The Toyota Prius, the best-selling gas-electric hybrid vehicle in the United States and the world, offers a more engaging driving experience for 2007 with the availability of a new Touring Edition model. In addition, the 2007 Prius gains standard driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, which were previously optional.
The new 2007 Prius Touring Edition provides more spirited driving responses due to its European-tuned suspension and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Prius Touring Edition is distinguished externally by the new wheels, a larger rear spoiler, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and integrated fog lamps.
Toyota Prius is the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America, delivering on the promise of exceptional fuel efficiency without compromising performance, comfort or safety. For 2007, a new Camry Hybrid joins the Prius and Highlander Hybrid SUV in the Toyota lineup. Last year, Toyota boosted Prius production to keep up with demand for this innovative hybrid model.
Prius was already the most successful hybrid car in the market, and the rising gasoline prices seen in 2006 have only added to its appeal," said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. executive vice president. "Toyota is the market leader in hybrid vehicles, and we are committed to expanding this technology."
Prius provides the best fuel efficiency ratings of any midsize car sold in America, with estimated EPA ratings of 60 mpg in city driving, 51 mpg on the highway and 55 mpg in combined driving. The seemingly "reversed" city/highway figures reflect the unique powertrain that is optimized for maximum efficiency in the kind of slow-and-go driving that urban commuters experience.
Prius achieves its remarkable fuel efficiency while providing the kind of performance customers expect from a four-cylinder, automatic transmission midsize car, with zero-to-60 mph acceleration in about 10 seconds.
Dramatic Design, Midsize Roominess and Outstanding Utility
The Prius rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase that allows generous interior room and a smooth ride. The five-door liftback design not only looks like nothing else on the road, it is also one of the most aerodynamic production vehicles in America. Its super-low 0.26 coefficient of drag (Cd) helps to minimize interior noise and enhance fuel mileage.
With its "monoform" design, the Prius provides 96.2 cubic feet of passenger room, making it a midsize car. The rear seat in Prius provides a generous 38.6 inches of legroom. Rear cargo room measures 14.4 cubic feet. The liftback design, combined with the standard 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks, gives the Prius outstanding cargo capacity and flexibility.
Hybrid Synergy Drive
The current Prius was the first Toyota product to employ Hybrid Synergy Drive, the company’s third-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain technology. Hybrid Synergy Drive is defined as a "full hybrid system," which means it is capable of operating in gas or electric modes, as well as a mode that combines the power of the gas engine and electric motor.
In the Prius, Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 1.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle gasoline engine and an electric drive motor. The gasoline engine produces 76 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque. As on all other Toyota passenger car engines, Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) helps to optimize power delivery across the engine speed range.
The permanent-magnet electric drive motor produces its maximum power of 50 kW (67 horsepower) from 1,200-1,540 RPM, and peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. from 0-1,200 RPM. The Prius produces 110 combined horsepower with its gas engine and electric motor.
The electronically controlled planetary gear-type continuously variable transmission does not have fixed gear ratios, but rather provides infinitely variable ratios in response to driving conditions.
A regenerative braking system further boosts system efficiency: when the Prius is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motor functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and transforming it into useable electricity to recharge the batteries.
One of the most remarkable features of the Toyota Prius is what the driver does not feel. The computer-controlled powertrain seamlessly blends power from the gasoline engine, the electric drive motor and the generator. The driver typically does not feel the vehicle changing operational modes.
The Prius uses an electronically controlled "by-wire" throttle. A by-wire shift control replaces the traditional gearshift lever and allows tap-of-the-finger shifting using a small joystick mounted on the dash.
The Prius driver can monitor electric-gas power distribution through the Hybrid Synergy Drive system on the standard seven-inch touch-panel display monitor. This screen also displays navigation information on vehicles equipped with the optional navigation system.
The Most Stringent Emissions Certification
The Prius produces over 70 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle. The Prius has been certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in California and those states adopting California
standards. In the rest of the country, Prius is certified as Tier 2, Bin 3. In addition, in California and states adopting the California rules, Prius is certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). The AT-PZEV certification requires the SULEV exhaust standard linked with the ability to meet a zero-fuel-evaporative standard, a 150,000-mile durability demonstration, extended emissions system warranty, and technology deemed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to advance future fuel cell vehicles.
Prius is engineered to provide the level of safety that a family car buyer expects. Passive safety features include front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, three-point seatbelts for all rear seating positions, advanced dual front airbags, and standard driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags.
The driver and passenger advanced dual-stage front airbags inflate according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor is equipped with an occupant classification system to verify the front passengers’ weight category to determine whether the airbag should inflate.
An available back-up camera automatically projects an image of what the lens can detect behind the vehicle onto the dash-mounted LCD display when the vehicle is in reverse gear.
Prius also features a high level of dynamic driving control. The standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) integrates Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution. Brake Assist can help apply maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is available as an option. VSC helps keep the vehicle going on its intended course by detecting front-wheel slide and rear-wheel slide during cornering and attempting to control either condition with torque intervention and/or by braking individual wheels.
A standard tire pressure monitoring system can detect a significant loss in pressure in one or more tires and alert the driver by a warning light.
The Prius offers the amenities expected in the midsize class. Premium seat fabric and a textured instrument panel center accent the high-tech interior styling. Prius offers enhanced comfort with the option of luxurious leather seating (choice of two colors) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Customers can also order an audio system upgrade that features MP3 capability and a mini-jack port located in the center console. The mini-jack port enables connectivity by most portable music players and allows users to listen to their portable music collection through the audio system.
The standard automatic air conditioning system uses an electric-powered air compressor. Not only does this improve fuel efficiency, it ensures passenger comfort even when the car is running only on the electric motor.
The steering wheel features fingertip controls for both the air conditioning and the six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. A rear window intermittent wiper, cabin air filtration, cruise control, heated side mirrors, power windows and door locks and remote keyless entry are all standard on the Prius.
The high efficiency of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive enables Prius to offer a wide array of comfort and convenience options. Available options include an auto-dimming rear view mirror, anti-theft system, fog lights, garage door opener, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, voice-activated navigation system and a JBL Premium AM/FM six-disc in-dash CD changer audio system with satellite radio capability and nine speakers.
The optional JBL audio system integrates Bluetooth® technology, which provides a hands-free communication system. Cellular phones with built-in Bluetooth® compatibility allow the driver and passengers to make and receive hands-free calls. A call can be dialed by using the multi-information display screen’s keypad, and incoming calls can be answered and ended by pushing a button located on the steering wheel.
When a call comes in, the audio system is automatically muted, so the driver or passenger does not have to fumble with radio controls. The Prius stereo speakers act as the phone receiver and transmitter.
With the optional Smart Key, the driver carries a light, compact key fob. When the driver pulls the exterior door handle, an on-board sensor recognizes the signal from a key in his pocket and automatically unlocks the doors. Having been security-cleared, the driver merely pushes a "power" button located on the dash, presses the brake pedal, taps the gear-selector and drives away.