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Toyota Prius (2010)
A FEBRUARY RECALL by Toyota Australia of its current model Prius hybrid is likely to impact on a vehicle struggling to win the hearts and prise open the wallets of Queenslanders.
The recall, which entails a change to the anti-lock braking (ABS) program of the vehicle's electronic control unit, was made in response to reports of inconsistent brake feel in certain road conditions when the ABS was activated.
Last year, just 348 second and third generation Prius (mostly non-private sales) were sold in Queensland compared with nearly 8000 Toyota Corollas, 7000 Mazda3s and more than 5000 Mitsubishi Lancers. While much better equipped, the third generation base model is $2500 dearer ($39,900) and the higher-spec I-Tech $6500 more ($52,000) than the second gen.
At the press of a button, there’s a choice of three driving modes: EV (electric, good for 2 km), ECO (where throttle mapping prioritises fuel economy and the airconditioning is regulated) and PWR (which, as the name suggests, delivers a power boost).
There’s no doubting Prius has ‘the smarts’ technologically and standout environment credentials but, sadly, against the best of best conventional mid-size cars, the petrol-electric hybrid is only average on ride, handling, braking, comfort, space, practicality and ergonomics. And performance – while improved, thanks to a larger 1.8-litre petrol engine and upgraded electric motor – is still short of the asking money.
Innovation, environmental credentials
Average on-road performance, space-saver spare
Three alternative driving modes, head-up information display, tilt/reach steering, cruise control, trip computer, climate control, immobiliser
Front seatbelt pretensioners, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control and dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags
||Small Over $35,000
|Price when new
|Current price range
$ - $
|ANCAP crash rating
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||1.8-litre, in-line, double overhead cam, 16-valve, 4-cyl. and permanent-magnet electric motor
||100 kW @ 6000 rpm (combined output)
||143 kW @ 4725 rpm (combined)
|Acceleration to 100 km/h
||11.2 sec (as tested)
|Braking from 80 km/h
||23.9 m (as tested)
||3.9 litres/100 km – but 5.6 as tested
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.