Although the redesigned Prius didn’t change much in silhouette last year, the front and rear ends got radically different styling. Front occupants gained roomier seats, and cargo space grew. A new suspension setup provided sharper handling, along with a calmer ride.
Again this year, the Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a pair of electric motors, one of which doubles as a generator to keep the lithium-ion battery pack charged. Combined output is 121 horsepower, delivered to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Swiftness is still not a Prius highlight, but acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph has improved, finally achieved in less than 10 seconds: 9.8, to be precise. As expected, fuel-efficiency is stellar, estimated at 52 mpg in combined city/highway driving (54 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway). The Eco version of the Prius does even better, estimated at 56 mpg combined. On the safety front, the Prius earns a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, plus Top Safety Pick + from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Package 2 comes equipped with automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, keyless ignition, a split-folding rear seat, and a six-speaker sound system. The dashboard holds a dual driver information display and a 6.1-inch touchscreen. Outside are 15-inch alloy wheels and full LED lighting with auto-off headlights. Also included this year is the Toyota Safety Sense system.