First of all, the new Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, “the first Toyota power plant that requires no belts under the hood for better fuel economy and less potential maintenance,” as the automaker explained. And because fuel consumption is so important, a multi-information display panel that closely tracks fuel and energy level comes as standard.
In addition, the new Prius comes with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system that, according to the company, is 90 percent newly-developed with significant improvements, as it follows:
- The transaxle is lighter in weight and reduces torque losses by as much as 20 percent compared to the previous model.
- The inverter, which converts direct current to alternating current, has a new direct cooling system to reduce size and weight.
- Taken together, the inverter, motor and transaxle are smaller and 20 percent lighter.
- A newly developed electronically controlled regenerative braking system has been adopted, with control logic optimized to enhance regeneration.
There are three driving modes available: EV-Drive that lets drivers use battery power at low speeds, Power Mode for increased throttle sensitivity and sporty driving and Eco Mode for the best mileage the driver can get.
The braking system is now entirely based on disc brakes, in comparison to the previous models that had discs at the front and drum at the rear. The weight was saved by used aluminum in the hood, rear hatch and front suspension axle, Toyota said, which obviously also improves the overall performance of the car. And to have an idea about the Prius performance, you should know that it is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in approximately 9.8 seconds.
In terms of safety, the 2010 Prius has an impressive lineup of standard and optional features, including driver and passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver's knee airbag, active headrests, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, TRAC, VSC and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The new Intelligent Parking Assist helps the driver park easier than anytime before.
Pricing and specifications are not yet available but here is the list with the 2010 Prius preliminary details published by Toyota:
- 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i
- Engine horsepower: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm
- Engine torque: 105 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
- Electric motor: Permanent magnet synchronous motor
- Electric motor power output: 80 hp/153 lb-ft torque
- Hybrid system net horsepower: 134 hp
- Emission rating: SULEV (with AT-PZEV)
- Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission
- Drive System: Front-wheel-drive
- Hybrid battery pack: Nickel-metal hydride
- Estimated fuel economy: 50 mpg (combined)