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2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius
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New design, more power, improved fuel economy

Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid back in 1997, and since then the model has been through three generational changes. When Toyota released the Prius, it quickly became known as the face of hybrid vehicles and prompted many automakers to look for ways to integrate electrification into their lineups. With competition having become fiercer in recent years, Toyota needs to keep improving the Prius to keep it in the No. 1 slot in the hybrid market. And it’s exactly what it did with the fourth-generation model.

Unveiled in Las Vegas in 2015, the redesigned Prius not only adopted a new look, but also the company’s New Global Architecture platform, which makes it lighter and cheaper to build. The Prius was actually the first Toyota model to implement the carmaker’s effort to cut development costs by 20 percent through sharing platforms, parts and powertrains. The revised bodywork gives the Prius a sportier look than the current model, much like the difference between the last-generation Corolla and the current model. But let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the fourth-generation Toyota Prius.

149 photos / 3 videos

Latest Toyota Prius news and reviews:

Rumor: Toyota Finally Realizes that the Prius is Ugly; Plans Facelift for 2019

Rumor: Toyota Finally Realizes that the Prius is Ugly; Plans Facelift for 2019

Sales are down big time…

There’s no denying it; the Prius is an ugly car. Just look at it – it looks like a double-chinned angry guppy that wants to eat your face. The current model is pretty much the strangest-looking car on the market, but that could all change soon enough as reports are coming in that Toyota is planning a mid-cycle redesign that will focus on the front and rear ends. Praise Jesus!

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TopSpeed's Top 5 Picks For Long Holiday Travel

TopSpeed’s Top 5 Picks For Long Holiday Travel

A few rides to help you get to Grandma’s house trouble-free

Welp, it’s that time of year again. Late December triggers the mass migration season for the majority of humans residing in North America, and that means the roadways will be clogged in every direction with stressed families clinging to the final shreds of their holiday cheer. But fret not, because it doesn’t have to be that way. Indeed, this travel season could actually be quite enjoyable, if you’ve got the right ride to ferry you to and fro, that is. As such, we’ve put together the following list of vehicles we think are perfectly suited to tackle the long holiday travel.

To make the most of it, we threw in a variety of picks for whatever your preferences might be. Granted, most of these are a bit on the pricey side, but hey, if you want the best, you’re gonna have to pay for it. Of course, the bank account can take a beating this time of year, so if you’re a bit strapped for cash, then no worries – we’re kicking it off with something relatively accessible.

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Picks For Long Holiday Travel.

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50 Miles Later, This Prius Owner Finds a Bobcat in her Car's Grille

50 Miles Later, This Prius Owner Finds a Bobcat in her Car’s Grille

This incident is one for the books

Imagine driving 50 miles to work and then finding out when you reach your destination that during your journey, an animal somehow got stuck in your car. A woman from Richmond, Virginia didn’t have to imagine such a situation because it actually happened to her when a bobcat — yes, a bobcat! — got stuck in the front grille of her Toyota Prius while she was traveling the 50-mile route to her workplace. Chalk this one incident up to the list of “improbable things that can happen to you on your morning commute.”

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What Happens When A Toyota Prius Has A Dead Battery?

What Happens When A Toyota Prius Has A Dead Battery?

And how to fix it for around $1,000

Remember when the Toyota Prius was new and everybody was worried its battery would fail and would cost a small fortune to replace? Me too. Well, it turns out that hybrid battery packs do indeed fail and are very expensive to replace from Toyota – roughly $4,000. On an older Prius, that could theoretically exceed the value of the car, leaving it totaled according to your insurance company. Thankfully, there’s a way around this mess.

Automotive journalist and YouTuber Tyler Hoover bought a 2005, second-generation, Toyota Prius for $1,500 suffering from just that – a dead battery with no more life juice to squeeze. Interestingly, the Prius will drive just fine with a dead battery, though the 1.5-liter four-cylinder is solely responsible for moving the car, making it even more doggishly slow. Naturally, it also makes the Prius’ fuel economy drop like a rock.

But, rather than spending $4,000 at the Toyota stealership… errr, I mean dealership, Hoover went to the aftermarket. These days, third-party companies dealing in hybrid batteries are growing in number and popularity. Used Prii (yep, the official pluralization of Prius) are everywhere now, and folks aren’t willing to spend big money on OEM replacement parts. One such company, Electron Automotive, sells an entire bank of battery cells. See, the Prius’ battery pack consists of 28 individual, iPad-sized cells. These are what fail but generally do so individually. That means some of the cells are still good. Electron Automotive takes these good cells from old Prius batteries, pairs them with other working used cells, “rebalances” the cells to work together, and sells the rebuild kit for $1,000. There’s also a warranty, too. That’s a pretty good discount off the price Hoover says Toyota is asking.

Best of all, replacing the cells within the battery pack isn’t all that hard. In fact, the process seems almost plug-and-play once the suitcase-sized battery pack is removed from the trunk. So, check out Hoover’s video from his YouTube channel, Hoovies Garage. It’s a fun watch.

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Budget Direct Renders 9 Everyday Cars With F1 Style

Budget Direct Renders 9 Everyday Cars With F1 Style

Big aero, big rubber, track-ready and looking mean

We love it when we get our hands on a fresh batch of renderings. Sometimes, it’s lifelike speculation on some hotly anticipated next-gen model, while other times, it’s an imaginative mash-up of the unexpected. This particular set of renderings (nine of ‘em total) falls firmly into the latter category, mixing everyday rides like the Toyota Prius and classic Ford Mustang with the styling cues inspired by Formula 1. The images come courtesy of our friends over at Budget Direct, and long story short, we think they look awesome.

Of course, this opens up possibilities to a whole range of F1-themed rides. Never before has a Smart car looked so good, or a Jeep looked so quick, or a Prius looked so desirable. Of course, there are a few sports cars tossed in for good measure, like the Audi R8, Porsche 911, and Subaru WRX, all of which make the transition into the world of high-performance a little more easily. Read on for a breakdown on each, and don’t forget to post your favorite in the comments below, plus your suggestions for other street models that need the F1-treatment.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Toyota Prius TRD

2018 Toyota Prius TRD

Haters gonna hate

We here at TopSpeed don’t shy away from exploring the weirder and wilder side of performance vehicles. In fact, we relish in it. Any chance we come across to break away from convention and blow your mind is worth it, especially if it gets the unruly mobs up in arms. And that’s exactly the sort of reaction we’re expecting with this – a performance-oriented Toyota Prius TRD. Here’s the formula – ditch the eco tires, slap on some real rubber, boost the engine, stiffen the suspension, add the proper cabin gear, and voila – the perfect solution to a dearth of jimmy rustlin’.

But here’s the thing – we’re actually totally serious. This isn’t some April Fool’s joke. We legitimately think there’s a real case to made for a performance Prius. Don’t believe us? Then read on. We dare you.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Prius TRD.

