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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 347 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

Wonderful car!

By on Saturday, January 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, awesome mileage, sporty feel, quiet"

Cons: "Only con is pickup but power button helps with it"

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

"The prius is fabulous. I would buy another one in a heartbeat. It is so easy to drive and glides smoothly along the road; very sporty. The pickup isn't great but there is a "power" button you can push when in traffic or need extra pickup which helps alot. The gas mileage can't be beat. It is as roomy as any four door sedan. I love my pruis and would highly recommend it!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I Love It

By on Thursday, January 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

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
10/10

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

"I used to be a terrible driver, racing around and driving in an unsafe manner. After purchasing this car two years ago I have become an excellent driver without even trying! Being able to see how acceleration and braking affect your MPG is the biggest motivator in safe driving and I believe if everyone owned a Prius, there would be a lot less accidents."

13 people out of 21 found this review helpful

ECONOMICAL AND RELIABLE

By on Saturday, December 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "SEE ABOVE"

Cons: "SEE ABOVE"

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

"LIKES - 1.GREAT GAS MILEAGE AVERAGE HIGH 50'S AROUND TOWN IN NON AC WEATHER. THIS REQUIRES TIMING OF LITES, USING CRUISE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, DRIVING 45-50MPH IN SUBURBAN ENVIRONMENT. THIS IS DOABLE ABOUT 8 MONTHS A YEAR PARTS OF SPRING FALL AND ALL OF WINTER IN PHX AZ WITH NO AC 2.GET LOW 50'S IN HEAT OF SUMMER WITH AC 3.ON HIGHWAY TRIPS 55 TO 57 AT 70 MPH FREEWAY DRIVING WITH SOME AC 4.ONLY MAINTENANCE - OIL CHANGE EVERY 10K MILES - LOVE THAT - AND TIRE ROTATION EVERY 5K 5.LIKE HATCHBACK DESIGN VERY FLEXIBLE AND CONVENIENT - GREAT FOR "STUFF" DISLIKES 1NEEDED TIRES AT 50K THOUGHT THEY WOULD LAST MUCH LONGER 2'FABRIC IS THE WORST/CHEAPEST I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED A.GETS DIRTY QUICKLY B. SHOWS WEAR QUICKLY DUE TO THE FREQUENT CLEANING 3.CAR SEEMS SQUIRRLY ON SNOW 4.CAR IS NOISY - DISLIKE THE CVT TRANNY ENGINE ROARS UNDER LOAD - BUT NEEDED FOR GOOD MILEAGE OVERALL A VERY GOOD CAR - RELIABLE AND EFFICIENT"

20 people out of 37 found this review helpful

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."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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."

7 people out of 16 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."

21 people out of 27 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

Buying this car?