Tag: Prius

By on June 3, 2019

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e blue - Image: Toyota

The proliferation of hybrid vehicles has relegated the venerable, once-dominant Toyota Prius to a lesser plane of influence. This isn’t breaking news, as Toyota has seen the volume of its Prius family slide since 2012, falling below the six-figure mark last year for the first time in 14 years. Volume in 2018 was less than half of the number sold just six years earlier.

Still, the model’s decline stings. As May sales numbers roll in, the former darling of the green crowd finds itself outpaced even by a Ford sedan with no future. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

On Wednesday, Toyota announced plans to offer royalty-free access to its cache of hybrid technology patents. While the automaker already licenses aspects of its Hybrid Synergy Drive to other automakers, the new strategy seeks to drastically expand the use of its systems as the world gears up for widespread electrification.

Toyota, cautious as ever, has been understandably hesitant to throw itself headlong into costly BEV development programs. It did have the foresight, however, to jump into hybrid technology earlier than most other manufacturers, and doesn’t want to see that edge lost as battery-only vehicles grow in popularity. Providing open access to the nearly 24,000 patents on hardware used in the Prius and Mirai could help the company stack the deck in its favor.  (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2018

While an inarguable success for Toyota, the Prius lost considerable clout through some odd styling decisions, a market trending toward crossovers, and smug owners who put a sour taste in everyone else’s mouth. I was never really a fan of the model, but I appreciated what it offered — outstanding economy, sufficient utility, and rather good comfort (especially in the current generation) for a reasonable price.

Hoping to reach new customers living in the snowbelt and restore some of its lost groove, Toyota has updated the Prius and will begin offering the model with all-wheel drive. Well, I say “all-wheel drive,” but things are a little more complicated than that.

The 2019 Prius AWD-e utilizes a small, magnetless motor to drive the rear wheels, while keeping the aft axle completely independent from the existing 1.8-liter hybrid system and its own pair of motor/generators. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to explore the new system in the wintry wilds of Wisconsin to see if it’s any good.

(Read More…)

By on May 14, 2018

All-new 2019 Honda Insight

The first-generation Honda Insight was a rare false-start for the company, marketed as a hatchback that had more doors than seats (three and two, respectively). Its atomic-egg styling enveloped a 67 horsepower 1.0-liter gasoline engine paired to a 10kW electric motor. The second-gen model, a more conventional car in terms of its styling and capacity, also fell a bit flat compared to the segment-leading Prius.

Honda’s betting the third time’s the charm, kicking off the mass production start of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight today at its plant in Indiana. Will this Insight electrify buyers or fizzle out? At first glance, it would at least appear they’ve got the styling right this time. Not everyone wants to shout that they’re driving a hybrid.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

Toyota logo dealership sign

Toyota, one of the original purveyors of hybrids, has recognized the need to juice its EV profile. Chevrolet, Nissan, and a bevy of other automakers already have an answer for customers looking to totally shun gas stations. Toyota does not.

The plan, unveiled Monday in Japan, calls for “more than ten” all-electric Toyota cars to be available worldwide by the early 2020s. This is quite a jump for a company that’s experienced in hybrids and PHEVs, but doesn’t currently offer a single example of EV technology here in America.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2017

2018 Toyota C-HR front LA: image - toyota

Late last week, Toyota announced it will conduct separate U.S. safety recalls of around 28,600 C-HR crossovers from the 2018 model year and approximately 39,900 Prius Plug-in Hybrids from 2012-2015.

For the affected C-HRs, there’s a possibility that the electronic parking brake might not operate properly. Toyota claims there is a chance the parking brake won’t disengage after it is applied. There is also a chance the faulty electronics might prevent it from being applied in the first place, which is a little more serious. In addition to creating a possible rollaway risk in certain situations, the automaker says it would be in noncompliance with a federal safety standards. (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2017

2017 Toyota Prius Prime white front quarter

Like it or not, bias is always going to be a concern whenever consuming any sort of media. Efforts can be made to present fair and balanced reporting on any issue, but the problem is, quite simply, that news organizations are made up of people who hold their own opinions. The best way the reader/listener/viewer can navigate the bias is to know what those biases are, and account for them.

Let me be clear – I’m biased against the Prius. Nearly two decades of negative reinforcement about the Prius and Prius drivers have hardened a dislike of the little wedge that promises nothing but slow driving in the left lane. Minimal performance and a focus on fuel economy above nearly all else is foreign to those of us who truly enjoy driving.

Thus, I dreaded the arrival of this 2017 Toyota Prius Prime to my driveway, worrying that I might doze off from sheer boredom during my commute. When I saw the white paint applied to the vehicle’s sharply-angled flanks, I was further concerned about the appliance-like nature of this plug-in people hauler.

