Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
Go

2010 Toyota Prius

Overview
Share this page
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?

2010 Toyota Prius Review

By

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

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?

2010 Toyota Prius Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 331 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
    8.9/10

Better than estimated MPG

By on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Up to 70 MPG!"

Cons: "Console creaks during cold weather"

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

"This was my first new car purchase and my first hybrid purchase. Previously I drove a pontiac, then a cadillac and then a volkswagen. First off, my commute to work (20-25 minutes, 8 miles, all city) is nearly always between 50-62 MPG which I love. I've even gotten up to 70 MPG in other instances. I've experienced MPG in the high 30s only in the dead of winter here in Michigan when I am also driving on the highway. It's still way better than any car I've driven. I'm not planning on ever driving a non-hybrid car again. The smug superiority of consuming zero gas in stop and go or standstill traffic is too great. My previous car was a 1999 so to me, the Prius is really high tech. I absolutely love that the car displays how much money I've spent in fuel each time I turn it off. My advice to any person considering purchasing a Prius: DO IT, but have your dealership turn off the back up beep before you agree to purchase because paying for that set me back $60."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Amazing reliability and economy

By on Sunday, October 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Amazingly good road car."

Cons: "Could be a little bigger."

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

"Have driven this vehicle to all 4 borders of our fantastic country multiple times in a very short time since retiring. Never had a hick up in all our travels. Would like a little more interior room though. Also the drivers seat back and my spine are not as happy with each other as I would like."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

I love this car.

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

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: "Incredible mileage per gallon."

Cons: "Dashboard can really radiate a lot of heat."

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

"I love the car, but I may have overextended myself financially. It has a really tight turning radius and great ease of handling which I love. It is a little low to the ground, but I'm sure that is part of the aero dynamics of the vehicle. It is comfortable on long trips and you just can't beat the mileage. Because the seats fold down I could sleep in it if I had too. Plenty of space, and easy access."

16 people out of 30 found this review helpful

LOVE WAITING IN TRAFFIC USING ZERO GAS

By on Monday, September 15, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "MESMERIZED BY GAUGES"

Cons: "NEED POWER DRIVERS SEAT"

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

"I ORIGINALLY HELPED A FRIEND BUY A USED 2007 PRIUS AND WAS SHOCKED AT THE HIGH PRICE! BUT I DROVE IT A LOT FOR A FEW WEEKS AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THE DIALS, GADGETS AND GIZMOS THAT SHOW YOU WHAT GOOD GAS MILEAGE YOU ARE GETTING.OF COURSE I CHECKED IT WHEN REFILLING THE TANK. A FEW WEEKS LATER THE 2011S WERE BEING CLOSED OUT AND I GOT A GOOD PRICE ON A NEW ONE. IT IS JUST A GREAT CAR. EVEN IF YOU FUSS ABOUT LACK OF POWER YOU ADJUST YOUR DRIVING A BIT AND COMPENSATE. EVERY TRIP I HAVE TAKEN I HAVE GOTTEN 53 MPG. STRANGELY, IT DOES NOT SHOW UP ON THEIR GUAGES BUT DIVIDING IT OUT WHEN FILLING THE TANK, I KNOW THE MILEAGE IS CORRECT. THERE ARE EVEN YOU TUBE VIDEOS TO TEACH YOU TO GET EVEN BETTER MILEAGE. IT IS A MODERN MARVEL!"

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Monday, September 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "We got a great price & trade-in. Terrific vehicle!"

Cons: "The place for a woman's purse is inadequate."

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

"This vehicle gets great mileage, has a lot of get up and go. With backup camera, bluetooth for two phones, GPS, and a solar roof that turns a fan on to cool of the interior during warm weather, this car has been a gem. We'll drive it until it starts falling apart. Doing an interim service tomorrow, just to keep it continuing to run smoothly."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

milage is excellent

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas milage , handling"

Cons: "ride could be a little better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"performance is great , runs with the best on the road, ride leaves a little to be desired. but for a small car it is pretty good."

8 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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?