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2010 Toyota Prius

Overview
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2010 Toyota Prius Review

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The Latin word prius means "to go before." Used as a vehicle name, it certainly fits the world's first mass-produced and best-selling hybrid, with well over a million sold to date. The Toyota Prius, now in its third generation for 2010, has gone from being the quirky vehicle of choice for those wanting to live a greener lifestyle to a mainstream and fuel-thrifty mode of transportation appealing to families and empty-nesters alike. And, along the way, it has inspired other car companies to increase their efforts in the hybrid market. However, when it comes to covering the most ground using the least amount of fuel, the Prius handily takes the cake from its competitors with its EPA-estimated 51/48 city/highway mpg ratings.

You'll Like This Car If...

If getting the most mileage out of each tank of gas is high on your list, the 2010 Prius is a stellar choice. With EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy ratings of 51/48 mpg, your fill-ups will be few and far between no matter the road you take.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Fully loaded, the Prius may not be what you consider a bargain at $32,500, even with potential future fuel-pump savings in mind. Those who are leaning towards a hybrid but want to save more upfront may be interested in the somewhat similar-looking (but smaller) Honda Insight, which starts in the $20,000-range and maxes out just under $24,000.

What's New for 2010

For 2010, the Toyota Prius enters its third generation, with a thorough revamping that includes new styling inside and out, a larger, more powerful engine and, as expected, even better fuel economy.

Driving the Prius

Driving Impressions Like all hybrids, driving the 2010 Toyota Prius is a remarkably quiet experience. The transition between gasoline engine and electric motor (most commonly felt while idling at a light), is...

even smoother in this generation, making it almost imperceptible. The new "EV," "Eco" and "Power" buttons are welcome additions, allowing the driver to exercise a little more control over the vehicle's fuel consumption and throttle response. While pressing "EV" operates the car in ultra-quiet electric-only mode (battery power, speed and distance permitting), choosing "Eco" modifies the throttle response so that no matter how lead-footed or determined a driver may be, the vehicle won't rapidly accelerate. This mode also affects the air conditioning operation and shuts it off when the vehicle is left idling. On the flip side, the "Power" button, when pushed, increases throttle response, allowing for more lively acceleration akin to a regular gas-powered four-cylinder vehicle. We can say that after considerable time driving in all three modes – on a healthy mix of both road and highway – our fuel economy numbers easily trumped those of the EPA without much effort.

Solar Roof Package
Opting for the Solar Roof Package nets you a power moonroof that self-ventilates (thanks to solar cells mounted on top) to help keep the car at a constant temperature. And, just to be sure the interior is at a comfortable temperature upon entering, using the A/C button on the key fob allows managing the interior temperature for up to three minutes from afar, provided the vehicle's battery is well charged.

Power Button
Although the Prius is a lean, green, gas-saving machine, sometimes a little more power is warranted. For those situations, putting the car into "Power" mode gives you some extra oomph to get where you need to go.

2010 Toyota Prius Details
Interior

The interior of the Prius has been significantly updated for its third generation, and is best appreciated in the lighter interior color choices, which create more of a two-tone effect. The new contoured dash is the most notable of these changes, imprinted with a "swirl" pattern of sorts and housing a vehicle information cluster that shows a variety of fuel-usage related displays accessible through Touch Tracer Display "wheels" on the steering wheel. These touch-sensitive button wheels control the radio volume, station, information display and air conditioning temperature and, to help drivers keep their eyes on the road by not having to look down when making a selection, the information is repeated in the vehicle information cluster. In a nod to using more ecologically sound materials in the cabin, plant-derived (and recyclable) resin plastics are used in various forms, most notably the driver's-side seat cushion and door scuffs.

Exterior
2010 Toyota Prius photo

The now-familiar aerodynamic profile first introduced on the second-generation Prius returns for 2010, but changes have been made to further enhance its energy-saving design. Visually, these modifications include new energy-efficient LED taillights and sharper, more squared-off edges that improve the vehicle's coefficient of drag. And, in order to allow for more rear headroom, the apex of the roof has been moved back, giving the hybrid a windswept look from the side. As in the previous generation, the base Prius rides on 15-inch wheels, while buyers wanting a sportier-looking hybrid can opt for the Prius V and its 17-inchers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2010 Toyota Prius II comes equipped with a wide variety of standard features, including a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with A/C controls and Touch Tracer Display, height-adjustable driver's seat, auto up/down on all windows, push-button start, two 12-volt power outlets, a tonneau cover and auxiliary input jack. Moving up to the Prius III adds an upgraded JBL AM/FM/CD changer with satellite radio, Bluetooth and eight speakers, while the Prius IV trim is enhanced with a leather interior, heated front seats with driver's lumbar support and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The top-of-the-line Prius V adds 17-inch alloy wheels and energy-saving LED headlamps and foglamps.

Optional Equipment

Techno-savvy Prius shoppers will likely be interested in the optional power moonroof with solar-powered ventilation and remote A/C operation to help keep the vehicle cool. A number of advanced safety systems are also available for the top-of-the-line Prius V, including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist and Intelligent Parking Assist, all offered in the Advanced Technology Package - which includes the Navigation Package.