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Latest Wallpapers:

The Grand Tour Isn't Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

The Grand Tour Isn’t Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

Latest branding ploy features a pair of destroyed Priuses

Yes, those are three Toyota Priuses, or at least they were Priuses before they became the unwitting victims of The Grand Tour’s latest promotional stunt. It’s widely known that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t a big fan of the Toyota hybrid and, apparently, his disdain for the car has been turned into a marketing and branding ploy to raise even more awareness of The Grand Tour’s impending debut, as if it needed any more hype to begin it.

One of the three Prius models can be found in London while the other one, or what’s left of it, is in Berlin, Germany. A third one popped up much later and guess where it’s located? America! The one in London just in front of King’s Cross station looks to have survived its crash far better than its counterpart, but the front section of the second-guess Prius is in pretty bad shape as the hood has been crumpled up and the bumper and fenders have been completely dislodged. Still, it fared much better than the third-generation Prius found in Berlin’s Hackescher market and Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, just beside some of stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The one in Berlin, for one reason or another, appears to have burst from the floor before getting stuck halfway through its apparent escape. Then there’s the one in LA, which looks to have made a beeline straight through the floor, before getting stuck in its own right as well.

Obviously, these three setups are nothing more than gratuitous branding for The Grand Tour. It’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. If for nothing else, these setups were excellently executed because we’re talking about them today, just as we’ll do when the show premieres on November 18.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Toyota Prius G

Toyota Prius G

Do not attempt to adjust your screen – this is indeed a performance Prius

If you ever head out to Vegas for the annual SEMA show, be prepared to see some pretty weird things. In an attempt to outdo one another and turn heads on the show floor, the world’s foremost tuners and speed shops have been known to unleash the creative juices in a frothing torrent of strange, twisted metal. Some of it is beautiful, while some of it is bizarre. To U.S. audiences, this Prius race car probably falls into that latter category. But the thing is, if you go to Japan, you’ll find that the Prius is much more than the standard-bearer of efficient commuting. In fact, there’s even a wide-body, V-8 hybrid-powered Prius GT300 race car running in the island nation’s SuperGT race series, which is exactly the inspiration for the speed-ready Toyota concept you see before you. It’s called the Prius G, and the interior is gutted and the body is aero-enhanced, while the corners are equipped with enough stick to hit 1 G on the skid pad.

That impressive lateral acceleration figure provides the name for this unexpected SEMA concept car. But of course, a track-bound Prius isn’t an easy thing to pull off, especially when you consider the dearth of performance parts available on the aftermarket. But when Toyota brought the project to Gordon Ting of Beyond Marketing, he was undeterred.

“It’s an experiment in some ways,” Ting said. “The Prius G is unexpected, and that thrills me. I like building out the reputation of the car and showing that it can do a lot more with minimal changes.”

So what exactly does this reworked 2016 Prius bring to the table? Read on to learn all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Prius G.

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Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

The larger screen could see use in future Prius models

Last Tuesday, we reported that the new Toyota Prius Prime came equipped with loads of fancy new interior tech, including a new 11.6-inch HD multimedia screen mounted in the center console. We said it looked surprisingly similar to what Tesla was doing with its cabin space, and apparently, the screen might see use on future Prius models. But the real question is this – what’s driving this more premium approach from Toyota, and what will be the end result?

At a recent Prius Prime driving event in Ojai, California, Chief Engineer Koji Toyoshima addressed a question about the screen’s utilization elsewhere in the Toyota line. “We will consider perhaps to share [the larger screen] within the Prius lineup, but we haven’t thought about yet on utilizing it towards other Toyota models,” said Toyoshima-san, speaking through a translator.

Basically, it boils down to this – Toyota is testing the waters with the new Prime. If customers opt into the larger 11.6-inch screen (a 7.0-inch unit comes as standard), I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it elsewhere in the lineup – including non-Prius models. It’s a trend that could expand very quickly.

The Prime is a perfect test bed for an upscale electrified passenger car from the Japanese automaker. Equipped with better materials and a more comfortable cabin space, this is the model to get if you want to be coddled in a Prius. And of course, there’s that available plus-sized screen.

So what’s driving this upscale approach, and where is it headed? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Toyota Prius Prime – Driving Impression And Review

2017 Toyota Prius Prime – Driving Impression And Review

A first-rate Prius for the more demanding hybrid consumer

Toyota announced the arrival of the four-generation Prius just last year, but of course, there’s always room for improvement, especially in the face of rapid advances in the world of all-electric transportation. But Toyota doesn’t do all-electric. Rather, the Japanese behemoth likes to pour its efforts into hybrids, and rightfully so when you consider the popularity of the ICE/electric motor combo nowadays. So how do you develop an industry leader without screwing up the formula? Enter the Prius Prime. Framed as the “ultimate” iteration of iconic gas-sipper, the Prime bears a new aesthetic, even more standard tech, and a revamped, hyper-efficient plug-in powertrain.

Toyota lauds the Prime as the “most technologically advanced, best-equipped” model ever offered under the nameplate. I got a chance to spend a day with it in Ojai, California, and no doubt, this thing gives off a definite sci-fi shuttlecraft vibe, just as previous iterations have before. But underneath the spacey ambiance, you get the feeling that all the Prime really wants is to be just another car on the road.

Confused? Read on, and I’ll explain…

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

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2017 Prius Prime Offers Fancy Interior Tech And Lots Of Miles

2017 Prius Prime Offers Fancy Interior Tech And Lots Of Miles

Toyota’s ever-popular hybrid goes for the brass ring

Over the course of its lengthy production run, the Toyota Prius has more or less set the standard in the world of hybrid transportation. Four generations have come and gone since the nameplate’s release in 1997, and now, the popular Japanese fuel-sipper is getting the top-shelf treatment with what Toyota calls “the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Toyota Prius in the model’s nearly two-decade global history.”

Dubbed the Prius Prime, the new model comes equipped with a healthy dollop of technology, both in the interior, and under skin.

Climb into the cabin, and you’ll find an available 11.6-inch HD multimedia touchscreen, which is mounted centrally on the dash. Operated via tablet-like inputs, the display gives off a definite Tesla-esque vibe.

Complementing the large screen is an available color heads-up display and a Qi wireless phone charging system. There are also tons of active safety and convenience features thanks to Toyota Safety Sense (automatic braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, etc.).

Optimizing the car’s inherent efficiency is available predictive software, which analyzes where you go and how you drive, offering tips on when to apply the throttle and brake pedal for max mileage.

Speaking of efficiency, Toyota foresees official estimates at 124 MPGe. That’s a 26-percent improvement compared to the preceding plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, making for the highest MPGe rating of any PHEV on the market. You’ll also get 25 miles of zero-emissions motoring at speeds up to 84 mph while in EV mode, plus 640 miles of range with a tank full of gas and a battery full of electricity.

The 2017 Prius Prime will go on sale across the country later this year, starting at $27,100. But the question is – do you want one?

Continue reading for the full story, including my driving impression.

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2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

New design, more power, improved fuel economy

Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid back in 1997, and since then the model has been through three generational changes. When Toyota released the Prius, it quickly became known as the face of hybrid vehicles and prompted many automakers to look for ways to integrate electrification into their lineups. With competition having become fiercer in recent years, Toyota needs to keep improving the Prius to keep it in the No. 1 slot in the hybrid market. And it’s exactly what it did with the fourth-generation model.

