2005 Toyota Prius
This second-generation Prius, introduced as a 2004 model, is larger than the original, and is now a midsize car. The Prius is rated 60/51 mpg City/Highway by the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency, with a Combined rating of 55 mpg. The real justification to buy a Prius is its extremely low emissions. It's important to understand that the Prius is not an electric car. A small, highly efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine charges the battery as you drive. No special knowledge is needed to drive this car. The Prius is the best-selling gas-electric hybrid in the United States and in the world and it's only gaining in popularity. For 2004, Toyota redesigned the Prius, turning it into midsize car and completely re-engineering its mechanical and electrical systems. Toyota sold more than 50,000 Prius models in the U.S. in 2004. To address this, Toyota is expanding worldwide Prius production by 50 percent, from 10,000 per month to 15,000. Still, it seems that as Toyota builds more Prius hybrids, more people want them.
Full 2005 Review
The 2005 Toyota Prius is more than a car. It's positive proof that more people than Toyota imagined want to drive cars with radically improved fuel economy and significantly less environmental impact. The 2005 Toyota Prius is not only an impressive technological statement, it's a car that's easy to like and live with.
The 2005 Toyota Prius comes in one well-equipped trim level ($20,875).
Check the list of standard equipment, and you'll see that the word "economy" applies only to Prius in terms of fuel consumption. Automatic air conditioning with a micron filter is standard, as are power windows, door locks and heated outside mirrors; remote keyless entry; cruise control; a tilting steering wheel with redundant climate and audio controls; intermittent front and rear wipers; and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.
Safety is enhanced with antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and traction control. Standard passive safety features include multi-stage, dual front airbags; three-point seatbelts and head restraints at all five seating positions; and rear seat head restraints that are adjustable. Curtain airbags designed to offer head protection for front and rear passengers and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection for driver and front-seat passenger are optional ($650).
Package 2 ($920) combines a security alarm, Homelink garage door opener, and Smart Key system. Package 3 ($1,100) combines the Smart Key System with the airbag package. The Toyota Prius is beautiful in its simplicity, with graceful, fluid lines that make it look futuristic.
The quarter panels and doors are sleek and clean. The sole character line is a tasteful indentation in the lower region of the doors, visually connecting the creases marking the lower limits of the working area of the front and rear bumpers.
An even more steeply raked backlight (rear windscreen) ends in a high spoiler that trips the air stream as it leaves the car, maximizing the aero advantage of the car's almost-vertical back end. The narrow tires probably help fuel ecnomy, but they clash visually with the proportions.
The headlights are geometrically complex compound units, housing the running lights, side marker lights and turn indicators. The first-generation 2001-03 Prius was classified as a compact by the EPA, but the second-generation 2004-05 Prius is considered a midsize car. Interior Features
The interior of the 2005 Prius is significantly roomier than earlier models. Passenger volume measures 96.2 cubic feet, up more than 6 cubic feet from the '03 Prius. And the '05 Prius is nearly 5 cubic feet roomier than the Honda Civic Hybrid.
The back seat is surprisingly roomy. There's 2-1/2 inches more rear leg room than in the Civic Hybrid, and Prius even beats the Camry by an inch. Still, the Prius remains five-passenger car in designation only, or when one of the rear seat occupants is much smaller statured than the other two. Seats in the Prius are comfortable for commutes and short weekend trips. Head restraints are adjustable in all five seating positions, although in their lowered positions, the rear seat's restraints are close to dysfunctional for taller passengers. Directly beneath the screen is the control head for the sound system. The base AM/FM/CD six-speaker sound system is quite capable. Dome lights grace the headliner, front and rear. A tall glasshouse yields exemplary outward visibility. Storage spaces are abundant and flexible. The upper glove box is good for long, narrow items, like gloves. The lower compartment holds bulkier items. The front part of the center console opens up, also clamshell-like, into two cup holders. Two cup holders pop out of the rear of the console for back-seat riders. An armrest folds down out of the rear seat back.
First Drive '05
Most people who buy hybrid-powered cars aren't looking for something that's fun to drive as much as somthing they can drive with a clear conscience. The Toyota Prius is certainly the latter. Thanks to the electric motor's 295 pound-feet of torque at 0 rpm from the engine, the Prius launches without hesitation. To speed calls for horsepower, and as Prius approaches its maximum velocity, it relies increasingly on its small gasoline engine for motivation. Prius gets its power from a gasoline engine supplemented by an electric motor. In a bit of hyperbole, Toyota calls the combination the Hybrid Synergy Drive. The Hybrid Synergy Drive does, however, rely on the electric motor even more than the system in the first-generation Prius, which is how Toyota was able to make the Prius larger and more practical without compromising its low emissions or fuel economy. The current model is 30 percent cleaner than the squeaky-clean first-generation (2002-03) Prius. Toyota claims the 2005 Prius produces only a little more than 10 percent as much pollution as the average new car.
Toyota says its hybrid system is an electric motor with gasoline engine assist, while Honda's system is a gasoline engine with electric motor assist. The gasoline engine steps to the fore at more constant speeds, especially during highway driving, where horsepower is more critical for maintaining a car's momentum. Any time the driver's right foot requests more motivation than the electric motor alone can provide, the gasoline engine fires up and joins in.
Prius uses an electronically controlled, planetary gear transmission that functions much like a continuously variable transmission. The EPA gives the Prius a City/Highway fuel economy rating of 60/51 mpg with a Combined rating of 55 mpg. Hybrid-powered cars tend to achieve high ratings on EPA tests because the cars run on rollers, face no wind resistance, and run with the air conditioning shut off. The Toyota Prius sets the standard for environmentally friendly transportation. It also delivers extremely good fuel efficiency for a four-seat car with an automatic transmission. Toyota is clearly the leader in hybrid technology. The Prius is an amazing piece of engineering yet driving one and owning one is not much different from a conventional car.
The Toyota Prius sets the standard for environmentally friendly transportation. It also delivers extremely good fuel efficiency for a four-seat car with an automatic transmission. Just ignore those EPA numbers. Buyers can expect to average something north of 45 mpg. For details on the newest Prius Model go to Toyota.com Toyota is clearly the leader in hybrid technology. The Prius is an amazing piece of engineering yet driving one and owning one is not much different from a conventional car. That's impressive.