The Toyota Prius became the iconic hybrid car after its last update, which launched in 2004. Will the newest update make as much of an impression?
The 2010 model of the Toyota Prius is the third generation of the car in the U.S. It follows the highly successful second generation that became an icon for hybrid cars. This new version is radically different than the previous, but it incorporates important power-train updates.
The styling of the headlamps has changed for the 2010 model, with a boomerang shape where the casings wrap around the fenders. The thin grill and big skirt help maximize the car's aerodynamics, giving it a 0.25 coefficient of drag.
The 2010 Prius gets a bigger engine (at 1.8-liters) than the previous generation's 1.5-liter engine. However, fuel economy is better, at 50 mpg compared with 46 mpg for the previous version. Toyota claims 9.8 seconds to 60 mph for the new Prius.
The solar-sunroof option doesn't add electricity to the car's battery pack. Instead, it powers a fan that activates when the car is parked on sunny days. This fan keeps the cabin a little cooler than it would otherwise be.