Under the Hood

The 2010 Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine matched with an electronically-controlled continuously-variable transmission. It is rated at 98 horsepower, and is a step up from the previous generation's, which was a 1.5-liter powerplant that offered only 76 horsepower. The total hybrid system horsepower (gasoline engine and electric motor combined) for 2009 was only 110, but for 2010 it's up to 134. The 2010 Prius' fuel economy ratings of 51 city/48 highway eclipse those of the previous generation, and individuals wishing to max out their mileage can make use of the vehicle's "Eco" button, which modulates throttle responses and air conditioning operation to improve fuel efficiency. On the other end of the spectrum is the "Power" button, which increases throttle response to allow for faster acceleration, a boon to anyone trying to get up to freeway speed quickly.

1.8-liter in-line 4 with 60-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor Atkinson Cycle Hybrid
98 horsepower @ 5200 rpm (gasoline engine); 80 horsepower (electric motor); 134 hp net total hybrid system
105 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm (gasoline engine); 153 ft.-lb. of torque (electric motor)
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 51/48

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2010 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 344 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Great Car

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

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
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fast, Fun to drive, great mileage"

Cons: "Cup Holder, 2cd one hard to get to."

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

"The only problem I have is that the seats got stained very early in it's life, very easily. They are still stained after repeated cleanings and every used prius I have seen with the same type of seats has similar stains, even the newer ones."

Golden Economy

By on Saturday, December 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Smooth, quiet, 45-55 mpg."

Cons: "some wrinkling on front bumper"

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

"This Gold 'Prius 4' has most available options including the electronic retractable sunroof and backup camera. It has been meticulously maintained with regular oil, air and cabin filter changes and it has been kept clean and waxed. Everything works on the car including the extra driving lights, the hands free telephone integrated into the navigation system and stereo systems. The keyless entry fobs both have new batteries. New Bridgestone tires were installed at 50,000 miles and look new to me. The ones we removed were not really worn out but we figured it was time to replace them. The milage has resulted from the many trips we have enjoyed over the 2 1/2 years we have owned the car. We purchased it in late 2011 during a time when we believed we were getting a good deal and were assured at the time that the 2012s were identical."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I love driving for the first time ever.

By on Wednesday, December 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
10/10

Pros: "mileage, dependability, style"

Cons: "pick-up"

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

"I love this car. As is nearly always the case, the buying experience was not the best but better than most. The car itself, though, is fantastic. Gas mileage is the best I could find. It is comfortable, quiet, and dependable. I love the automatic locks that open when you unlatch the door from outside by only having your key on your person. Also, this car will not allow me to lock my keys inside. Pick-up is a little slow, but it is a trade-off. Don't go for all the add-ons when you buy."

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best Hybrid on the market

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "greaat mileage, great features"

Cons: "I am not crazy about the console between the seats"

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

"Bought this care during the "cash for clunkers" in 2009. I had researched the Prius and knew I wanted one. I bought this car and the wife fell in love with it. This is the first new car we have ever owned but will not be the last Prius we own. While other dealers are hyping up the mileage on their hybrids and they are falling short, the Prius gets what Toyota says it will and then some. Great to be able to fill up for $20 to $30 at the pump."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Great little car that is fun to drive.

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Price. Gas mileage. Style"

Cons: "Not enough cup holders. Small door pockets."

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

"This is our second Prius. My wife and I enjoy driving the Prius around town and on long trips. We find it very comfortable and REALLY economical to drive. Adds pleasure to every trip."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Very good car

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, gas mileage, sunroof, heated seats"

Cons: "brakes skip when hitting bumps in road, noisy"

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

"I am used to driving luxury cars - I have owned Acura RDX, Infiniti EX35, Infiniti G35x, so it is definitely not as comfortable or as fast or handles as great, BUT it is a very good car. Also, my husband drives the Acura TL. I had to save some money since I lost so much in my first house, so I traded my new 2012 Acura for a used fully loaded 2010 Prius with 17,000 miles on it in 2012. I have had NO maintenance issues with it. I only have a 10 mile commute every day, but we plan on driving it to Yellowstone for a 2016 3-week trip. I will update my rating after that. We did rent a base model Prius for a week in Florida in 2009 and we drove it long distances from Ft Myers to the Everglades and it was comfortable, easy to drive, and I think we spent a total of $40 on gas for the week!!!! What would I change? Well, I replaced the tire at 20,000 miles with good all weather Michelin tires and I still spin in the rain and snow, so there must be something with the battery and the weight in the middle to back of the car that causes that. I easily squeal the tires also. I probably have more of a lead foot than others. Maybe it was because I was use to driving AWD cars, not sure. Also, when you hit a bump in the road and are trying to stop, the car jumps. This is definitely a safety issue. These are my 2 major issues. This car is also noisy, but I really only notice when driving in our nicer car."

28 people out of 44 found this review helpful

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