2010 Prius Test Drive

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There are many reviews of the Prius on the internet, so I won't bother to repeat the details that have already been mentioned. However, I'm going to point out several things that I noticed during my test drive: 1. Ride quality: I test drove a Prius II with the Avid S33 tires. The ride is unusually firm for a Toyota. It actually felt a bit German-- firm, yet comfortable and well-controlled. It is definitely a significant improvement over the choppy ride of the previous generation. 2. Driving Position: I am not impressed by the "new and improved" driving position. Here's why. The driving position in the previous generation was similar to sitting on a distant park bench with a steering wheel that was a bit too far from the driver. This particular setup had the steering wheel either too high and/or too far away from the driver, depending on your height and your build. For me, that driving position was perfect as it gave me plenty of room for my knees. I think the lower portion of my legs are quite long, therefore, on some cars my knees will come close to rubbing the steering wheel. The new Prius has this problem-- my knees come pretty close to rubbing the steering wheel, despite having the seat all the way down. I understand that the new driving position will be better for shorter drivers, but I think the older setup was better for me. Still, it isn't a deal breaker as I fit fine, but I preferred the older setup. However, I must say the cloth seats in the new Prius are much more comfortable than the ones in the previous generation. 3. Improved drivetrain: I didn't notice any difference. With four people in the car and the A/C running, the engine noise and engine performance seemed identical to the previous generation. The engine was just as noisy, and the performance, while perfectly adequate, was not any better than the previous generation. Sure, there's probably an improvement if you did the 0-60 test, but the improvement isn't noticeable at all during everyday driving. And this was with the car in power mode as well. 4. Steering feel: It's still numb, but at least the steering now has a nice weight to it. The steering in the previous generation was a bit too light, and I appreciate the well-weighted feel of the new one. Still, I would prefer to have better steering feel, but I can't have everything, right? 5. Rear Visibility: To be fair, I don't exactly remember how the rear visibility is in the previous generation. It has been a while since I last rented the Prius. I don't think it was great, but for some reason, the rear visibility of this new model seemed exceptionally poor to me. I could see out of the glass on the upper portion of the hatch, but visbility was very poor for the lower portion of the hatch. For me at least, the back-up camera option will be a must. In conclusion, I think the 2010 Prius is still a great car. However, I don't think the 2010 model is a significant improvement over the last generation (2004-2009). And for the record, my dad officially wants one. Great.
 
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Good job on that review, critic! The Prius has to be better than the "biblically horrible" (Jeremy Clarkson quote) new Honda insight anyway. I know the old civic hybrid was one of the worst cars I have ever driven and I could not wait to get out of that P.O.S but I have no issues with the last generation Prius other than I wish the driver could select how much to use the electric motor (electric bias over gas I mean) instead of it being totally pre-programmed.
 

JHZR2

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 Originally Posted By: The Critic
With four people in the car and the A/C running, the engine noise and engine performance seemed identical to the previous generation. The engine was just as noisy, and the performance, while perfectly adequate, was not any better than the previous generation. Sure, there's probably an improvement if you did the 0-60 test, but the improvement isn't noticeable at all during everyday driving. And this was with the car in power mode as well.
First, I find it ridiculous that a car like this has a "power" mode, and second, the true use of this vehicle is slow, stop and go, with fuel savings. I laugh seeing the prius in he fast lane doing 80. That isn't the design point. I'd hope that they put less thought into making the prius faster, and more into making it more efficient - that is its niche.
 

The Critic

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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
First, I find it ridiculous that a car like this has a "power" mode, and second, the true use of this vehicle is slow, stop and go, with fuel savings. I laugh seeing the prius in he fast lane doing 80. That isn't the design point. I'd hope that they put less thought into making the prius faster, and more into making it more efficient - that is its niche.
Power mode gives your better throttle response. That's it. They installed a bigger engine into the Prius as it allowed the engine to turn slower on the highway to improve fuel economy. As a result, the fuel economy has improved by about 10% compared to the previous generation.
 
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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
First, I find it ridiculous that a car like this has a "power" mode, and second, the true use of this vehicle is slow, stop and go, with fuel savings. I laugh seeing the prius in he fast lane doing 80. That isn't the design point. ...
So he gets 40 mpg at 80 mph and makes you laugh at the same time. What more could a person ask for?
 
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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
First, I find it ridiculous that a car like this has a "power" mode, and second, the true use of this vehicle is slow, stop and go, with fuel savings. I laugh seeing the prius in he fast lane doing 80. That isn't the design point. I'd hope that they put less thought into making the prius faster, and more into making it more efficient - that is its niche.
Invariably, all car models in America end up this way. By the time they're making the Prius V, it will have a V8 engine, full-time 4x4, and weight 6200 lbs.
 
