A description, specifications, standard and optional features, and a crash course in Toyota's hybrid technology for the 2005 Toyota Prius. The Prius is available in only one trim level.
The Toyota Prius is a hybrid mid-size family sedan hatchback. This four door vehicle comfortably holds four adults. The hybrid drivetrian uses a small gas engine coupled with two electric motors for power. The result is lower emission and lower fuel usage. Depending upon engine load, both the electric motors and gas engine might be used simultaneously or they might alternate. Additionally, during stop-and-go traffic, the vehicle may be running entirely on the electric motors.
The only available engine is a 1.5-liter gasoline powered engine with two electric motor/generators. The gas engine produces 76 hp and 82 lb-ft of torque; the electric motors produce 67 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Net horsepower is 110; the difference in expected net horsepower occurs because the two power systems peak at different times.
The Prius features a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), also known as a power split device. The feel is the same as the 'normal' transmissions we are all accustomed to. The difference is the two electric motors work with the engine through a planetary gearset that doesn't use gears, drive belts, a torque converter, or a clutch.
A regenerative braking system recharges the car's batteries as the driver brakes. The system does so by converting the energy normally lost as heat when braking into electricity. The Prius has an automatic climate control system running entirely on electricity. This means it works even when the gas engine is not available. Furthermore, a humidity sensor combined with 'smart' programming activate the A/C compressor only when necessary.
According to Edmunds.com, www.edmunds.com, the fuel mileage may be rated at 60 mpg for the city and 51 on the highway, but actual real-world test indicate the fuel mileage to be in mid-40s. Maximum cargo space is 16.1 cubic feet (about the same as the Camry's.)
Base MSRP for the Toyota Prius starts at $21,815.
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