CHANGES FOR 2013:

– Plus Package added.

The highly technical, full hybrid Prius wears its green credentials on its sleeve. This wedge of a five-seat hatchback is roomy and practical too. If, however, you measure your driving enjoyment by anything other than L/100 km, the Prius will likely disappoint. The ride is brittle, steering vague, handling so-so, and, as with most CVT-equipped cars, the gas engine drones when pressed. The new plug-in version costs nearly an extra 10 grand and for that you get about 20 km of electric-only propulsion before the gas engine kicks in.

The Prius uses a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, combined with the Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery, and continuously variable transmission (CVT). The plug-in model uses the same gas engine but receives an upgraded lithium ion battery pack.

In addition to Standard Mode, the Prius can also be programmed into EV-Drive Mode, allowing battery-only driving at low speeds for about 1.6 km in certain conditions; Power Mode, which increases throttle input sensitivity for a sportier feel; and Eco Mode, which helps the driver achieve better fuel economy.

It comes in a single trim line, with available option packages.

Standard features include 15-inch alloy wheels, 6.1-inch display AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with six speakers, USB and auxiliary input, Bluetooth capability, backup camera, automatic climate control, cloth seats, driver’s seat height adjustment, 60/40 split/fold rear seat, power locks, power windows with auto-up/down, outside temp gauge, multi-information display with ECO drive monitor, tilt/telescopic steering wth steering wheel mounted audio and climate controls, touch tracer display, carpet and all-season floor mats, tonneau cover, push button start, driver door handle touch lock/unlock, cruise control, overhead console box, map lights, cargo net, keyless entry, illuminated entry, power adjustable heated mirrors, body-colour door handles and mirrors, LED taillights, smart stop technology, airbags (front, front seat, side curtain, driver’s knee, TPMS, and vehicle proximity notification system.

Moonroof Upgrade Package adds navigation, satellite radio, integrated garage door opener, front passenger door handle touch lock/unlock, and power moonroof with solar panels.

Technology Package adds (to Standard model) 7-inch display audio system with navigation, eight-speaker JPL audio system, satellite radio, power 8-way driver seat, pre-collion system, dynamic radar cruise control, heated front seats, SofTex-trimmed seats, synthetic leather-wrapped steering wheel, integrated garage door opener, front passenger door handle touch lock/unlock, power moonroof with solar panels, and rear bumper protector.

Touring Package adds (to Standard model) navigation, satellite radio, integrated garage door opener, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fog lights, LED headlights, headlight washers, auto-levelling headlight system, and front passenger door handle touch lock/unlock.

Plug-in models the same features as the normal hybrid, plus satellite radio, navigation, heated front seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror, front passenger door handle touch lock/unlock, and a lithium ion battery pack.

An additional Technology Package adds 7-inch display audio system, 8-speaker JBL stereo, power 8-way driver seat, pre-collison system, dynamic radar cruise control, SofTex-trimmed seats, LED headlights, headlight washers, auto-levelling headlight system, and fog lights.

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