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Toyota Prius | 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 | Prius Reviews

2008-prius.jpgToyota Prius.  In its current version, it is without a doubt the best hybrid vehicle ever built.  Several have come before, and more are trying now, but no other hybrid automobile has come close to matching the popularity of the Prius.  This is the car we all think of when somebody mentions “hybrid”, and it will likely be several years before we truly understand how this little green sedan started it all.  In Latin, Prius means “to go before” - and the name fits, as this green car is paving the way (and the 2010 Prius is right around the corner).

The original version of Toyota Motor Company’s Prius dates back to 1997 (Japan), but it wasn’t until the summer of 2000 that the Prius debuted in the U.S., as a 2001 model and already in its 2nd generation form.  That Prius design stuck around for two more years (2002 & 2003) before some major changes were made to create the Prius we know and love today  (for an early model Prius history lesson, read this).

2004 Prius
The totally redesigned 2004 Toyota Prius was like nothing we’d ever seen before.  For starters, it grew 6 inches longer (moving it from compact to mid-size status) and added 7 cubic feet of cargo room.  It went from being a car that could barely squeeze in 4 people, to one that could comfortably seat 5.  Most noticeably different from the previous model however was the unique shape of the new ’04 Prius.  Unlike any car before it, the body and exterior design of the new Prius was an aerodynamic masterpiece.  And like most art, it was either loved or hated.

Powering the current version of the Prius is something Toyota calls its Hybrid Synergy Drive.  It includes a 1.5 liter gas engine, alongside two electric motors and a battery pack.  The combined output is about 100 horsepower, capable of accelerating the Prius from 0-60 mpg in less than 11 seconds.  This is a vehicle that can be started with a push of a button, with your smart key in your pocket, that includes a transmission controlled electronically via a reverse or drive option knob.  How’s that for being different?

Since the ‘04 redesign, the general body style of the Prius has remained unchanged through 2008.  Several minor cosmetic changes, improvements and options have been introduced over the past 5 years, but it’s essentially the same hybrid car. When this current Prius was initially tested, EPA ratings for gas mileage were 60 mpg for city driving, and 51 mpg on the highway.  Under the updated 2008 EPA ratings, the Prius is now rated at 48 city/45 hwy.  Through 2007, nearly 500,000 of these redesigned Prius were sold in the United States.  In fact, the 2004 Prius was MotorTrend’s Car of the Year.  Click here for a well-written 2004 Toyota Prius review.

2005 Prius
The 2005 Toyota Prius came in one well-equipped trim level, and was priced at $20,875.  It included standard features found on most vehicles today, like power windows, locks, remote keyless entry, cruise and so forth.  At the same time, it also boasted ABS and traction control as standard safety features.  Side impact and curtain airbags were optional, as were several other bells and whistles - all neatly offered in 3 nifty packages.  (2005 Toyota Prius Review here)

2006 Prius
More changes were made on the 2006 Toyota Prius, including a slight price increase that brought the MSRP to $21,725.  At the same time, new features and options were added, and some that cost extra in ’05 became standard for ‘06.  These upgrades included an audio system with mp3 compatibility, a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring system, restyled headlights and taillights, and optional leather seats.  Probably the biggest hits were the optional rear view camera and upgraded DVD based, GPS navigation system (including voice recognition).  2006 Prius Review of updates.

2007 Prius
The 2007 Toyota Prius (gas/electric hybrid car) also had a few revisions and updates from the ‘06 version, including more standard safety features such as front side, and curtain side airbags.  In 2007, Toyota also introduced a more sporty “Touring Edition” of the Prius, which included high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, a ”European tuned” suspension, a redesigned rear spoiler, fog lights, and 16″ alloy wheels.  You can check out a 2007 Toyota Prius road test and review at howstuffworks.com.

2008 Prius
The 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid can best be described on the official Toyota website.  Now with a starting price of $21,100 (due to some changes in the base vs. standard model), the cost of owning a new Prius has only gone up about $1100 since 2004 (the Touring model starts at $23,370).  What may be most impressive about the 2008 Prius is just how accepted it has become, and how normal it is to drive.  It is currently one of the 10 best selling cars in America.  When you’re fed up with high gas prices and looking for a way to do your part in reducing emissions…the Prius seems like an easy choice.

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By Jeff Carey

There Are 13 Responses So Far. »

  1. […] Toyota Prius Vehicles | 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 | Reviews […]

  2. […] to produce hybrid vehicles that looked more like standard vehicles (the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius), the popularity of the Insight fell and in 2006, production was stopped […]

  3. We are driving a 2008 Toyota Pruis now and wouldn’t trade if for anything!

  4. […] Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for new, 2008 model year hybrids ranges from $21,100 (Toyota Prius) to $104,000 (Lexus LS 600h).  Adding all the hybrid technology to a vehicle is expensive, and […]

  5. […] Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for new, 2008 model year hybrids ranges from $21,100 (Toyota Prius) to $104,000 (Lexus LS 600h).  Adding all the hybrid technology to a vehicle is expensive, and […]

  6. […] incentive gas card deal”, or would it make more sense to purchase a hybrid car like the Prius or Civic?  Part of the answer depends on the price of gas over the next 36 months, which is […]

  7. […] time soon. In fact, it might be well into 2009 before we start to see some relief.  And with the most popular hybrid car (Prius) undergoing a major overhaul for next year (2009 Prius changes), including a different […]

  8. […] will make the Volt different? Hybrids currently cruising our roads, such as the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic, are hybrids because they use gas to power the drive train and electricity is used […]

  9. […] to a Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey in January 2008, Prius owners were the most satisfied car owners out there. Ninety-two percent of Prius owners in the […]

  10. […] Insight will likely have a similar design to the hydrogen FCX Clarity (pictured above) or the Toyota Prius, but it will be larger while still remaining in the sub-compact category. A few speculations about […]

  11. […] we think of hybrids, most of us imagine the 5 passenger Prius or the recently re-introduced Honda Insight. However, hybrids that can comfortably seat larger […]

  12. I’ve got an ‘07 Prius Touring which I love. Here’s how I use it in my architectural practice including a Hybrid House remodel. JG


  13. […] impossible to review the new Civic hybrid without comparing it to it’s main competitor, the 2008 Toyota Prius.  And while there are other hybrid cars to choose from (Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima) along with […]

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