Toyota will release its third generation 2010 Prius in late May, and the cost won’t increase from the 2009 Prius (both starting at $22,000). Adjusting to the state of the economy, the Japanese car company anticipates a late release of a basic Prius model, which starts at $21,000.
The 2010 Prius offers various features that respect the environment with its compact design. To tailor the driving experience, Toyota offers three driving modes in the 2010 Prius: Eco, Power and EV (electric vehicle) Mode. The different modes alter the gas pedal sensitivity.
Eco Mode uses less gas by reducing the sensitivity of the gas pedal, which is ideal for highway driving. For short distances, the EV Mode drives up to a half a mile on the battery power. For a responsive driving experience, drivers can switch to Power Mode, which increases the throttle response and is the suitable mode for city driving.
Additional features include a Pre-Collision System that applies breaking pressure when the chances of a frontal collision are high and LED Headlamps that require less energy. The high-end models come with a solar panel roof that powers a fan to cool the interior of the car when it is not in use. The solar panel roof is offered for select packages and costs an additional $3,600.
Despite the crumbling automotive industry, Toyota is the largest automaker, based on sales. In March, Prius sales dropped 57 percent; however, the company has high hopes for its newest hybrid.
More about eco-friendly cars
• The Toyota Prius has long been popular with eco-concious Hollywood celebrities. Find out who's driving one!
• Considering a green vehicle? Check out Natural Home's guide to alternative cars.
• Find out how recycled cars are used in green home renovations.Kelley Blue Book