2010 Toyota Prius. Click image to enlarge

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2010 Toyota Prius

Detroit, Michigan – Toyota unveiled the third generation of its iconic Prius this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Although the new car is unmistakably a Prius, the gasoline-electric hybrid has undergone a significant transformation. The 2010 Toyota Prius will offer seven per cent better fuel economy, 22 per cent more power, better comfort and safety features, less wind resistance and reduced emissions through the use of environmentally-responsible manufacturing methods and materials, such as LED headlights and plant-derived, carbon neutral plastics.

“For Toyota, designing the Prius has always represented an exploration of the car of the future. And now, more than ever before, that future car is here – not five years from now – but on its way to Toyota Canada Dealers and Canadian driveways this spring,” noted Stephen Beatty, Managing Director of Toyota Canada Inc.

The 2010 Prius will offer some new advanced technological features including,

  • The Toyota’s first moon roof with solar panels that power a smart air conditioning system,
  • A choice of four driving modes,
  • Toyota’s first use of Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA), and
  • Steering wheel touch controls that provide feedback via the instrument panel display.

The new Prius will have an anticipated fuel economy of just 3.8 L/100km in combined city and highway driving, down .3 L/100km from the current generation Prius. A new, larger 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine will improve highway and cold start mileage and offer 22% more power. Drivers can opt to maximize performance or fuel economy with three alternative driving modes in addition to a standard mode:

  • EV-Drive Mode allows driving on battery power alone at low speeds for about a mile in certain conditions,
  • Power Mode increases sensitivity to throttle input for a sportier feel, while
  • Eco Mode helps the driver achieve better fuel economy.

Styling is similar to the second generation Prius, with a distinctive triangle profile. However, wind resistance has been improved by moving the top of the roof rearward and extending the front pillars forward.

An available sliding glass moon roof is packaged with solar panels, located over the rear seating area, that power a new ventilation system. This solar ventilation system uses an electrically powered air circulation fan that does not require engine assist.

The remote air-conditioning system is the first system in the world to function on battery-power alone and can be remotely operated, so the driver can adjust the interior temperature for comfort before getting in the car.

Reducing the vehicle’s power consumption, available LED (light emitting diode) lamps are used for low beams and also in the tail and stop lamps. Air conditioning, a major energy drain, has been re-engineered to increase efficiency and cool-down performance. In addition, an exhaust heat recirculation system reduces heat waste by warming engine coolant during cold start-up, for improved performance. It also heats up the passenger cabin more efficiently.

Toyota will use plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics in the 2010 Prius. The newly-developed plastics, known as “ecological plastic,” will be used in the seat cushion foam, cowl side trim, inner and outer scuff plates, and deck trim cover. Ecological plastic emits less CO2 during a product lifecycle (from manufacturing to disposal) than plastic made solely from petroleum; it also helps reduce petroleum use.

Standard safety features include eight airbags (driver and front passenger Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, driver and passenger seat-mounted side airbags, and knee airbags) to cocoon occupants in the event of an accident.

An available Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system uses advanced millimetre wave radar, and feeds information to the available Pre-Collision System, which retracts seatbelts and applies the brakes in certain conditions when the vehicle determines that a crash is unavoidable.

Next-generation Intelligent Parking Assist features simplified settings to help guide the car into parking spaces.

A backup monitor, which provides a view of rear obstacles when reverse is engaged, is available with an optional voice-activated navigation system.

Pricing for the 2010 Toyota Prius will be announced shortly before it goes on sale in late spring.

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