Unveiled in Las Vegas in 2015, the redesigned Prius not only adopted a new look, but also the company’s New Global Architecture platform, which makes it lighter and cheaper to build. The Prius was actually the first Toyota model to implement the carmaker’s effort to cut development costs by 20 percent through sharing platforms, parts and powertrains. The revised bodywork gives the Prius a sportier look than the current model, much like the difference between the last-generation Corolla and the current model. But let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the fourth-generation Toyota Prius.

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Latest spy shots:

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

More miles, more gear, and a new look

With more than 30 gas-electric models on the market, including the Prius (aka the first-ever mass-produced hybrid vehicle), Toyota is justified when it claims to be the “world’s hybrid leader.” But in order to maintain its battery-assisted superiority, the Japanese automaker must continually produce the bleeding edge of green technology and set the trend when it comes eco-oriented transportation. These days, that means the inclusion of a plug-in model. The previous Prius plug-in ended production in June of 2015, but now, it’s back, offering more MPGe, more standard features, and a new look, making for what Toyota calls “one of the most technologically advanced, best-equipped Prius in the model’s history.”

It’s called the Prime, and first things first – it offers upwards of 120 MPGe, which, according to the manufacturer, is expected to be the highest MPGe of any plug-in hybrid on the market. That in itself is a significant statement in the world of max-miler passenger vehicles, but this frugal fuel consumption is also backed by more all-electric range, with up to 22 miles of emission-free driving off battery power alone, effectively double the EV range of the previous model.

So then – the Prime sounds like it’s got the goods, but with gas prices remaining so low, is it enough to spark the interest of consumers?

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime.

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2016 Toyota Prius Stars In "Heck on Wheels" Super Bowl Commercial: Video

2016 Toyota Prius Stars In "Heck on Wheels" Super Bowl Commercial: Video

The Toyota Prius makes some bold maneuvers and gets its own theme song in Toyota’s Superbowl commerical

Super Bowl 50 is right around the corner, and it seems like every automaker is pre-releasing commercials before the big game. We’ve seen the Keven Hart Commercial from Hyundai, Kia’s somewhat creepy Christopher Walken commercial, and Audi’s “The Commander” commercial, to name a few. Now, the video you’re about to watch comes from Toyota. It doesn’t star a big celebrity, well unless you consider the 2016 Toyota Prius a celebrity.

I’m not one who generally spills the beans on a video before you have a chance to watch it, but I can’t help but talk about the commercial a little. Basically, the commercial is a music video, with a short, bearded fellow singing about his Prius and how it makes him feel. The commercial itself is kind of funny to an extent, but some of the things you see the Prius doing are just unrealistic. Maybe that’s part of what makes the commercial funny. It might seem stereotypical, but the actor driving the Prius really seems to fit in with it well.

I can’t really knock Toyota too much, and I have to give credit where credit is due. The company did invent the hybrid segment and really did set the bar for fuel economy. With the update for the 2016 model year, the Prius looks better than ever. With that said, take a look at the commercial and keep an open mind. I don’t necessarily agree with our little, bearded friend – the Prius isn’t exactly badass as he seems to think – but the commercial is good for a few laughs, anyway.

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2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

2016 Toyota Prius – Driving Impression And Review

If you gotta blow your nose, you’ll probably ask for a Kleenex. If you need a cotton swab, you’ll look for a Q-Tip. If it’s hybrid transportation you’re after, the Prius is the standard. Rightfully so – the Prius was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, selling 3.5 million models worldwide since its introduction in 1997. But unlike hygiene products, hybrid technology has come a long way in the last two decades, and Toyota’s green icon is under pressure to evolve. Enter the fourth generation, which brings a new design, a new platform, tons of tech, and a compelling effort to broaden the appeal of this eco-conscious torchbearer. I was invited to southern California to try it out.

Los Angeles is a great place for a test like this. The Prius is hugely popular amongst the local population, especially celebrities, offering easy driving in crowded freeway traffic jams, and low emissions to curb air pollution. And in a town where you need a car to get anywhere, the high mpg doesn’t hurt either.

But Toyota says hybrids aren’t just about fuel efficiency anymore, and customers will no longer compromise to skip a trip to the pump. Conversely, the fourth-generation Prius aims to transform from something you should drive to something you want to drive. How does it stack up? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Prius.

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Toyota Prius Covers 600K Miles With The Original Batteries

Toyota Prius Covers 600K Miles With The Original Batteries

Back when hybrids were just starting to gain popularity, there were many naysayers out there who questioned their reliability. The common speculation was that the expensive lithium-ion battery packs would quickly need replacement, but given the bulletproof nature of hybrids like the Prius, it appears as though such concerns were more or less unfounded. To back this, we find examples of some Prius models that have managed to break 600,000 miles on the odometer while still carrying the original battery pack.

Toyota highlighted one such Prius in the above-featured video. The car isn’t exactly living a life of ease, either – it sees daily use as a taxi in Austria, covering the miles to earn a living and doing battle in the traffic-laden city streets.

Typically, cars like the Prius are sought after for taxi duties because of their low fuel consumption. But now, it looks like cabbies may go hybrid to also make sure the fares keep rolling in, rather than spending time in the shop.

“I can’t recall this vehicle ever breaking down,” says Manfred Dvorak, driver of the cab. “For me, the Prius is the ultimate sidekick.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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Toyota Recalls 625K Prius V Models Worldwide

Toyota Recalls 625K Prius V Models Worldwide

Last year, automakers recalled a record 63.5 million cars. Looking at that figure might make you think it’s a record that won’t be broken anytime soon, but with Takata having already issued an airbag-related recall for around 41 million vehicles and with various automakers announcing new recall campaigns every month, it looks like we’re headed toward a new low for the automotive industry. Toyota, one of the many brands involved in the Takata airbag recall, has just issued a new callback, this time around for a software glitch.

The recall affects no fewer than 625,000 2015 Toyota Prius V models (Prius Plus in Europe and Prius Alpha in other markets), 109,000 of which were sold in the United States. Most of them, about 340,000, are in Japan, while 160,000 are located in Europe. The recall affects cars produced between May 2010 and November 2014.

In the involved vehicles, the software settings for the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, which could cause them to become damaged. If this happens, the vehicle can enter a "failsafe mode," and in rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven. This would result in a sudden loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop. Toyota said there had been no reports of crashes or injuries.

Owners will be notified by mail and Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2018 Toyota Prius SUV

2018 Toyota Prius SUV

With the next-gen 2016 Toyota Prius expected to debut later this year, a recent report suggests that Toyota will continue to expand the lineup of dedicated hybrid vehicles with an all-new Prius SUV. Currently, the Prius lineup includes the Prius Liftback, Prius Plug-In, Prius c and Prius v, but a joint venture with Mazda – the same one that spawned the 2016 Scion iA – could help create yet another hybrid model with unparalleled fuel economy for Toyota. Differentiated from the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Prius SUV would only be offered as a hybrid, and if produced, it could possibly be based on the two-door 2016 Toyota C-HR Concept crossover unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

The obvious advantage of a crossover- or SUV-based Prius is that attention to aerodynamics could be pushed back a little in favor of a traditional tall ride height, added versatility and more attention on creating a stylish vehicle. After looking at the C-HR Concept, we envisioned what a production version of the hybrid crossover would look like to come up with the rendering you see here. Toyota has yet to officially confirm any plans for a Prius SUV, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that such a vehicle would be an exciting addition to the existing lineup of Prius hatchbacks.

