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2008 Toyota Prius

Overview
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2008 Toyota Prius Review

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At the cutting edge of automotive design and technology, the 2008 Toyota 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.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're concerned about the environment, this car produces minimal greenhouse emissions in stop-and-go driving. Speeds below 30 miles per hour are handled by the electric motor -- the gasoline engine comes on only when you need more power or are driving at highway speeds. Nothing says "I'm Green" like a 2008 Toyota Prius parked in your driveway.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If saving money is as important as saving the planet, you can buy a Toyota Corolla for a lot less money and still get pretty good fuel economy and low emissions. The Prius' long-term ownership costs are an unknown, as is the life of the battery pack and the cost to replace it.

What's New for 2008

For 2008, Toyota will increase Prius production and add more packages to the already lengthy option list.

Driving the Prius

Driving Impressions The 2008 Toyota 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. As the Prius gets up to speed, the car's computer brain signals the gasoline engine to switch on, at which point the electric motor surrenders control in a seamless operation that is virtually undetectable. The differences between driving the Prius and a conventional gasoline-engine car are very subtle -- silent acceleration from rest and gasoline-engine shutdown at stops.

Push-Button Start
Although offered on more and more vehicles at all price levels, push-button start still qualifies as one of our favorite features.

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.

2008 Toyota Prius Details
Interior

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 systems. 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 2008 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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, 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.

Optional Equipment

Options include DVD navigation, JBL audio with Bluetooth hands-free communications, xenon headlights, leather seats, satellite radio, six-disc CD/MP3 changer, auxiliary audio input jack, garage door opener, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), rear backup camera, Smart entry and starting system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Under the Hood

It may look nice and simple, but beneath the Prius' hood is a complex array of computers, wiring and mechanical intricacy. 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: 48/45

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2008 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 810 Ratings for the 2004 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Beast "transportation device" I've ever owned

By on Saturday, March 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought the car new; it's been great. Got the touring version with leather. Not a thrill to drive, but roomy inside and very reliable. Hatchback style is versatile. Mileage has been great: 44-53 depending on weather and town vs. highway. What could be better? Seats are only moderately comfortable, and their height isn't adjustable. Keyless locking and starting are pluses. In 7 years I've gotten a new set of tires and replaced the (regular) battery. That's it! My next car may well be a Camry or Accord hybrid - for the extra room and power. What I really want is a hybrid, CRV, RAV4, or Ford small SUV, if they existed, which they don't."

would definitely buy another

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fuel mpg. Reliability."

Cons: "Rougher ride at times. Road noise."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought new with a few reservations. Probably the best car ever. Was NEVER in the shop for anything but oil changes and new tires in over 106k miles. Goes like a trooper. Not particularly smooth ride for real long distances, but it's ok. Many long trips. Just got out more often.Gas milage is absolutely GREAT. Still getting at, and over, 50 MPG in and out of town."

Awesome Car All Around Best Toyota Ever Made —

By on Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "bluetooth does not add contacts or multimedia play"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great car overall requires very little maintenance and the gas mileage is awesome we average between 39.1 to 50 MPG. Car requires oil changes just like any other car. You don't have to plug it in the battery charges when you go down hill or just sitting at a light. The technology and research that went into this car to get it right is just astounding!!!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

In the long run, didnt save anything

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Dead Hybrid Battery

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Looks great, 50 mpg"

Cons: "Seats have no support, lots of road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"If you buy a Prius, plan on selling it before the battery warranty expires because there's a good chance the battery will fail shortly there after. I bought the (six year old) car for $11,500 with 89,000 miles and 2 years later at 125,000 the battery died. Just sold it for $5500. Cost to operate the car was actually more than any other vehicle when you consider the depreciation. Toyota still denies that battery failure is very common, when in fact it is VERY common between 100-120,000 miles. I regret not buying a Corolla, the gas mileage is just a bit lower."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

best vehicle ever will never drive any other

By on Monday, February 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, low gas mileage very stylish, proud"

Cons: "no cons"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

proud to be seen driving this classy car, my youngest son wanted to take pixs in the yard LOL

"my third Toyota and the best by far. I love the mileage, i get the same with this as I did with the Prius C about 42-45 in town My first toyota was a 2007 Rav4 that I bought in march of o8 i loved it but it is my least favorite I gave it to my daughter after I pd it off.my prius c was totaled and now I can't afford a new one any more , I am 71 with 6 children and 12 grandchildren & 7 great grand children. Prius are the best car ever made. Will never buy anything else."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

proud to be seen driving this classy car, my youngest son wanted to take pixs in the yard LOL

Fine car.

By on Monday, February 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Gas mileage"

Cons: "Road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Slightly cramped driving position for anyone over 6'1". Road noise is substantial. Gas mileage gets better with age. maintenance costs minimal, even at the dealer."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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