A red Prius driving with blurred trees and buildings in the background.

Since its inception as the world's first hybrid car in 1997, the iconic fuel-efficient Toyota Prius has employed top-notch technology to keep carbon emissions down while still preserving the joy of a powerful drive.Test drive a new Toyota Prius to get an idea of just how well this full hybrid electric liftback-in which the rear hatch is slanted and lifted upward to open-handles on the road.

As the Prius is a hybrid vehicle, it uses both an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor. The internal combustion part of hybrid drive system is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 96 horsepower. That joins forces with three major electric elements to produce a net total of 121 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. An electric motor that generates 71 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque drives the front wheels, recovers energy from the Prius's regenerative braking function and feeds it back to the nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which Toyota chose for its ability to perform well in cold weather.

Two major packages make up the bulk of the Prius's safety equipment. The Star Safety System covers the basics, such as stability and traction control and anti-lock brakes, as well as braking-focused features. Toyota Safety Sense P has more advanced tech in it, including a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist. Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Intelligent Park Assist are standalone features that make the Prius's 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shine even brighter.

Specs

       
  • Vehicle Type: 5-passenger, 4-door hybrid hatchback
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  • Engine Type: 1.8-Liter 4-cylinder aluminum block and head, double overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve VVT-i
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  • Power: 96 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
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  • Transmission: Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT)
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  • MPG: Combined/city/highway: 56/58/53 mpg

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Displayed MPG is based on applicable EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid models only) and other factors.