Continue reading my speculative review of the Toyota Prius SUV.

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Latest Driven:

Toyota Considers Prius SUV

Toyota Considers Prius SUV

Like Donald Trump running for President again and yet another Jurassic Park sequel, you can put this one in the ‘things that were probably inevitable’ file: A new Toyota Prius crossover SUV is reportedly in development and will hit the market within the next few years.

Auto Guide reports the new hybrid SUV is a product of the new partnership between Toyota and Mazda, who entered an agreement to share powertrain and platform technology earlier this year. The new SUV is likely to be a production version of the 2016 Toyota C-HR concept shown at the 2014 Paris Motor show and will be the fifth model in the Prius family, which already includes the 2014 Toyota Prius, 2015 Toyota Prius c, 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and 2015 Toyota Prius v.

The new variant is likely to be powered by the same drivetrain as the normal Prius, which consists of a 98-horsepower 1.8-liter engine and 36-horsepower electric motor. The combined 134 horsepower is channeled to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Though, Toyota also might also be interested in using Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel engine, which would make for quite a torque-happy hybrid.

A source close to the project told Australian site Motoring that the potential diesel-powered Prius SUV will have a range of well over 500 miles per tank and provide a superior driving experience to a gasoline-powered Prius. Both engine options could be on the table to appeal to both European and American buyer sensibilities.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Current Toyota Prius Plug-In Goes Out Of Production This June

Current Toyota Prius Plug-In Goes Out Of Production This June

The plug-in version of the Toyota Prius is the most recent addition to the Prius lineup, but it will also be the first departure. In a brief statement, Nathan Kokes, brand manager for Toyota’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Marketing, announced that the current Prius Plug-in will be phased out in June.

Showing how integral internet forums are these days, Kokes broke the news on Prius Chat. As for the future of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, he said: “we are hard at work developing the next generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid and we are looking forward to sharing more details with you as we approach our launch date.”

With the next-gen Toyota Prius expected to debut for the 2016 model year, the cancellation of the Prius PHEV probably wasn’t too big of a surprise for green-car enthusiasts, but it does show that the more advanced, plug-in version of the hybrid will live on after a brief hiatus. The new Prius Plug-In will likely be introduced for the 2017 model year.

Complementing the Prius Liftback, Prius c and Prius v, the Prius Plug-in was introduced for the 2012 model year, which provided added benefits that included 11 miles of driving range in EV mode, a top speed in all-electric mode of 62 mph and an EPA-rated 95 MPGe.

Continue reading to learn more about the current Toyota Prius Plug-In.

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2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in - Driven

2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in - Driven

The Prius name may be more than 15 years old, but Toyota’s a more recent iteration of the hybrid is this – the Prius Plug-in. And as the name implies, this Prius has a trick up its sleeve for how it goes about charging.

As with any conventional Prius, the Plug-in can be charged on the go. Tap the brakes or coast down a hill, and the electric motor harnesses the wheels’ rotational energy, feeding it back into the battery. However, this model goes one step further, offering customers the ability to charge the car while it sits in their garage.

Plug the included power cord and transformer box into any 110-volt wall outlet, and the Prius Plug-in will trickle charge it’s batteries for three hours, giving the car an advertised 11-mile, all-electric range. Pop the charging cord into a 240-volt, and the deed is done in one and a half hours.

So how well does the added plug-in feature work? To find out, I spent a week with the Prius, testing out its electrified abilities first hand.

Continue reading for the full review of the 2014 Prius Plug-in Hybrid

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2015 Toyota Prius v

2015 Toyota Prius v

Since 2001, Toyota has offered the Prius in one form or another, giving buyers the roominess of a sedan or a liftback (2004 and on) with fuel economy that was almost impossible for traditional cars to match. In 2012, after other automakers started hopping on the hybrid bandwagon and gobbling up sales, Toyota saw a gap in the market for a hybrid wagon and launched the Prius v. With the 2015 model year upon us, and Toyota looking to inject a little youth into its customer base, the automaker has given the hybrid wagon a facelift that gives it a slightly sportier look than before without abandoning its reserved personality altogether.

With this refresh comes a handful of changes to the front fascia and a little tuck on the backside. Unfortunately, Toyota left the drivetrain unchanged. Allowing its main competitor to easily trump it in terms of performance.

Does the Prius v still have what it takes to dominate the hybrid wagon market?

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Prius v and find out.

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2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

The Prius has certainly made a name for itself in the nearly 15 years it’s been around. Toyota has sold tons of them all across the globe. As the market started wanting more, Toyota came out with this: the Prius V, which according to Toyota, stands for “versatility.” That truly is the case, seeing as the Prius V has a large SUV-like rear cargo area with seats that fold flat. Starting in 2012, the big-boy Prius made a solid case against the need for large, gas-guzzling SUVs – at least with respect to interior volume. The cavernous interior actually boasts 67.3 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seats folded down. That’s four cubic feet more than a Chevrolet Equinox.

Besides the ability to haul five adults and their junk around, the Prius V does it while getting some respectable mpg numbers. The EPA rates the wagon at 44/40/42 mpg on its city, highway, and combined test loop. Add to that its 1.8-liter four-cylinder runs on regular gasoline, and you’ve got a money-saving, junk-hauling, passenger-pleasing green machine.

But how well does it execute its mission? I spent a week with a 2014 model to find out. My driving was mixed between city and highway roads, along with both gentle and aggressive driving styles. I did everything from hauling my two-year-old in a car seat to hauling a large bookcase for friends. Keep reading for the outcome.

Click past the jump for the full review

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2015 Toyota Prius c

2015 Toyota Prius c

The Prius c started its life in 2012 as a smaller and more affordable version of the hotly successful Prius liftback. Through 2014, the model remained relatively unchanged and failed to really shake up the hybrid segment. Now as we approach 2015, the Prius c has undergone a nice refresh that makes it stand out from its larger brothers with its sportier and more youthful appearance. Oh, and it gets 50 mpg combined, which sweetens the deal a little.

Though it’s just a refresh the 2015 Prius c looks like a whole new car; that’s just how far Toyota took this upgrade. Sure, from the side it looks like the 2014 model, but the wide-open front grille and the “light pipe” taillights inject a little youth into the lineup.

So, is this redesign enough to help push the Prius c to the next level?

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Prius c and find out.

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2015 Toyota Prius Persona Series Special Edition

2015 Toyota Prius Persona Series Special Edition

The Toyota Prius has been around since 2001 and very rarely have we ever used the words "elegant" and "luxurious" to describe it. But Toyota is determined to infuse those two things on the 2015 Prius with the unveiling of the Persona Series Special Edition. Yes, the Toyota Prius is getting a special edition treatment. But that’s not even the most surprising part about this whole thing. Believe it or not, the Prius Persona Series Special Edition actually looks pretty darn good. Who knew!

This is actually the second time we’ve seen a Persona Series Prius, as Toyota released one in 2013 too. It comes with plenty of exterior and interior upgrades that really bring out a side of the Prius we rarely get to see. That’s about as big a compliment you can throw at the hybrid sedan that doesn’t involve its outstanding fuel efficiency.

The Toyota Prius Persona Series Special Edition will arrive in dealerships in September with a price of $26,985. Another $325 will be added to that total if customers opt for the Blizzard Pearl exterior paint.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota Prius Persona Series Special Edition.

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2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

2014 Toyota Prius V - Driven

The Prius is the flagship of the environmental movement. Toyota’s wonder child has dominated the world of hybrids since its introduction in 2001. As a man with petrol in my veins and a favorite cars list that includes names like Porsche and Lamborghini, the Prius should be the antithesis of all I love about motoring. With a focus on quiet and environmentally friendly transportation, the Prius has been branded as one of the worst and most uninteresting thing to drive in the world.

This is my first real experience with Toyota’s darling though, and I wanted to at least give it a fair shake. The model sitting in my drive is the Prius V model, the largest of the family and the least fuel efficient. It has a CVT, some batteries and only two pedals. After a week with this machine and more than 500 miles I learned a lot about it.

Was it the terrible car I had feared or did it turn out to be something else entirely? Hit the jump to find out.

Read more about my drive of the 2014 Toyota Prius V after the break.

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TopSpeed Podcast Episode 019 LIVE

TopSpeed Podcast Episode 019 LIVE

It was a day early, but we hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the TopSpeed Podcast. There was the usual bit of silliness, a fair amount of arguing and we even managed to talk about some car stuff.

As always, we want to say a very special thanks to our live viewers.

For Weekly Wheels, I discuss my time with the Prius V, Mark talks to us about what he thinks I got wrong with the Lexus RX 450h, and Justin tells us how much he liked the new 2015 Honda Fit.

For news stories we cover the new fourth-generation Miata engine and reveal date, talk about Mercedes bringing back the Maybach name, and we cover our exclusive news of Kahn Design moving into car production.

After that we spend some time with Mark talking about the 100-year anniversary of Dodge, how they are celebrating with a 707 horsepower Challenger, and end with a look at the future of the rock-crawling Jeep Wrangler. To finish the news, I had a few things to say about a faster Alfa Romeo 4C and looked at how you can buy a cheap Porsche Boxster or Cayman next summer.

For our viewer-question segment we talk about cars that can do epic burnouts, cars we want to see do epic burnouts and then we talk about racing video games. With the video games we take a second to look at our all-time favorite games and touch on the games that are coming out in the next six to nine months. There is even a sneak peak at a new piece I am working on.

To end the show we do our traditional Own, Drive, Burn and it was easily the hardest one we had yet. We have to choose between a legendary classic Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

If you liked the show, let us know in the comments. If you didn’t like the show, let us know that too. Apart from the comments, you can reach us on Twitter @TopSpeedPodcast or by email, Podcast@TopSpeed.com. Don’t forget, if you like the show but can’t always make it the to site to watch or listen, you can subscribe to our cast on iTunes.

Stay safe this weekend, and we will see you guys next week.

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TopSpeed Podcast Episode 018 LIVE

TopSpeed Podcast Episode 018 LIVE

We hope everyone enjoyed the show! A special big thanks goes out to our live viewers and commentators. You make the show even more enjoyable.

This week is crammed full of crazy and wild stuff, and we start things off with a bang. Right after introductions we talk about my upcoming trip to Colorado to drive some V-8 powered Miatas. We then jump straight into the Weekly Wheels segment where Justin talks about his time with the spacious Kia Sorento. Spoiler alert: he really liked it. We kept the SUV theme going with my talk about the Lexus RX 450h. You get a good explanation about why I was so hard on the thing in my review. We finish with Mark’s thoughts on the Prius.

If you think this list is a bit boring, I have a brand new Miata coming soon, so that will be in next-week’s podcast.

For the news, we start with the somber news of the tragedy at Pikes Peak. To keep from depressing everyone on this Thursday we move to Mark’s trip to the Hyundai manufacturing plant in Alabama. From there we move to the insanity that is a 700 horsepower Challenger. There is lots of grunting and yelling of ’Merica in that segment.

To finish out the news, we do a mad dash through a pile of Goodwood news including the new Focus ST, the McLaren 650s GT3 and Nissan’s new hill climb record.

We finish the show up with a few questions from the viewers that range from how to buy a used car, to how to escape rapid soccer fans. We also look at the future of the Focus RS and the next-generation Miata.

The last piece of the show is Own, Drive, Burn and we have a large Mercedes, an armored personnel carrier and a monster truck. This whole show was full of awesome and crazy.

If you have questions for us, or if you have suggestions for Own, Drive, Burn, just drop them in comments, or hit us up on the Twitter @TopSpeedPodcast. You can also send us an email to Podcast@TopSpeed.com.

Have a safe weekend and we will see you next Thursday.

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2014 Toyota Prius - Driven

2014 Toyota Prius - Driven

The original Prius hit the streets of America back in 2000 with its Corolla-like looks and a funky hybrid-electric drive that was unlike anything else on U.S. roads except the two-seat Honda Insight. That first-generation Prius was replaced in 2004 with the familiar hunchback turtle look we’re all used to. The second generation is where Toyota really gained ground with hybrid sales, moving over 600,000 cars before the third-generation Prius took over in 2009. With the new model, the Prius gained a few reshaped exterior panels and a more futuristic interior while retaining is stellar fuel economy numbers. Since then, Toyota has moved over 710,000 third-gen cars.

I recently found myself behind the wheel of a 2014 Toyota Prius with the “Three Model” option package. One level up from the base model my tester came equipped with some nice features like a 6.1-inch touch screen in the center dash, Sirius XM radio, navigation, Toyota’s smart key entry and start system, and power windows. But despite those features, the car still felt very basic. Cloth seats, a rubber steering wheel, manual seats, and hard plastics everywhere kept the car feeling rather down-market.

Besides the interior’s shortcomings, the Prius performed just as you’d expect: slow and efficient. So does the car live up to all the hype that’s been following it all these years? Click past the jump to find out.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Toyota Prius

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2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota still leads the pack when it comes to electrified models and is asserting that lead with a new contest, the Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge, which pits 30 New York metro region drivers against each other to log the highest MPG over a one-month loaner period. The program kicks off its first wave of contestants today at a key hand-off in New Jersey.

The MPG Challenge underscores Toyota’s confidence in their Hybrid Synergy Drive’s ability to deliver amazing real-world returns, something that marks their models apart from pure EV’s like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S as well as conventional economy hatchbacks like the Hyundai Elantra GT and Ford Fiesta. Toyota’s point of view in the efficiency debate is valuable. They’re betting that their Prius Plug-in can entice normal drivers to "hyper-mile," a term meaning to maximize potential range through creative (and very slow) driving.

Can the Prius Plug-in Hybrid resolve the range anxiety of EV drivers and the disillusion felt by buyers of small gasoline-powered cars that can barely get near their official EPA stats – no matter how slowly they drive. The idea is to use the MPG Challenge as both a sales promotion and consumer education platform, while also highlighting the latest tech advancements in the 2013 Prius Plug-in Hybrid in the hands of real-life potential buyers.

How is Toyota positioned to weather the current state of evolving eco-car priorities? As the hard-core greens adopt full EV models, will Priuses start coming factory-direct in Taxi-cab yellow with barf-proof vinyl upholstery?

Click past the jump for the full review of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, including detailed info on ordering dedicated chargers from Toyota’s new home-electricity partner Leviton.

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2013 Toyota Aqua G Sports

2013 Toyota Aqua G Sports

Toyota will offer proof that the hybrid technology is "no barrier to creating eye-popping custom concepts" at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon the. It will achieve this with the unveiling of the Aqua G Sports — a concept car based on the Prius hatchback — a model that quickly become one of Japan’s best-selling cars since its launch last year.

The new Aqua G Sports concept adds a more aggressive appearance to the exterior and interior, plus a re-tuned suspension and body-reinforcing braces to strengthen its sporting character and handling. Despite these updates, the Aqua concept keeps the usual hybrid powertrain found in the Prius. This means the new Aqua concept will be powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 99 horsepower combined with an electric motor that adds another 82 horsepower.

Full details on the new Toyota Aqua G Sports concept will be unveiled during its official debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

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2013 Toyota "Tekked-Out" Prius by Clint Bowyer

2013 Toyota "Tekked-Out" Prius by Clint Bowyer

NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer should be feeling good these days. Fresh off of his third NASCAR Sprint Cup win of the season in Charlotte, Bowyer is ready to conquer another challenge.

Instead of riding to another victory on the track, Bowyer was part of the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge where he went up against fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, NHRA Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria, and NHRA Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown to build the ultimate race car.

For Bowyer, his offering is called the "Tekked-Out" Prius, which as the name suggests, is far from the mundane Prius you see gallivanting on the streets these days. Together with RKM Performance Center, Bowyer went to work on the Prius, describing the theme of his creation as a "young, sophisticated global thinker meets a connected, socially conscious traveler."

As far as modifications go, the "Tekked Out" Prius received two custom body kits, a new custom Toyota grille and intake inserts, custom airbrush graphics and stenciling, and a set of EVOD wheels.

The folks at RKM Performance also performed major electronic modifications on the Prius, highlighted by a new 17-inch custom touchscreen with a built-in Windows 7 computer, two ASUS 12-inch tablets, and a side-view camera system that takes the place of the old factory mirrors. On top of that, Bowyer and RKM Performance also installed 45 feet of fiber-optic lighting, and a 16-speaker JBL audio system with two amplifiers and six crossovers to help brighten the mood and please the eardrums inside the Prius.

The interior also received a number of luxury touches, including 10 hides of custom leather, two hides of premium designer suede, 9 yards of Alcantara suede, 5 yards of imported German carpet, and two spools of electric blue stitching accents.

Finally, Bowyer wanted to give his creation some racing attitude and set out to do so by installing a set of Megan Racing springs and shocks to bring the hybrid down to a ride height "lower than a Sprint Cup car."

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2013 Toyota Prius Persona Series

2013 Toyota Prius Persona Series

Toyota is slowly announcing the trim levels for the Prius’ 2013 model year and it has been relatively “blah” so far. Toyota is at least attempting to spice things up – or at least mailing in its attempt – by releasing a :ahem: “Special Edition” model that it has dubbed the Prius Persona Series.

This so-called special edition has pretty much just two things that are special about it. The first is a black-cherry paint job that can only be found on the Persona Series model. Also unique to this model are the darker-finished 17-inch wheels and the “Persona Series” badges on the outside. In addition to the black-cherry paint, you can also opt for black and Blizzard Pearl.

On the inside, Toyota will fit the Prius Persona Series with black SofTex seats with red accent stitching. For those that don’t know, SofTex is imitation leather that Toyota patented earlier this year. Also wrapped in charcoal-colored SofTex with black accents and red contrasting stitching is the steering wheel.

Lastly, the Prius Persona Series gets dark chrome accents throughout the interior, including on the steering wheel, gear shifter ring, arm rest, door handles, and front cup holders. Other than those additions, the Prius Persona Series comes with the same 134-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine that the base Prius Two comes with.

Toyota has priced this special model at $27,890, which is about $1,300 more than the 2013 Prius Three. At least this is a step in the right direction for the Prius, but we are still waiting for Toyota to find a way to really make the Prius “cool.” The wait shall continue…

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One Step Closer to Self-Driving Cars, as California Senate Approves Bill

One Step Closer to Self-Driving Cars, as California Senate Approves Bill

Looks like states are finally jumping on the autonomous-driving bandwagon, but this time it has a little “oomph” behind it. Having Nevada pass a bill specifically to allow and regulate automated driving was great, but this time it’s California that gave it the green light. California’s driving and automotive laws have always had a big influence on federal laws – except lane splitting, thank goodness – so chances are more states will follow and the NHTSA will eventually jump on board.

The thing to remember here is that this bill was not to allow autonomous cars to drive on California roads, as California has no laws barring self-driving cars. This law is to govern the production and testing of these cars in hopes of giving manufacturers a clear set of rules regarding these cars, which may press more automakers into this realm.

The first thing that California cleared up is defining an autonomous vehicle. This is any vehicle that can drive without any human intervention, so this eliminates Cadillac’s self-driving car for now and leaves only the Google car (seen in the above video). It also specifies that it is legal to manufacture your own autonomous car and drive it on California highways, which is an interesting topic of debate.

The bill goes on to state that the car must have a licensed driver in the driver’s seat and that driver must be designated by the car’s builder as a legal driver for said vehicle. The only exception to this rule is on a closed course. The manufacturer must also have an insurance policy or bond in the amount of $5 million prior to testing the vehicle. From there the bill goes on to define what safety issues the manufacturer, car, and driver must comply with.

Keep in mind that this is only the first step for this bill, as it must pass the State Assembly next. Given the bill passed 37 – 0, we doubt it will be held up.

Click past the jump to read the bill. Yes, it is in regular English, not “politicianese.”

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Legally Blind Man "Drives" to get a Taco and Pick Up Dry Cleaning

Legally Blind Man "Drives" to get a Taco and Pick Up Dry Cleaning

Autonomous cars have been gaining a lot of headlines recently with all of their testing and new state laws being enacted to allow their testing. One of the forerunners in this technology is, of all companies, Google. Google has been in the autonomous car testing project since 2010 and has logged more than 200,000 miles of automated driving.

That’s not the impressive thing, as Google recently had its first ever non-Google-employed test driver. To boot, this driver only has about 5% of his vision remaining. That’s right, Steve Mahan, this brave blind man, took a Toyota Prius fitted with Google’s automated driving doodads and went out for a spin.

