2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Toyota Canada

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Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation.

Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2010 Toyota Prius

A thousand points of patent: that’s the wordspeak on Toyota’s press material for the Third-Gen 2010 Prius, which benefits from a massive re-jig, regardless of what the silhouette would have you think. Eco-savvy plastique, available solar-powered ventilation systems, and blue hue badges may be enough to snag the tree-huggers, but if you can’t put your Acai energy smoothie in the cup receptacle, then what exactly was the point? The sharpened stick of that point has been made even more ouchie, with the arrival of the Honda Insight, compete with a paltry MSRP. The wallet dent on this week’s Prius tester is $27,500 (prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.) Should a two-mode hybrid be in your future? As far as I’m concerned, definitely maybe. Let’s see what the cupholders say:

Cockpit/Centre Stack

What appears to be your normal everyday steering-wheel mounted controls has a shine on. By depressing the tabs, a screen pops up on the central gauge face, which guides the driver into picking and choosing their needed functions more carefully. Think about how many times your line of sight departs from the business of driving on a daily basis, and you start to get the idea. This particular trim level is affectionately known as ‘Base.” Mirrors are power remote, with controls housed on the extreme left of the dashboard. There’s a Lexus feel with the full-auto windows control cluster.

2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius. Click image to enlarge

The centre stack has grown up considerably. The oversized golf tee of a drive-by-wire shifter gets a tasteful sculpt, still using the separate ‘Park’ switch. Auto climate appears, though it is single zone. To the right of the shifter are the additional driving modes, other than the standard operation. EV stands for electric vehicle, providing full electric operation at ultra-low speeds. The Eco Mode allows for maximum hybrid optimization for mileage, and the Power Mode switch transforms the Prius into a zippy performer. Well, zippy as four-cylinder hybrids go. Note the tight tolerances observed for the HVAC and audio head unit switches. Keeping the driver informed of all this fuel sippage is the central information display, which logs varying degrees of consumption. Headlamps include an Auto detent. The wiper stalk adds an intermittent rear sweep.

Cubbies!
2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius
2010 Toyota Prius. Click image to enlarge

A dual frontal glovebox houses owner’s lit with ease. Front doors are pocket equipped, with the only rear storage pockets occurring on the front seatbacks. Drive-by-wire means no bulky console to contend with, thanks to the elimination of the traditional transmission linkage. Note the 12-volt DC powerpoint. The front console includes an upper tray, which is fitted with the proper indentations to allow running cables for chargers or MP3 hook-ups. A removable cupholder biscuit hides beneath the console lid when not in use. The primary front cupholder resides beneath a flip-top door, below the shifter. One last console visit, to point out the 12-volt DC powerpoint, and auxiliary audio jack input. The rear cupholder, in the fold-down centre armrest, appears to be spill-savvy, until you check the inner angle of the holder. It’s on the level. A note to purchasers; keep these rear seat vents clear, as they are tied to proper hybrid operation.

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