The Reviews are In on The 2010 Toyota Prius ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: The Reviews are In on The 2010 Toyota Prius

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Reviews are In on The 2010 Toyota Prius

And they all seem to be positive, although most are concentrating on how high they could get their MPG readings.  The highest mpg came in at 94.6 mpg, but that score was thrown out of the competition because the driver obviously wasn't following any sort of 'real-world' driving rules.  The best 'honest' score came in at 75.3 mpg.

The worst player may have been Scott Burgess who worked hard to get the mpg reading down to 26.8 mpg.  As Scott points out "The Prius still bested the city mileage of every single gasoline midsize sedan." Scott added "The worst I could do was 26.8 mpg -- which was way better than it should have done. Drive it normally and it will produce incredible mileage."

Most of the reporters invited out to test drive the new Prius were getting 60 to 70 mpg.  Since the new Prius is rated at 50 mpg, that's good news for anyone who buys it and concentrates a little on fuel effiency. 

Edmunds John O'Dell was embarrassed to find out he could only get 66.7 mpg.  He did note that a "a crew of Edmunds test engineers did put one of the cars though a 115-mile fuel economy loop of their own design.   It wasn't the best route, she said, because it was more than half highway and, as everyone should know by now, a Prius is best for fuel economy in stop-and-go city driving... got an honest 52.2 miles a gallon out of the 2010 Prius"

Not surprisingly, Hybrid was excited about the new Prius and all of its new features, including no more belts.  Most reporters noted the bigger gas engine which, despite your first common sense reaction, allows the Prius to improve its fuel economy.

Like Scott Burgess, Jalopnik tried their best to kill the fuel economy rating,  "did you know it returns 26.6 MPG at 102 MPH?"  Wes Siler went on to note "this third generation vehicle, fitted with a larger 1.8-liter engine producing a net 134 HP is actually pretty fun to drive, at least when equipped with the optional 17-inch wheels."

BTW, Siler noted that Toyota wasn't disappointed with their attempt at maxing out the speed. "When we showed Toyota our wobbly shot of the Prius's gauges at 102 MPH, they expressed disappointment that we hadn't maxed the car out to its 112 MPH top speed and not at all worried about our instantaneous MPG figure."

Car and Driver notes the Prius has lots of improvements, but feels like it still isn't fun to drive. "rotating that oval-shaped steering wheel is rewarded with an agonizingly slow return on one’s investment (this nearly got us into trouble on our first hot corner). The body wallows about its roll center much like before, conspiring with the squealing tires and aggressive stability-control system to mute out any shred of fun."

It's kind of hard to understand why they think anyone would normally be trying to 'hot corner,' but I guess that's a factor if you're looking to buy a new car.

Autobloggreen was, not surprisingly, impressed by the third generation Prius.  After noting the improved fuel economy and lots of new and fun features, ABG mostly concentrated on how the Prius is going to stack up against its rival, the Honda Insight.  "The Insight is a fun drive that won't attack your wallet at the pump or its point of purchase, while the Prius gets better mileage, is larger and comes with a cache of green cred that would fill the Grand Canyon."

CNET reviewer Wayne Cunningham was careful to note all the new features including "The cabin now includes a floating console and a shift lever with a more traditional layout than the previous one. And Toyota gives the Prius some new tech tricks, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic parking."

Obviously, the MPG competition was a little rigged to 1) motivate the writers to emphasize the fuel economy in their first reports on the Prius and 2) easy enough to get over the mark set by the lead engineer.  But that doesn't change the fact that the writers were able to do the job easily in the new Prius.  And that most of the reviewers were excited about the improvements made in the third generation Prius.  From the new Touch Tracer Display, to the bigger gas engine and better sound insulation, reviewers were unanimous that the third generation Prius was a big improvement over the second generation Prius.

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