The heart of the Prius is its Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor. Both parts can work separately (gas or electric) or together. This technology is what make the Prius a hybrid vehicle. There is a lot more at play than just the engine and motor working together. The Smart Key system, for example, starts the Prius with the push of a button. If your battery power is low then the gas engine will start instead of the battery. However, if upon start the Prius senses that you will need a bit more power than the battery alone can provide, then it will let the gas engine take over. During normal operations the Prius will constantly monitor your drive to make sure that the most fuel efficient option is being chosen at all times and, when you stop, the gasoline engine takes a break to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Once you tap the gas pedal lightly your Prius will start moving forward using only battery power and will automatically switch to gas when it becomes necessary to do so. Drivers can also manually choose between three power modes: EV, ECO, and POWER. The EV runs your Prius solely on battery power for up to one mile, the ECO improves fuel economy, and POWER gives your driving experience a little more boost.
The 2014 Prius has extended its family to include four models: the Two, Three, Four, and Five. Model Two comes standard with auto off, projector beam halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail and stop lights, heated power outside mirrors that can fold, 15 inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and an intermittent rear window wiper. Interior amenities include automatic climate control with a dust and pollen filtration mode, a 6.1 inch touch screen display with AM/FM CD player, 6 speakers, auxiliary audio and USB ports, Bluetooth streaming, Touch Tracer Display (see safety features for more details), a multi-information display which gives you information on fuel consumption such distance to empty, average speed, trip distance, an energy monitor, and a Hybrid System Indicator.
The Three features all of the standards of the Two, with the exception of the 6.1 inch touchscreen display. However, it adds on an available options package with a power tilt/slide moonroof with a solar powered ventilation system and remote air conditioning with a sliding sunshade. Interior features include automatic climate control like the Two but it comes with an upgraded display system that includes a navigation system and the Entune App suite.
The Four kicks it up a notch with an even more upgraded audio suite with Navigation, Entune, and the JBL system that includes a 6.1 inch touch screen with an integrated backup camera and eight JBL GreenEdge speakers. Premium HDD Navigation is an available option on this model, as well as an even more updated Entune system with Bing and data services. Want a little more premium? The Four also has SofTex-trimmed front seats, multi-information display, and Bluetooth controls.
The top of the line model, the Five, is the only one in the family to include LED headlights with auto level control, auto on/off feature, and headlight cleaners. In addition it is the only Prius that has 17 inch alloy wheels. It shares the same standard and available interior features as the Four and includes the option for Dynamic Radar cruise control that is not available on any other model.
If maximum fuel economy is your top priority, you should strongly consider the Prius. According to a recent New York Times article, the consumer can start to see savings with their Prius within two years of owning the vehicle. This is based on an average annual mileage of 15,000 and gas prices below $4/gallon.
TOYOTA PRIUS SAFETY RATINGS
The 2014 Toyota Prius received ratings of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for side impact, rear crash, and roof strength and 4 out of 5 stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for rollover.
The Prius has you in mind with safety features like the Touch Tracer Display. This feature is an image of your steering wheel controls on the dash display. Whenever you touch one of your steering wheel mounted controls the button on the Touch Tracer will illuminate allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and not on the wheel.
Standard safety features include driver and front passenger advanced airbag system, tire pressure monitor system, smart stop technology, and driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, and front and rear side curtain airbags.
NOTEWORTHY ABOUT THE TOYOTA PRIUS
The Toyota Prius is certified as an Advanced Partial Zero Emission Vehicle. In terms of smart climate control, the Prius also has an optional solar roof embedded with solar panels that can circulate air in-cabin to keep your car cooled even when parked in direct sunlight. Not impressive enough? There is also an available remote air conditioning system that allows you to cool your car using your key fob from up to 30 yards away and it can run on battery power for up to three minutes.