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 Originally Posted By: mstrjon32
 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
First, I find it ridiculous that a car like this has a "power" mode, and second, the true use of this vehicle is slow, stop and go, with fuel savings. I laugh seeing the prius in he fast lane doing 80. That isn't the design point. I'd hope that they put less thought into making the prius faster, and more into making it more efficient - that is its niche.
Invariably, all car models in America end up this way. By the time they're making the Prius V, it will have a V8 engine, full-time 4x4, and weight 6200 lbs.
At least the imports fill behind in as their models gains size, power and heft. Corollas are bigger, heavier and more powerful than the first Camrys, Civics have grown past early Accords, but Toyota and Honda have the Yaris and Fit to fill in. They also both have some nice smaller cars in other markets to fill here in when the Yaris and Fit grow. The Toyota Aygo sells for $3,000 less than a Yaris in France and it looks like a lot like a Yaris. I didn't ride in one, but parked on the street they didn't look all that different than a Yaris. Just a hair smaller. VW has some smaller models that would do OK here too, the Polo is well suited for US driving conditions, so no problem when imports get bigger unless you insist on sticking to the same model name.
 

The Critic

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 Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
 Originally Posted By: The Critic
Power mode gives your better throttle response.
At the expense of what?
It depends how you drive it. If you drive it harder when you have it in power mode, then of course your fuel economy is going to drop.
 

JHZR2

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The solar powered ventilation system in the prius is neat... Don't know exactly how it works, but it is a nice concept that I saw on the commercial. Does the solar vent just keep air flowing when the car is parked in the sun (a nice touch), or do the PVs actually augment the DC bus when the vehicle is in use too?
 

JHZR2

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 Originally Posted By: wirelessF
B on the shifter? Battery mode only?
IIRC, they had that option in Japan for at least the last iteration, if not farther back. Smart, IMO. I wonder if that will be coming here? Not that deep discharges are good for ANY battery - kind of a penny-wise, pound-foolish type of thing, that is inherent to the battery chemistry and physics. Im not a toyota engineer though, so I do not know if the P3 is equipped with Li-ion or NiMH, and if in the battery modes previously allowed, if the duration on battery allowed the vehicle to discharge too deep anyhow.
 
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 Originally Posted By: wirelessF
B on the shifter? Battery mode only?
Assuming it's the same as on the 2nd gen Prius, the B on the shifter stands for "brake" (as in "engine brake") and causes the engine to hold higher revs while off throttle such that you can better maintain speed while going down grades, or can slow down while on the flat. It uses regen braking to build up the battery charge while you're keeping speed in check. That's my understanding of it. Maybe ekpolk or someone else can explain it better, though.
 
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They should try something novel with this car for the next generation. Make it SMALLER and LIGHTER than its predecessor, have it get better MPG and make it cheaper. Making it ever bigger, faster and heavier kinda defeats the purpose, don't you think? This 'bigger, heavier, more loaded and faster than the Joneses' has got to stop somewhere. It's a manufacturing rule that just shouldn't apply to cars in this segment. Something that's always in the back of my mind when carmakers introduce a new generation of a car that they've been making for a while: Anyone remember the 1985 Accord? My mom had one. This was back when Honda had high quality and fuel economy top on their list of reasons to buy a Honda. Just look at the size and weight of the current Accord. Any larger and it would be a Crown Vic. The current Civic is now larger than the '85 Accord. The Civic's gotten so large that they had to insert another car into the slot that it used to occupy...the Fit. Stop the insanity.
 
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If you want a car the size of an 85 Accord, the Fit is basically the same size as the 1985 Accord.
 Code:
             '85 Accord     '09 Fit
Wheelbase       97.7          98.4
Length         169.1         161.6
Weight        2220          2500
Horsepower    ~100           117  

If you are really hung up on model names, put some old Accord badges on the Fit.
 
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 Originally Posted By: XS650
If you want a car the size of an 85 Accord, the Fit is basically the same size as the 1985 Accord.
 Code:
             '85 Accord     '09 Fit
Wheelbase       97.7          98.4
Length         169.1         161.6
Weight        2220          2500
Horsepower    ~100           117  

If you are really hung up on model names, put some old Accord badges on the Fit.
Did cars get bigger because of the obese epidemic in this country or because of the SUVs?
 
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 Originally Posted By: Cutehumor
 Originally Posted By: XS650
If you want a car the size of an 85 Accord, the Fit is basically the same size as the 1985 Accord.
 Code:
             '85 Accord     '09 Fit
Wheelbase       97.7          98.4
Length         169.1         161.6
Weight        2220          2500
Horsepower    ~100           117  

If you are really hung up on model names, put some old Accord badges on the Fit.
Did cars get bigger because of the obese epidemic in this country or because of the SUVs?
\ Probably a bit of both plus the fact that it's not just a North American phenomena. Civics and Accords in the Japanese market are also larger than they used to be. The Japanese and Euro market Accords aren't as wide as the Us ones though A big difference is that the Euro and Japan markets have a plethora of nice smaller cars that can carry 4 adults in reasonable comfort to choose from while we just get a few.
 
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