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2007 Toyota Prius Information

2007 Toyota Prius Information

Few cars of the last decade have had the impact of the Toyota Prius hybrid. It wasn't the first hybrid vehicle to enter the U. S. market, and the first-generation Prius had a quiet reception here, as it was too small, too slow and too conservatively styled to get much attention outside the hard-core environmentalist community. In contrast, the current-generation Prius, introduced in 2004, has attained celebrity status. It's not just that it's roomier, more fuel-efficient and cleaner-burning than the original, although these are all good reasons to consider buying one. It's that this midsize hybrid hatchback looks like no other car on the market and thus allows its driver to make a personal and political statement. Add in the ability to drive a Prius solo in the carpool lane in California, its biggest market, and it's clear the 2007 Toyota Prius will continue to sell in brisk numbers. The heart of the original Toyota hybrid car is a gas-electric drivetrain the company calls Hybrid Synergy Drive. In the Toyota Prius, the setup consists of a 1. 5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric-drive motor that draws power from a nickel-metal hydride battery pack (mounted under the car's rear hatch area) -- together they make 110 hp. A second electric motor functions solely as a generator, recharging the batteries. The primary electric-drive motor can also rejuice the batteries, using energy recaptured during braking.

It sounds complicated, but a simplified continuously variable transmission (CVT) deftly shuffles power between the sources, providing smooth, seamless operation from the Prius driver's point of view. The Prius' claim to fame is its ability to operate under electric power alone at low speeds, which contributes to its low fuel consumption. With a combined EPA rating of 55 mpg, this is the most fuel-efficient car on sale in the U. S. for 2007. As technologically sophisticated as the Toyota Prius is, it's a remarkably practical car to drive on a day-to-day basis. Its interior is spacious enough to accommodate a family of four in comfort, and a tight turning radius combined with light, electric-assist steering makes it extremely easy to maneuver in crowded urban areas. The one thing the Prius doesn't offer is excitement, as its frugal drivetrain and modest handling capability make it one of the most tepid midsize cars on the road. This likely explains the introduction of the '07 Prius Touring model, which should provide slightly crisper handling along with a sportier look. If you're shopping for a Prius, you should also consider the similarly priced Honda Civic Hybrid. Its acceleration is equally pokey but it has better road manners and more mainstream styling. For those who can spend a bit more, Toyota's own Camry Hybrid offers a larger interior and all the comforts of a regular Camry.

If you want to wear your green commitment on your sleeve, though, there's no better choice for a hybrid car than the 2007 Toyota Prius.
Click image for high-res gallery of the 2007 Toyota Prius Touring Regarding Toyota's poster child for "green" motoring, I had never really been a fan and I'm as guilty as anyone of taking the occasional swipe at the petro-lectro hatch. Hey, it's an easy target. With some followers who see it as a kind of four-wheeled Messiah capable of preventing the sky from falling, it's easy to look at the Prius, roll your eyes, and scoff at the hyperbolic ridiculousness that is "Prius Culture. " I had done all these things. Call me a hater. I don't mind. To top things off, I had never even driven a Prius. So I asked Toyota for one, figuring that if I was going to continue being a smartass, I might as well be an informed one. %Gallery-10835% All photos Copyright 2007 Alex N ez / Weblogs, Inc. In case you hadn't guessed already, I'm not someone who loses sleep over global warming (man-made, natural, imaginary or whatever). I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, nor do I care who killed the electric car. While there's no shortage of folks who look at the Prius as a quasi-religious socio-political icon, there are plenty more who are happy to cut through all that BS and just appreciate the car for its practical nature and "gee-whiz" appeal.

Clean (it's a PZEV), economical motoring in a usable, innovative package is the Prius' basic mission -- a fact that's lost in the din of the hype machine. Its hybrid system is designed for effortless, everyday use by anyone, even if you're more interested in saving a few bucks at the pump than saving the planet. I can relate to the former group, no problem. As potential Prius drivers go, I'm probably a good candidate. I have a 60-mile round-trip commute (i. e. 30 each way) that's mostly highway, yet still plays to the Prius' strengths. How so? Well, I don't live in Utopia. I live in Fairfield County, CT, which is home to a lot of fellow commuters. During rush hour, we all get together on I-95 or the Merritt and stare at one another in seemingly endless stop-and-go traffic. The entrance ramps ought to have signs saying, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. " As miserable as the conditions can be, however, the Prius welcomes them with open arms. In fact, it welcomes you with open arms, too. That aerodynamically optimized Easter egg shape won't win many beauty contests (though I did like the Seaside pearl finish), but it hides within it a roomy midsizer that's well-equipped to carry four or five people in comfort.

Headroom in both seating rows is ample, and passengers have a good amount of space in which to stretch their legs. In fact, the Prius' 38. 6 inches of rear seat legroom is more than you get in the Toyota Camry, Saturn Aura, and Ford Fusion. Staying in the family, the Prius' front seat passengers have a little more legroom than Camry riders, as well. There's There are hybrids and there are mild hybrids. The Bush administrationвs Environmental Protection Agency has proposed rules for states that would exclude the mild ones from high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, says the Hybrid Owners of America. If you have a 2004 to 2007 Toyota Prius, youвre in the HOV. Same with the 2006-2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 2006-2007 Lexus RX 400h, 2006 Mazda Tribute Hybrid, 2005-2007 Ford Escape and 2006-2007 Mercury Mariner hybrids, 2003-2007 Honda Civic Hybrid, 2003-2006 Honda Insight, and 2005 and 2007 Honda Accord Hybrid, leaving out the Lexus GS 450h and Saturn Vue Green Line hybrids. Heck, by 2020, the HOV lane will be jammed with Toyotas, anyway. Thatвs the year hybrids will be the base engine on all Toyota Motor Company products, says powertrain veep Masatami Takimoto. By 2010, Toyotaвs profit margin on hybrid-powered cars will be equal to that on conventionally powered cars. Perhaps the EPA should recommend HOV status by fuel economy instead of powertrain technology.

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