system, allowing drivers to run it when the engine it still off, so an optimal temperature can be found before setting off.

Toyota do appear to have listened to feedback from their customers, using this insight to improve their vehicle. The handling has been sharpened, acceleration improved and road noise reduced, making it the best Prius we’ve seen so far.

Admittedly Toyota are still building on the Prius concept, although it does continue to improve. Yes it still has the same ‘hatchback’ styling, and the performance figures are unlikely to impress many driving enthusiasts. With that said however, it’s certainly an improvement on the last model and features some genuinely impressive and innovative technology.

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