Monday, September 24, 2007

2008 Toyota Prius Review

For the coming model year the base price of the 2008 Toyota Prius has fallen to $20,950 with the Touring edition selling for $23,220. Producing 110 horsepower in its gas-electric combo mode, the Prius will make the zero to 60 jump in 10.2 seconds, more than respectable for a hybrid just pushing the limit of a designation as "mid-sized."

Technically, the Prius is a four-door family sedan with room for five. There are three available trim levels (Base, 4-Door Liftback, Touring), all powered by a 1.5-liter I4 hybrid engine with a variable automatic transmission with overdrive. Overall combined fuel efficiency stands at 55 mpg, but start-and-stop city driving could return as high as 80 mpg. Long the dean of hybrid automobiles, the Prius puts out 89 percent fewer emissions than average vehicles, a rating which actually exceeds the Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle standards.

Standard features on the Prius include power rack and pinion steering and a tilt steering column. All wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake assist and brake force distribution are present. Traction control, a full array of air bags including those in the head curtain position for the front and rear side, the LATCH sysem for child safety seats, child safety door locks on the rear doors, and keyless entry on a multi-function remote are all included.

The base upholstery on the 2008 Toyota Prius is cloth with the front seats being dual reclining buckets. The rear seat is a 60/40 bench that splits and folds. The 201.6-volt nicel-metal hydride battery is located in the trunk, but there is still underfloor storage available in the cargo area. An AM/FM combo unit with six speakers and a CD player is standard.

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