Flash Drive: 2010 Toyota Prius
This 2010 review is representative of model years 2010 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Toyota has succeeded in creating an even better conveyance with the 2010 Prius, a car with the sole purpose of traveling the most miles on a gallon of gasoline. But for someone who enjoys driving, the Prius still has nothing to offer; the only enjoyment comes from achieving a high mpg number. On the road, the car feels clunky and awkward. The steering has a strange feel, almost as if the car doesn't want to turn when the driver turns the wheel. And the brakes feel as if stopping the car is not their primary function. Everything about the driving experience has been compromised to achieve optimum mpg, which is fine I guess. But it just doesn't float my boat. Sorry. –Mike Meredith
Most cars on the market are reasonably good at a couple of things, but not necessarily the best at any one thing. With the Prius, Toyota has chosen to throw all of its eggs into one basket: getting the best possible fuel economy. And the Prius is successful in that regard. Without even trying, I averaged around 45 mpg — not as high as the EPA rating of 52, but still impressive. But the rest of the driving experience was a wash. The Prius has poor acceleration; you have to plan your move before entering fast-moving traffic and full throttle is required to avoid causing other cars to slow down. Brakes recapture energy and charge the batteries quickly, but the regenerative system makes the brakes grabby, so it's difficult to slow the car down smoothly. Rear visibility is also limited, with the split rear window. Plus, the car beeps constantly when it is in reverse; it's quite annoying. If fuel efficiency is your only goal, then the Prius is the car for you, but be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices. –Perry Stern
How do you improve on the best-selling hybrid in the U.S.? You make it even more fuel efficient, while not drastically changing the overall package. The 2010 Toyota Prius follows these guidelines. The design is basically the same as the previous version, though it is more angular and aggressive looking. The best part of the Prius is the impressive fuel economy. I averaged 48 mpg but actually hit 76 mpg, according to trip computer, during a short trip. You can utilize two driving formats, Eco and Power modes, to suit your driving style. Power mode provided better merging acceleration on a freeway onramp. Eco was great for achieving great fuel economy around town. And when using the EV mode, the Prius can run on electric power alone for a short time. My only gripes about the Prius are the annoying warning beeper when in reverse, the nonlockable glove box and the narrow, split rear window, which diminishes visibility. –Joe Chulick