By KBB.com Editors
At the cutting edge of automotive design and technology, the Prius is propelled by a hybrid powerplant consisting of a battery-powered electric motor teamed to a gasoline engine. The two units can work in tandem or individually, allowing the Prius to earn uncommonly good fuel economy figures while producing extremely low (and, under certain conditions, zero of currently regulated) emissions. Unlike many fuel-efficient sub-compacts (in fact, the roomy Prius actually qualifies as a midsize sedan), the Prius can comfortably accommodate four adults, has a surprisingly smooth ride and can be loaded with such high-tech features as a rearview monitor and DVD navigation. For environmentally savvy families seeking to conserve both fuel and the great outdoors, the Prius is second to none.
If you're concerned about the environment, this car produces next-to-zero greenhouse emissions in stop-and-go driving. Speeds below 30-miles per hour are handled by the electric motorthe gasoline engine comes on only when you need more power or are driving at highway speeds. Nothing says "I'm Green" like a Prius parked in your driveway.
Test drives have not achieved the claimed 60-miles per gallon city figure (our best numbers were around 45 miles per gallon). Long-term ownership costs are an unknown, as is the life of the battery pack and the cost to replace it.
For 2007 the Prius receives front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags. A new Touring trim debuts and includes a firmer suspension, 16-inch wheels, integrated fog lights and xenon headlamps.
Driving Impressions The Prius is a very technologically advanced machine that employs a 1.5-liter gasoline engine rated at 76 horsepower and a battery-powered electric motor that generates 50 kilowatts (67 horsepower). The...Prius emits no sound when started. One simply pushes the start button, selects D from the dash-mounted shifter and depresses the accelerator. The Prius moves forward in utter silence because initially the electric motor is doing all the work.
The Prius's push-button starter is just one of the many futuristic features found inside the car.
Graphic Power Display
The graphic power display lets the driver monitor the interaction between the gasoline engine and electric motor, even when you can't feel it.
The Prius's long wheelbase provides 112-cubic feet of interior space, nearly matching the mid-size Camry. However, with its rear 60/40 split bench seat folded down, the hatchback Prius can undoubtedly carry far more cargo than Toyota's bread-and-butter sedan. The center dash houses a large LCD screen that shows the power transfer map between the gasoline engine and electric motor, as well as the display for the climate, rear backup camera and navigation system. There is even an optional remote key fob transponder that tells the Prius you are its owner, allowing the doors to be unlocked and the car to be started without the use of a key.Exterior
The Prius' design is still unconventional, but somehow palatable to the everyday consumer. Compared to the first Prius, the 2007 model is much larger, with a fastback rear hatch design, bigger wheels and tires and a wider stance. A generous serving of side glass makes for good visibility, and the big rear hatch opening can swallow a 25-inch TV with no problem.
Every Prius features a 76-horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine teamed to a 50-kilowatt (67-horsepower) electric motor. Also along for the ride is a CVT automatic transmission, anti-lock brake system (ABS), air conditioning, rear defroster, power locks, power windows, heated power mirrors, illuminated remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with CD, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, tilt-wheel with touch controls, rear wiper/washer, traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system and alloy wheels. The Touring trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a larger rear spoiler, xenon headlamps and fog lights.
Options include DVD navigation, JBL audio, xenon headlights, leather seats, satellite radio, six-disc CD/MP3 changer, garage door opener, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), rear backup camera, Smart entry and starting system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
It may look nice and simple, but beneath the Prius' hood is a complex array of computers, wiring and mechanics. Do-it-yourselfers will be lost. The engine itself is a basic Toyota four-cylinder internal combustion unit, aided by the electric motor that delivers its power in the form of impressive torque. Power to accelerate and pass is surprisingly strong, and the Prius rarely feels bogged down, even with a full crew onboard.
1.5-liter in-line 4 with 50-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor
76 horsepower @ 5000 rpm/67 horsepower @ 1200-1540 rpm (110 net horsepower)
82 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm/295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 0-1200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 60/51
By BlueStateBruce (VA) on Tuesday, October 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,240overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Bigger inside & trunk than you think! Quiet & MPG!"
Cons: "I hate the Touch screen & Climate Control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A cars' purpose is to get me from point A to point B. I like it when it is done cheaply, safely, environmentally friendly as possible, and with out any hassles and in comfort. My 2009 Prius does that all the time. We've taken 4 adults and a 55 pound dog from Tucson to San Redlands, CA, 450 miles, and it was as comfortable as any sedan trip of that length could be. Doing 65 - 80 MPH while getting over 45 MPG was amazing. After that rental car trip, I bought my Prius. Living in the DC area with the Nation's 2nd worst traffic, it's legendary stop & go, makes driving as easy and cheap as it could be. In fact, one pleasant bonus of my many traffic crawls home, was I got over 65 MPG, even if my average speed was that of a person galloping on horseback! You are foolish if a Prius is not at least on your "Strongly Consider" list for your next car. I have 2 complaints: > Why does everyone think a Prius is an expensive car? > I hate automatic climate control and having to use the touch video screen for everything. It's distracting, and in bright sunlight, sometimes impossible to see."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By eamcmm (IN) on Saturday, October 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 162,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great mileage. Fairly reliable."
