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2010 Toyota Prius

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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 394 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

Well designed but overly noisy

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fuel economy, large cargo space"

Cons: "Road noise, weak power steering"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The Prius is very well designed. The instrument controls are within easy reach (especially the climate controls), there is abundant cargo space, it has excellent fuel economy (50 mpg average) and the dashboard display is informative. A minor complaint is the power steering is too weak. The major problem with the Prius (model year 2013) is road noise. While wind noise is low, and engine noise is tolerable, road noise is high and detracts from the overall value of the Prius."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Once you go Prius you never go BACK!

By on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200

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

Pros: "Excellent MPG, current price, nice handling"

Cons: "None"

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

White delight

"So I decided to trade in my 2013 Prius c for a 2016 Tundra (I know one extreme to the other) the truck was awesome and here in Texas people move out the way and show you respect on the road unlike the Prius c where people literally merged in my lane forcing me into the grass at times..no JOKE! However the Tundra had horrible gas millage and I know I can't compare it to the Prius but seriously not even close to decent it was like driving a UHAUL! So I lucked out when Toyota decided to redesign the Prius and all the old models when on sale, got myself a 2015! two version and I can't be happier! so many nice extras (keyless entry, DRL) along with the excellent MPG! Seriously if you want to save money at the pump and have a very nice car this is it. ps. yes you will be the punch line of jokes but being broke isn't!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

White delight

Best car for economy and comfort

By on Sunday, December 20, 2015

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

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Comfort, Reliability, Economy, low maintenance"

Cons: "Navigation system"

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

"I have driven this car for two years on long trips and daily commutes and I find it to be one of the best I've ever owned (3 Lexus, 5 MB, 1 BMW). I am a big guy and it has more room than a friends Caddy. With the back seats down you can haul a lot of freight. Took most of my kids college items in it. Gas mileage is between 46-52 depending on conditions. The only thing I don't like is the Navigation system. Screen to small and hard to work. Very easy to DIY on maintenance like Oil change, filters. Many youtube videos to show you the way. I would recommend this car to anyone who wants a everyday car that can fit almost all roles. PS your friends will make you the punch line of many jokes, but the jokes on them!"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I can't believe you rated three Fords over Prius!

By on Monday, November 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Great car"

Cons: "I am 6'4" tall, and I could use a little more room"

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

"Two of the Fords were over twenty thousand dollars, but their mileage was less. This is my second Prius, and I would not consider buying any other car. She handles like a dream, hugs the road, excellent service, maintenance free, fun to dive, and I forget the last time I had to buy gas."

15 people out of 22 found this review helpful

A trooper!

By on Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,235

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: "Great gas mileage, amazing engineering"

Cons: "small blind spots towards the rear"

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

"My Toyota Prius saved my life in a collision with a deer. The buck hit me while I was going 75 MPH, and the car did exactly as it should! The engine took the damage and crumpled on itself, my air bags held me in place, and I walked away from the crash with a small bruise from the where the seat belt clicks in. Sadly, the Prius was totaled, but it definitely protected me until the end! The police couldn't believe I walked away from that severity of a crash."

11 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Love the mileage, combined 54 mpg over 2,500 miles

By on Saturday, September 26, 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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "High mpg, handles well, low cost to operate"

Cons: "Poor acceleration, poor in deep snow."

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

"The car is everything promised and better. I've measured the mpg several times, each over a couple thousand miles and combined mpg consistently around 54 mpg. Rides much better than expected. Weight of battery I guess gives it the weight for better handling. No repairs, just routine service. The car is NOT high performance so if you want high mpg and speed I suggest a Tesla. It also does not do particularly well in deep snow, but does fine on ice."

19 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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