Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 Toyota Prius: A Future-Forward Gas Saver


Highlight:  A Prius Plug-In hatchback and a crossover are now available for short commutes.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $26,868 (base model $24,025)

Seating Capacity: Five

Standard Safety Features: airbags; Daytime Running Lights; rear spoiler with LED stop lamp; ABS; stability control; electronic brake distribution; a brake assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and side impact beams
  
Standard Equipment (base model): 15-inch wheels; 4-way adjustable cloth seats; automatic climate control ventilation system; multi information display center; push button keyless starter; a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and power mode indictors (electric, economy and power)

Upgraded Standard Features On Test Model: 17-inch wheels; pseudo leather seats; a nav system; a rear camera; a keyless entry system; and a steering wheel mounted voice command controls

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: special color exterior paint



Other Trim Level:

Level One
Level Two
Level Four
Level Five

Suspension System:

Front: Independent MacPherson strut
Rear: Torsion beams with stabilizer bars

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with XM Satellite

Bluetooth Connectivity: Available on select models

iPod connectivity: Available on select models
                                                                                                        
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Hybrid Warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/98-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 51-city/48-hwy
  

What’s New: The Prius is basically a carryover for the 2014 model year.

Pros: The Prius is the gift that keeps on giving, as it relates to being a gas- hybrid pioneer. In fact, it still remains as the most fuel efficient gas hybrid today, pumping out a combined 50 mpg. The Prius family is available as a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback, a wagon-like crossover or a plug-in hybrid. While there are a number of competitors in the market today, the Prius still rules, making it the sales leader in the eco-fuel hybrid segment.

While we have reviewed a variety of Prius over the years, this time we had an opportunity to review a nicely equipped hatchback with the option III trim package. Besides the standard features, we noted above. This was the first time we had a chance to take the Prius on a half day driving trip outside of the city. Not only was it comfortable as driving America’s number one selling vehicle, the Toyota Camry, the quiet gas saver was just as comfortable as any midsized vehicle. Although the space aged vehicle looks like a compact, because of its spacious cabin it’s classified as a midsized vehicle.

And seeing that our vehicle was outfitted with the option III trim, there were a few popular features that were missing from our hybrid. Some of those features included a solar powered operated panoramic roof, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a radar activated cruise control system and a premium 8-speaker JBL audio system.

Furthermore, the final advantage for owning a Prius is that can be driven on HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes, when there are a flood of vehicles on today’s congested highways.

Lastly, for those seeking to trick out their Prius, a dealer installed performance package is available. The package starts with a seven-piece aerodynamic ground effects kit for a lower-profile stance. It’s functional, too, as the custom body kit was designed to reduce the vehicle’s coefficient of drag, while helping to maintain high fuel efficiency. 

The package equips the Prius with 17-inch forged alloy wheels with a custom offset to increase track width while also maintaining low rolling resistance. The lighter wheels, which have low-profile 215/45R17 tires, reduce unsprung weight to aid agility, according to folks at Toyota.

Cons: While the Prius bubble shape design and quirky instrument panel is easily recognized globally as being a hybrid, however, it could be a little polarizing to those seeking a stylish more traditionally designed hybrid.
Moreover, the slanted rear glass could possibly obstruct the driver’s vision too!

Verdict: The quirky Prius continues to be one of the best-selling gas hybrids both -- domestically and abroad. This fuel-efficient people mover, with its future forward instrument panel, can comfortably transport five adults, while being aided by the latest high-tech self driving aids.

Competition: Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry and VW Jetta Hybrid

1 comment:

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