Cons: "Repairs outside of warrantly are costly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Cup holders do not hold traditional cups with lower handles. A few recalls from manufacturer and a few other repairs from warranty package could have been costly if out of pocket. Huge fear of possible cost of future repairs before able to sell it - have already replaced a pair of serially-connected headlights for $550. Beeps are inside for backing - seems they should be on outside for pedestrians. Night glow on front window from dashboard display - use a cloth on dashboard toward the display to mute the glare distraction. Small tires - need to buy replacements often. Hardly any traction with snow and ice - even with new tires."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By K (PA) on Monday, September 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas mileage, low operating cost, priced OK"
Cons: "Lack of lugage space if traveling with 4 people."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had mine since new, have about 77,000 miles on it now. The only thing I've had to do is change the oil and put tires on it around 42,000 miles. I did have a couple recalls, a broken key fob, and a bad headlight socket which were all taken car of by Toyota at no cost to me. That's it. No brakes, battery, or exhaust work, etc.. The car has run very reliably for me, and provides comfort and high gas mileage. I get a low of about 42.5 mpg if I drive it hard with the AC always on, and can get 50-51 MPG driving anally without AC, but usually get around 47-49 mpg with day-to-day use in the Pennsylvania hills. It's paid off, and I'm trying to decide how long to keep it. The only down side that I can see is if you travel with 4 people, there's only room for luggage for 2 people. Other than that, I've flipped the back seat down, and carried anything I've needed to travel with. This is the most efficient and lowest cost to own car I've ever owned, which is why I chose it, and it work out well that way."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By lee (FL) on Sunday, September 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have loved this car since the first day I bought it, and still love it 5 years later. Gas milage is amazing, interior is surprisingly roomy, even in the back seat! Great car all around."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By retiree (FL) on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, dependability, gas mileage, green"
Cons: "blind spot, the 2005 cost"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased this before retirement - much too early because the other expired early. I am getting my first repair and that is to replace the water pump at about 100K miles. Before then, I only serviced on regular intervals. I am on my second set of tires. The body is holding up well - no rust, and I am so pleased with this car. Mileage is still good with an average of about 50mpg in the city or more. The only problem that I can think of is that the blind spot is very bad. I know that and compensate for it by looking very carefully before moving into the right lane. Love the car and do not intend to replace it soon."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Aaronw (CA) on Sunday, September 22, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "good mileage, driver convenience"
Cons: "acceleration, styling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car new in 2007 and it has proven to be fairly reliable. I added a stiffening plate under the car as well as a stiffening bar to the front suspension which made a noticeable improvement in the handling which was not bad to begin with. I opted for the cloth seats and all of the other options. The seats are fine but can get a bit uncomfortable on long trips. I added an after-market lumbar control to them. This was my primary vehicle after replacing my 1991 Ford Probe. The cargo space is good, especially with the rear seats folded down. The interior design is also quite good, with various well-placed storage spaces. I also thought the center touch screen was well designed to keep things simple for the driver to reduce distractions. In terms of mileage the car seemed to improve with age. I average around 44-45MPG with my daily commute which is about 60% freeway, 40% city driving. It sips gas. Acceleration in this car is OK, not great. Acceleration at low speeds is generally fine though at higher speeds it tends to be rather lacking. I have taken it on some strenuous drives such as over Sonora Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This pass is 9600 feet with a 26% grade in places. The traction control is quite sensitive. I have had it kick in when accelerating over pot holes. The stability control seems to work well. The CVT transmission works fairly well though there is a very noticeable lag when attempting to accelerate. Once it does it is very smooth. When braking it is sometimes noticeable when it switches between regenerative braking and mechanical braking. Once in a while I get a somewhat jarring effect where it is as if the brakes are not as strong as expected. The anti-lock brakes work well. Handling was significantly improved when I replaced the stock Integra tires that came with the car. The navigation system is fairly good in my opinion. I have upgraded the map DVD several times which is rather expensive unfortunately. The sound system is also fairly decent. I was able to add an aftermarket module called the Mediabridge to support Bluetooth music from my phone as well as USB media. I rarely drive the car any more and will probably sell it soon since I recently upgraded to a Tesla model S. I can't really compare it to the Tesla since the Tesla is a whole different class though there are a few little things I miss such as the overhead sunglasses storage compartment."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful