Senin, 12 Januari 2009

2010 Prius has tough act to follow

The 2010 Toyota Prius may have the toughest act to follow of any car in this century

The smaller Prius it replaces became the symbol for the whole class of hybrid vehicles and an emblem for environmental responsibility and fuel efficiency.

Toyota hopes to sell 400,000 of the vehicles by 2010, putting Prius sales at the level of the Toyota Camry, the nation’s best-selling passenger car. Consumers bought 436,617 Camrys last year.

During its unveiling, a silver 2010 Prius drove up the aisle of the Riverview Ballroom at Cobo Center.

Toyota promises that the new Prius will score an EPA rating of 50 m.p.g. in combined city and highway driving, up from a combined EPA figure of 46 m.p.g. for the current model.

Bob Carter, general manager of the Toyota division, said it will be “the highest mileage car sold in America.”

The 2010 Prius is 0.6 inches longer and 0.8 inches wider than the previous model. Toyota promises increased cargo space in the hatchback due to a redesigned cooling system for the hybrid’s batteries. Rear legroom increases slightly because of redesigned front seatbacks.

The Prius’ looks remain instantly recognizable, but Toyota created a more wedgy shape by moving the highest point in the roof 3.9 inches aft. A new grille features a big, unmistakable Toyota badge.

In addition to its hybrid system, the Prius adds new features including adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system.

As an option, Toyota plans to offer a solar sun roof that automatically powers the ventilation system on hot days. It allows fresh air to circulate in the vehicle to cool down the cabin, Carter said. The air conditioning won't have to work as hard and cuts back on battery use.

Toyota expects sales in the first full calendar year to reach 180,000 units.