Now, if you were legally blind and were driving for the first time in many years, where would you go? Maybe you would head to a nice restaurant, to visit relatives, or even to a friend’s house. Nope, not Steve, he immediately rode in the driver’s seat of this automated Prius to the nearest Taco Bell drive-thru, maybe that’s all Google has left in its testing budget for these cars. He grabbed a Taco, then headed off to pick up some dry cleaning.

The car performed well and Steve seems very happy to be in the driver’s seat again. He even added in the obligatory “Look mom, no hands” joke. The only thing we could see that this Prius did poorly was park, as it seemed to be parked at an angle when it stopped at the dry cleaners and when Steve parked it in his driveway.

Autonomous cars are cool, but will people ever warm up to them? We would be pretty nervous about the chances of the computer suddenly crashing and deciding to run the car head-on into traffic. Then again, if Toyota fills the Prius with foam during an accident, like Demolition Man, you’d never have to worry about getting hurt.

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2012 Toyota Prius Super GT

2012 Toyota Prius Super GT

When we first saw the Subaru BRZ GT300 race car at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the immediate question that popped into our heads was, "What’s Toyota’s answer for this?"

Images of the Toyota 86 built to Super GT specifications immediately entered our imaginations, but from what we’ve been hearing, the Japanese automaker will be fielding a different Super GT car for next season.

There have been no official statements from Toyota yet, but a sketch in the Japanese publication, Auto Sport Magazine, gave us clues as to what Toyota is preparing for the 2012 Super GT season.

It’s a Toyota Prius GT300 race car.

At first, it was hard to recognize the Prius-ness of the race car because it looks so wonderfully beautiful, but if you look a little closer, hints and traces of the Prius are clearly visible. The Prius GT300 is expected to be tweaked to adhere to Super GT regulations, so you can expect the full boat of racing modifications. That includes a tweaked powertrain that will produce 300 horsepower, as well as a stripped down interior that will only feature racing elements like the sport sets, transmission, and the full body roll cage.

Further details of the Prius GT300 race car are expected to be announced soon. In the meantime, you can check out the sketch that was published in Auto Sport Magazine to give you an idea of what the car is going to look like.

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2012 Toyota G's Prius

2012 Toyota G’s Prius

Set among the many debuts Toyota has planned for the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show is the G’s Prius, a sportier and far more aggressive take on the Japanese automaker’s resident hybrid car.

Toyota has yet to reveal the full specs regarding the car, but it certainly looks like this model is an evolution of the Prius G Sports Concept that the company unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Of the details we do have of the G’s Prius, we can tell you that the model has a White Pearl Crystal Shine exterior finish with red and black decorated stripes running along both sides of the car. One thing we’re thankful of, as far as the G’s Prius is concerned, is that Toyota opted for a more traditional look as opposed to the oddly-designed, rear-tire covered Prius G Concept. The interior of the G’s Prius also got a few styling tweaks in the form of a revised steering wheel, Recaro sport seats dressed in black leather with matching red stitching, a new information display, and aluminum pedals.

Under its hood, the G’s Prius will come with the same power train as that of a standard Prius so expect a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an Electronic Continuously Variable transmission. This setup produces 99 horsepower and 105 lb/ft of torque matched to an electric motor that produces 82 horsepower.

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2012 Toyota Prius C

2012 Toyota Prius C

While everyone’s eyes are focused on the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota has announced details on their line-up for the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. One of the models to be displayed in Tokyo is a new version for the Prius family. After its debut in Tokyo, the Prius C will be making its North American debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

The new Prius C will be using Toyota’s renowned Hybrid Synergy Drive technology and will deliver a fuel economy of 50 mpg in the city, which is the highest city mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle. The new Prius C will bring a more youthful expression and a sportier dynamic character that offers a more fun-to-drive experience.

The model will also be offered with Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls, and nine airbags as standard features. That being said, one of the most impressive features of the new Prius C is the addition of the new Toyota Entune multimedia system that allows users to connect with popular apps such as Bing, OpenTable.com, and movietickets.com.

UPDATE 02/08/2012: Toyta has announced that the new Prius c will go on sale on the US market in March 2012. The Prius c One will be priced at $18,950, the Prius c Two at $19,900, the Prius c Three at $21,635, and the Prius c Four at $23,230.

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Toyota expands Prius lineup

Toyota expands Prius lineup

Toyota will be expanding the Prius family with the addition of three new models set to be launched in the next three years. This decision has been made in an attempt to make the Prius a standalone brand. All the new models will be put on sale by 2014 and will consist of a sports coupe, an SUV, and a replacement for the current sedan.

The new Prius hatchback has already been seen in concept form at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It will be stripped of the current blade-like headlamps and distinctive LED running lights, as well as the bold indent running down the flanks, to maintain a more conversation design.

The new Sports Coupe model will be built on the same rear-wheel-drive platform as the next generation Lexus GS. It will get a new plug-in hybrid set-up featuring lithium-ion batteries, and will be offered with a manual gearbox. It will be easily recognized as a Prius, but it will feature a more conservative design and a sportier appearance. The new Prius SUV will also be arriving and will be based off of the Toyota RAV4. It will come with either the latest Hybrid Synergy Drive set-up or a modified version of the future Sports Coupe’s plug-in drivetrain.

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The future of the auto industry

The future of the auto industry

Its 2011 and we’ve just seen the passing of the Geneva auto show. With that came new electric vehicles and more green cars to run around. Which is all good but what scared me is that for every good car like say the 700 hp Lamborghini avantador there comes five bad cars. Such as the new line up of the Toyota priuses or all these new odd crossovers that no one can make sense of, like the BMW X6. So what does the future hold for makers such as Porsche and us wondering if the great car brand is going to once and for all yank out the last of its roots and never be known as it once did. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that people are striving to make greener more efficient cars for us, but when you take the fun out of driving by making boring cars that are only made to get us from point A to point B, not how we get from A to B anymore. So what do you think the auto industry holds for us in the next five or ten years? Back in the 50s everyone thought that by now we would be driving cars that ran on nuclear energy. What can we expect for tomorrow?

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Gas prices on the rise; What are our options?

Gas prices on the rise; What are our options?

Throughout the past several weeks the economy of the United States and other large importers of oil have struggled to maintain positive amidst the turmoil in the middle-east. Civil unrest and pressure have led to a decrease in oil production and increase in the price for a single barrel. We have seen prices reach the $100 mark and beyond, and there are no signs of a ceiling.

These two year highs for the price of crude oil have led to OPEC releasing more supplies from our reserves, but it has not quelled the price hike. California is currently suffering from the highest prices nationwide and they have reached within a cent of $4.00 per gallon for regular unleaded. This has put added strain on a struggling economic environment for many people and, if this continues, it will drag our economy further down. With cars like the Toyota Prius and other hybrids hitting the market every week, it is good to see that the manufacturers are realizing that gasoline will not be the answer to our future problems.