(Read More…)

By on July 25, 2017

2018 Toyota Prius C - Image: Toyota.comIt started last year. Toyota, in concert with upgrading the Prius C with Toyota Safety Sense C added a matte black bodykit to the lower portions of the 2017 Prius C.

But for 2018, the Toyota Prius C is a veritable off-roader — a Rubicon-rolling, 4×4 river-fording FJ Cruiser successor.

The 2018 Prius C’s black cladding reaches up and around the wheel arches, and that cladding is interrupted at the Prius C’s chin by skidplate-aping metallic accents, heaven forfend. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2017

2017 Toyota Prius

Attentive readers will have, by now, recognized that my automotive choices tend to run towards the, shall we say, flamboyant side. Our family daily is an inky-black Dodge Charger with a vanity plate which is guaranteed to enrage bumper-ogling Methodists. New, oversized rims are scheduled to be fitted the minute all this snow goes away. Meanwhile, the Ram 1500 with which the Charger shares driveway space is painted Look-At-Me Red, accented garishly nicely with chrome 20-inch rims. I drove a Lincoln Mark VII with an uncorked exhaust for many years. My neighbours love me.

So what am I doing in a Prius when my tastes tilt to the extrovert end of the spectrum? Well, it’s always fun to see how the other half lives, and in this case, I wanted to see how the thing would fare on a 1,000-mile journey in the dead of winter.

(Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

2016 Toyota Prius - Image: Toyota

2017 will be the fifth consecutive year of U.S. year-over-year sales decline for the venerable Toyota Prius.

The core member of the four-pronged Prius lineup — this non-Prime liftback — was once a seemingly unstoppable presence in America. Annual volume shot beyond 100,000 units in 2005 and rose to an all-time high of 181,221 sales in 2007.

But America’s post-recession enjoyment of lower fuel prices and an accompanying turn to SUVs and crossovers (plus a measure of distaste for the current model’s egregious exterior styling) led to a 98,866-unit U.S. sales result in 2016, a 12-year low for the Prius.

2017 will be worse. “We’re going to follow the market,” Toyota Motor Sales USA’s vice president for automotive operations, Bob Carter, told Wards Auto.

What’s that mean? (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2016

New York City's Department of Transportation fleet of Toyota Prius, Manhattan, NYC., Image: By Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter writes:

I drive a 2010 Toyota Prius. From top to bottom, I’m thoroughly impressed by the technology in this car. And yet this engineering marvel is so easily disabled by its inferior owner leaving a dome light on overnight and draining the 12V battery.

Is there any technical reason cars allow the 12V battery to be drained down beyond the point where the car will start? Who needs that extra 6 hours of dome lighting?

(Read More…)

By on June 21, 2016

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE

The overwhelming majority of mileage I accumulated in manufacturer-supplied test cars in May was spent in direct hybrid rivals from Ford and Toyota.

The 2016 Ford C-Max SE, Ford’s base model, visited for one week. Then following a stretch in the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, a base version of Toyota’s new, fourth-generation Prius was dropped off for an extended stretch.

I’ll take the C-Max, thanks.

Scratch that. I’ll take the Golf R.

But if left to choose between the dedicated hybrids from Ford and Toyota, the C-Max is the one I’d have. So why do car buyers plug their ears when they hear such a recommendation? (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2016

2016_Toyota_Prius_001_2452A99B7A0DE853E9CCBFC12E5E78A937FFFBE2

It’s easy to understand Toyota’s enthusiasm for selling 9 million hybrids worldwide since 1997. (Well, 9.014 million, but who’s counting?)

After all, have you sold 9.014 million hybrids? Don’t lie. You haven’t.

Toyota’s announcement comes as the world’s largest automaker accepts a challenge (from itself) to bring the total number of hybrid models sold to 15 million by 2020. It will do that by introducing more hybrid versions of its vehicles, then selling — it hopes — 1.5 million of them each year. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2016

2016 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron Exterior Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Emissions legislation politics is a hairy subject at the company holiday party. But there are some unexpected benefits regardless of your take on California’s ZEV mandate or the EPA’s CAFE standards.

Without this legislation we may never have seen Audi’s smallest station wagon return to America. Yep, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid comes in the form of a small hatchback-cum-station-wagon. That means if you want an Audi plug-in, a compact wagon is in your future. If you want a compact wagon, you aren’t going to get one without a plug.

Fortunately, the Audi in question is the tasty new A3 Sportback E-tron.

(Read More…)

By on March 15, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius

Toyota is hoping to break the internet with an alluring butt shot of an upcoming Prius variant.

That, a new guy will turn around Lada (again), Buick says you’ll never drive an Avista, the second GM ignition trial begins, and Google’s got its eye out for buses … after the break!

(Read More…)

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