Then you get to a level where the boost kicks in and the brakes grip with more stopping power than you want. Conditions during my drive were mild, in the 50s. With near-opposite power curves, the two power mills seem ideal partners in a hybrid. At first, it can be somewhat distracting, as you constantly glance down to see whether the gas engine is kicking in; but it can be shut off entirely. Walkaround A new design trend popular among small cars is an upright stance, which can be seen in the Toyota Echo and Ford Focus. In honor of Earth Day, we decided to take a closer look at that theory, compiling a list of the Top 10 most efficient 2001 model year mass production vehicles, along with Motor Trend test… Recent government mandates have challenged automakers to resuscitate the smog-choked urban landscape by developing vehicles whose emissions are clean enough to use as neo-natal respirators. On the other hand, the electric motor makes 44 horsepower from 1040 to 5600 rpm and a surprising 258 lb-ft of torque available at 0 rpm not a misprint: electric motors are just that way.
The Prius feels and drives much like a normal small car. Instead, stepping on the gas produces a steady and smooth stream of acceleration. During this loop, I was gentle on the throttle and drove as I would a gas engine for best fuel economy. The Prius also tends to tramline severely on the snow-chain rutted highways of the Northwest, and the slab-sided car feels quite susceptible to sidewinds. With most urban areas choked with commuter traffic during morning and evening rush hours, the Prius makes for a comfortable and quiet cocoon to help maintain your sanity when the surrounding traffic can barely maintain the speed limit. While the Prius feels like a natural in town, the hybrid drivetrain also feels remarkably out of its element in high-speed highway driving.
It gets hot fast, so the automatic setting is useful for comfort. More problematic is its open-road behavior. Frigid weather forces the 70-hp, 1. The gasoline engine occasionally buzzes coarsely, revving up and down with the slightest inclines, with the transmission sometimes indecisive for no apparent reason. Mix that with the wandering, twitchy steering and you have a difficult long-distance driver.
First was nearly 120 miles of daily errands and commuting, driving with the flow of traffic and pretending that I was behind the wheel of a normal car. In warmer climes the parallel hybrid saves fuel by quitting at stops and not restarting until the car is already in motion, propelled by the 44-hp flywheel electric motor. Toyota's own five-speed Echo pulled a lofty 33-mpg on the same drive while offering nearly identical interior space, a 0-to-60-mph time 4. The Prius is an excellent engineering showcase and hopefully a predecessor to a whole fleet of hybrid-drivetrain vehicles. An energy mode shows, with blinking arrows, the direction of power between components of the hybrid drivetrain.
City natural, highway novice The hybrid system actually gives the Prius enough oomph at full throttle to rip the front tires loose from a stoplight—a ridiculous image, but an image nonetheless that proves the Prius is no slug in city driving. All, we might add, in far greater numbers than the roughly 4500 Priuses Toyota has so far showered on American byways. A consumption mode follows instantaneous fuel consumption with a bar graph, and then a graph plots five-minute average fuel economy figures for the last thirty minutes, indicating major power-regeneration points. Press the pedal just a little and you can feel the regenerative braking. Resultant public perception identifies counter-culture alternative-fuel vehicles as rolling test beds for tomorrow's transportation technology, putting environmentally aware tree-huggers and hapless power station employees behind the wheel of Energizer eco-cars. To validate—or at least back up—my results, I let the onboard computer compute my mileage as well, and it was always within one mpg of my pump-and-odometer calculated results.
The all-electric heating and air-conditioning system is instantaneous and more than adequate. And both do so without the motive aid and expense of an electric motor, a generator, a very nifty continuously variable planetary gear transmission, and four computers to run this sausage factory. Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. Prius has been much more of a sales success than anticipated: 6860 have been sold so far, and another 1200 orders are queued up. I found my answers — both yes and no. In everyday language, that translates to a trunk big enough to hold a folding baby stroller with room left over. We will not attempt to wrestle with that logic here, only some of the facts behind it.
At just about any speed, if you coast for more than a few seconds the gas engine will automatically shut off to save gas and cut emissions. The Prius has a true hybrid system. A display on the interface, much like that of a laptop computer, shows approximately how full the battery is. Press a little more, and not much happens. The oddest interior feature is the dashboard-mounted gear selector for the automatic transmission. Real space Aside from the hybrid powertrain and less-than certain handling attributes, the Prius really feels like an ordinary small car, with a reasonably large trunk and decent space in the back seat, at least for shorter trips.
The touch-panel monitor also allows setting radio stations and other audio controls. Units Affected 34771 Car designers probably don't want to admit it, but sometimes two vehicles from different automakers look extremely similar. I topped off the tank carefully again, and over the next 40 miles of urban and suburban driving I drove the Prius in a spirited manner from stoplights, not paying special attention to how easy I was on the throttle. I averaged a frugal 48 miles per gallon. If you have your mind set on a hybrid, also check out the Honda Insight, which is, unfortunately, only a two-seater that looks and feels less like a normal car.
Once the gasoline engine starts up, the continuously variable automatic transmission brings the revs in the most efficient range. The pudgy body is stripped of extraneous tinsel, and it tippytoes on four little donuts that look too delicate to bruise a snail darter. So we rang Toyota to find out what we're doing wrong. The recall involves 106,000 vehicles globally, of which about half are within the U. The rear seats, while not overly spacious, are large enough to accommodate a child safety seat tether anchors for child seats are standard. Under medium acceleration, the gas and electric motor work together to provide the power you need to merge on the highway.