The 2010 Toyota Prius is powered by Toyota's advanced gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combines with a pair of electric motors (one for propulsion, the other an electrical systems generator) through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The result is a total system output of 134 horsepower. The most important number, however, is fuel economy. The EPA estimates the 2010 Prius will return 51 mpg city/48 highway and 50 mpg combined. That's the best fuel efficiency of any mass-market vehicle sold with an internal combustion engine.
The 2010 Toyota Prius retains its hyper-quiet cabin, made possible by its part-time electric motivation and plenty of sound-deadening materials. The ride is also quite comfortable, and for 2010, the Prius' structure is tauter, resulting in a less flimsy feel when the car is driven over road imperfections. Another pleasant improvement is the electric steering system, which feels more substantial and better connected to the front tires while still being user-friendly in parking lots.
The 2010 Prius interior features straightforward climate and audio controls that jut out toward the driver in a "floating console" that provides a storage area underneath. This is an improvement over the convoluted touchscreen controls of the old Prius. In terms of versatility, though, the Prius is still a champ. The hatchback body style provides more cargo capacity than a typical midsize sedan, while its backseat provides lots of space.
Standard equipment on Prius III includes 15-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless ignition/entry, auto on/off headlights, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-telescoping steering column, a hybrid system display and a six-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack, bluetooth music streaming and an eight-speaker upgraded stereo with six-CD changer.
Every 2010 Toyota Prius comes standard with antilock disc brakes (the old car had rear drums), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.