Going Green Without Spending Green: The Toyota Prius
Hybrid technology is quite novel to be sure. It allows the driver to get down the road using battery power until a certain speed is reached, at which point a small gas motor will step in, propelling the car to freeway speeds. This setup saves gas at slower speeds, which allows most hybrids to be both fuel efficient, and less harmful to the environment.
What makes the Toyota Prius special is the fact that it was the world's first mass produced hybrid. Launched in the United States in 2001, it looked like a Corolla, and nobody really knew what a "hybrid" was. The second generation debuted in 2003 and thanks to stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Toyota's little hybrid suddenly became the "it" car.
Now in its third generation, the Toyota Prius is more refined than ever.
What You Get with the Prius
To start, the Toyota Prius appears to be an "evolution" of the second-gen car. Though it still has the same basic shape, every crease and angle is designed to reduce wind drag. The Prius is almost as recognizable as the Volkswagen Beetle, which makes it easier for owners to flaunt their green-ness.
For 2015, the Toyota Prius comes in 5 models based on content. Numbered 1-5, the entry level Prius One gets full power equipment, a height adjustable drivers seat, and an Environmental merit badge. The Toyota Prius Two adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition, cruise and a CD player. The Prius Three adds Bluetooth, and a JBL sound system with a 6-disk CD changer (that way you can listen to your entire collection of Nature Sounds). The pricey Prius Four gets heated leather seats (dead animal skin in a car designed to save the planet seems a bit odd), and the maxed-out Prius Five gets 17-inch wheels, a "sporty" suspension and LED headlights.
- navigation system
- solar roof panel which cools the car when parked
- remote activated air conditioning
- backup camera
- adaptive cruise
- pre-collision system (tightens the seatbelts, and applies the brakes in the event of an impending accident)
- lane departure system
- self-parking system (in case you can't drive)
The Prius: Powered by Nature
The Toyota Prius is motivated by several power sources. The first is a 1.8 liter gas engine, which is supplemented by an electric motor, sandwiched between the gas motor and the CVT transmission. These combine for a total power output of 134-hp.
Any additional juice created by regenerative braking gets stored in a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack which is located under the trunk floor.
The EPA pegs the Toyota Prius at an incredible 51 city / 48 hwy / 50 combined.
Why Buy the Prius?
The Toyota Prius is a statement car. It shouts to the world that you love Mother Earth, and you love saving money. While other options exist, you just can't beat the original. Especially if you're trying to make a statement.