The major auto shows and car introductions across the world, including the biggest in the United States, Detroit, are where auto manufacturers try to sell the public hot-air. Most of the amazing and futuristic concept cars are so far on the other side of being a production possibility they might as well be alien. The recent economic climate across the world has shifted the car companies in a new direction and the consumer continues to pull them even further. People are eager for cars that are economical and exciting – most people enjoy driving, just not having to pay $4.00 per gallon to do it.

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2011 Toyota Prius c Concept

2011 Toyota Prius c Concept

Toyota has brought out the big electric guns to the Detroit Auto Show with the new Prius family, including the new Prius c Concept. With the "c" standing for "city"-centric vehicle, the new concept is a preview version of a future Prius model that aims to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive car.

Toyota hasn’t exactly offered many details on this concept, but they did confirm that it offers outstanding fuel efficiency and a surprisingly spacious interior. It will include many advanced technology features, including some offered on the current Prius. Like with all the other Prius models in the line-up, the c Concept will share the current generation Prius’ platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.

The Prius c Concept is the inspiration for an additional Prius family member that will come to market in the first half of 2012 as the most value-oriented hybrid in the U.S. market with the highest mileage of any "cordless" hybrid.

We are not exactly as thrilled about the new Prius line as Toyota is, especially with so many up and coming hybrids on the market, but it’s nice to know that Toyota isn’t going to go down easy.

That being said, head on over after the jump to catch some details on the Prius c Concept.

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2012 Toyota Prius v

2012 Toyota Prius v

The second production version added to the Toyota Prius family is the new "v" version revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. With "v" expressing the vehicle’s versatility, the new Prius v will combine the practicability of a minivan with the hybrid drivetrain of a Prius hatchback model.

The new "v" version is built on the same platform as the first Prius, but promises a 50% space increase inside its cabin. The car also has a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, all while being produced in an evolutionaryPrius design.

The car is identical to its hatchback brother: the same exterior design language, the same hybrid drive train under the hood that delivers a total of 40 mpg, and the same technology for the interior that includes an Entune multimedia system which supports mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Toyota Prius v.

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2010 Toyota Prius Plus Performance Package

2010 Toyota Prius Plus Performance Package

Automakers from all over showed up to the 2010 SEMA Show with a slew of accessories to slap on to their existing models. Jaguar has their Black Pack, Chevrolet has their Z-Spec, and now we get Toyota with their Plus Performance Package. The future Plus brand of accessories will be available in limited production beginning in April 2011. Showcasing their future line of accessories in the hybrid Prius.

The Prius Plus Performance Package features a seven-piece aerodynamic body kit that includes a uniquely styled rear diffuser, which enhances its already sleek appearance and maintains its 0.25 coefficient of drag. The aero kit also includes front and rear bumper spoilers and side skirts. The whole package is finished by race-inspired 17-inch forged wheels.

The package also includes sport-tuned lowering springs that provide a lower center of gravity, enhancing the vehicles on-road performance through quicker turn-in, enhanced steering response, and improved cornering ability. A rear sway bar is added to reduce body roll for flatter, more stable cornering and maneuverability. And of course lets not forget the "Plus" logo on both the exterior and interior.

Press release after the jump.

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2010 Toyota Prius C&A Custom Concept

2010 Toyota Prius C&A Custom Concept

It seems that this year’s SEMA Show is all about customizing hybrid models. Toyota, for example, has brought quite an impressive number of tuned Prius models to dazzle the crowds at one of the biggest tuning shows in the world. One of them is the work of the Conversions and Accessories group at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.

The Prius C&A Custom Concept features light-weight carbon fiber all the way from the front of the hybrid to the rear, including aero side skirts with vertical spoilers, front bumper and fender flares with radically large air intakes, the engine hood, roof, rear hatch, rear spoiler, rear bumper with vertical spoiler, and rear garnish. Forged wheels with aluminum aero rings set at 18-inches finishes off the exterior package.

For the interior of the Prius, the new concept offers black Alcantara simulated suede fabric on the ceiling, “A” and “B” pillars, door trim, rear seat, and console box. As for the technologies, Conversions and Accessories has placed a navigation system by DENSO that features an eco function that displays total electric motor and engine kilowatt output.

Press release after the jump.

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2011 Toyota Prius MPV Preview

2011 Toyota Prius MPV Preview

We know that Toyota is planning on creating a larger version of the Prius, the most popular hybrid in the world. We’ve seen some spy spots and some billboard photos of the hybrid MPV before, but this is the first time that we’ve gotten a good look at the new Toyota.

The good people over at autoblog.it have managed to get their hands on a photo of the Prius MPV and it appears to be a seven-passenger, three-row vehicle, or basically a minivan. It will be shown in the flesh for the first time at the Detroit Motor Show.

The website says that the new Prius MPV will get a 1.8-liter hybrid, the same as in the normal Prius. The power output might be pumped up to 138 horsepower, as it needs to cope with the larger size and weight of the much larger MPV body.

Stay tuned for more information.

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2010 Toyota Prius Generation "X"

2010 Toyota Prius Generation "X"

To mark the Prius’ ten year anniversary in the UK, Toyota GB are offering a 1000-unit, limited production run Prius that is sure to turn some heads. Hybrids are known for being notoriously uncool and bland, but Toyota is out to change mindsets in a big way. The new Prius, dubbed “Generation X” is aimed at a more style conscious buyer, who still has the environment and epic fuel consumption on their minds. The cool factor comes in the form of a sporty bodykit, comprising of new front and rear bumpers, and side skirts.

Complimenting the look are 17” multi-spoke alloys with an anthracite finish and tinted windows for more privacy. Inside, you’ll find new leather seats, complete with embossed 10th Anniversary logo, along with all the usual creature comforts of the T Spirit model (Navigation with integrated sound library, Bluetooth, rear parking monitor, Intelligent Park Assist, cruise control, smart entry and start, rain-sensing wipers and head-up display). The limited edition Generation X is available only in two colours, Pearl White and Astral black, making them easily identifiable and the most exclusive Prius models yet.

Toyota claims that even after the makeover, the fuel consumption and tax friendly features of the Prius are 100% maintained – 70.6mpg and 92g/km combined cycle consumption and CO2 emissions. So, basically there’s no downside to this special edition.

A Generation X can be yours for £26,150 ($41,500 at current exchange rates) and orders are now open, with deliveries starting in winter. We think it’s safe to say we really like the approach to making Hybrid technology more appealing, and hope to see other manufacturers follow suit.

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Toyota Prius Production Is Harmful To The Environment

Toyota Prius Production Is Harmful To The Environment

One of the debates that have been sparked by the Toyota Prius is the way it’s manufactured. Hybrid haters have long pushed on us the fact that during its total life cycle, the Prius is actually fairly damaging to the environment, according to a report in Automotive News.

Although the Prius may lead the pack in terms of fuel efficiency, the Prius actually ranked below average in all five categories related to the materials manufacturing aspect of the cycle. Most notably, the electric motors, inverters, and nickel-metal hydride batteries are the most at fault. According to Automotive News, these three components increase the emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

Toyota is aware of this and they say that they have begun working in reevaluating eight different vehicles in the Japanese market, including the Prius. The Japanese automaker hopes to put the Prius at the top of life cycle list.

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