The system enables the Prius to get one of the best fuel-efficiency ratings ever--48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway, according to the EPA. Prius is also certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) and as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). As such, it may qualify for tax incentives as well as parking or carpool lane privileges, depending on the locality.
Inside, the Prius is considerably roomier than you might expect given its compact exterior dimensions and aerodynamic five-door liftback shape, but with 96.2 cubic feet of passenger room, it's classified as a mid-size car. The Prius has room for five, with a roomy back seat and 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Rear seatbacks can be folded forward for expanded cargo capacity. The instrument panel is especially attention-getting, with a display screen that monitors the hybrid system and a small fingertip shift lever replacing a conventional shift knob.
The Prius is better equipped than many other frugal sedans. Automatic climate control, a six-speaker CD sound system, power side mirrors and power windows and locks are standard.
Major options include leather seating, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, a Smart Key entry/ignition system, a voice-activated navigation system, an upgraded JBL audio system that includes nine speakers, a CD changer, a Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, an input jack and MP3 capability.
The Touring Edition brings a sportier feel to the Prius. The model includes a "European-tuned" suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, HID headlamps and integrated fog lamps.
Anti-lock brakes with brake assist are standard, as are front seat-mounted side airbags, along with side-curtain bags for all outboard occupants. Vehicle stability control, which can help retain control on slippery roads or in quick emergency maneuvers, is available as an option.