Hints of the Third-Generation Prius

The second-generation Toyota Prius became an instant hit when it was introduced to the U.S. market in 2003. The vehicle continues to dominate the hybrid market, making up more than half of all hybrid sales. The quintessential hybrid is past due for a redesign and technology upgrade. The first hints about the third-generation Prius are starting to emerge. After speaking with a “well-placed Toyota source,” Edmunds’s Auto Observer is reporting the following details about the next Prius:

  • The next Toyota Prius will be unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January 2009.
  • The gen-three Prius will be bigger and more powerful. The engine will grow from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters—giving a boost in horsepower from 110 to 160—and the body will be three to four inches longer and about an inch wider.
  • The combined U.S. fuel economy rating will exceed 50 mpg, by keeping the weight down to current levels and re-engineering the powertrain to extend the range of all-electric gas-free driving.
  • As previously reported, the next Prius will not offer plug-in capabilities and will continue to use nickel metal hydride batteries, rather than switching to lithium ion batteries. Also, there’s no definitive word on Toyota plans to offer the Prius in a range of models, from compact to wagon to small SUV.

For greater clarity about these details and additional information, hybrid fans will have to wait until January 2009 or hope that Toyota insiders continue to leak more about the company’s plans.


  • Dick

    I’m sure this car will be much more expensive (like $25000-40000) as they will be able to charge a premium for it.

    They should keep the current Prius the way it is and work on adding the plug-in version as well as the new lithum batteries they say they are going to have.

    They need to make the Prius more affordable for the masses, like under $20000.00 or better yet $16999.00.

    This car is not the latte drinking, birkenstock, Obama ’08 car.

    Over the road Truck drivers like me drive this car.

    I bought this car (Prius) for the gas mileage, not because it’s a green car and enviromentaly friendly. Mine is an 08 and Black like $200.00 a barrel crude oil that we will see by the end of 2008 when Hillary is President and all these pickup trucks and SUVs will be worth only scrap metal at the junk yard.

  • JohnnyT

    Oil rose from $20 to $120 so far in during the reign of Bush. Why claim that it is going to zoom up because of Hillary?

    It’s a matter of supply and demand. It has nothing to do with politicians in Washington, whether they are democratic ex-lawyers or Republican ex-layabouts.

  • uktiger

    JohnnyT, devaluation of the currency has a LOT to do with the price of oil. Politicians cause currency devaluation.

  • VaPrius

    Larger engine???? No plug in???? Why bother??? Have they forgotten why they built the Prius in the first place? Hopefully, it will be far greater than 50MPG, otherwise I’ll be the last to get one.

  • Giant

    I agree with VaPrius. This makes little sense. It’s like a mish-mash of old thinking (bigger and more powerful) mixed in with the in-vogue green thinking. I’m not impressed. I’ll wait for the pluggable.

  • ms

    w/e bill and hillary did little in their first power grab about high oil prices and vehicles epa mpg so shut up

  • Adam

    Dick Goesinya. Wow, what a clever name. Hope you didn’t strain yourself in coming up with that one. From a marketing and profitability standpoint, there already IS something in the $20k and under space – it’s called a gas-engined, non-hybrid Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit. Look at this thru the auto exec’s lenses (the ones who decide which cars we have available to buy). The fuel economy of a Yaris or Fit is excellent, but lower than the Prius, but until total ownership of hybrids goes far north of single digit percentages, economies of scale disallow a cheaper Prius. Toyota is squarely for-profit, and until that changes, we won’t see a sub $20k Prius for quite some time. Free markets and competition for profits will eventually create better and more affordable alternatives. Until then, the truth is that you’d have to at least be able to afford to be green, hence the lattes and Birks you speak of.
    Or, you can pay the $20 more per tank of gas over what it used to cost you for your truck, or $25,000 for a new car, in addition to gas. Looks like simple math to me, but you decide which choice keeps more in your pocket in the end.
    Gas in much of the world is over $8 per gallon, and the same cars can cost close to double what we pay. Keep your chin up and be happy with how much better we still have it than others. It appears from your entry you’re a Hillary supporter, so you can focus on being happy without having your personal likeability factor in your way.

  • babu flubber

    As it sits, Prius is a home run, the undisputed hybrid champ. Honda doesn’t normally sit still while Toyota hogs all the attention. I can’t wait to see what they’ve been working on. If nothing else, Toyota’s hybrid ideas are raising the bar and pushing the others to create their butts off to keep pace. If only Detroit could take a hint…

  • Need2Change

    What I’ve read is that there’ll be a second, much smaller Prius introduced in 2010. This makes sense to me. And it makes sense to slightly bump up the size of the current model. Not everyone wants a small car.

    I also concur with the US auto makers concentrating with improving the mileage of those vehicles that they traditionally sell the best: SUVs, trucks, large cars.

    Why try to go toe to toe with Prius, and probably lose, while builiding 12 mpg SUVs and trucks? And unfortunately, no one can add hybrids to every model as the same time. Not even Toyota.

    I believe that rather than offering $7,000 discounts on Ford Explorers, Ford should be installing $7000 hybrid systems in every Explorer and selling them at current MSRP.

  • Need2Change

    The bad news from this “leak” is that the 2009 model won’t be publicly displayed until January 2009. That means that it probably won’t be available for purchase until spring. They might as well call it a 2010.

  • J

    Here is the real deal… Bigger cars are what MOST Americans people want. At a youthful age depending on your demographics it is about small and sporty. Basically a fast car. The commuters want a high MPG auto. The soccer moms want a roomy car. The politicians want money and recognition. And Family people want a large car to keep their loved ones safe. So what Toyota is trying to do is appeal to a larger demographics. Look around you. Most of the autos on the road are Larger, or SUV types.
    This trend is changing because of Gas prices. An yes other countries pay 8.00 per gallon, but do they commute 45 min to work or 40+ miles a day. People say that gas does not affect the economy that much. But I payed $800 a month in gas 1 1/2 years ago, now I pay $1500 per month. I still have the same car that I had since 2004 PT and Odyssey. That affects my spending habits.
    I truly feel the auto makers are building at the wrong end. All or mostly electric is good (Volt sounds nice), but lets not forget the family of four and five. Look at the trucking industry, look at the road trip people ones who are on long hall drives, look at RV industry, look at several other avenues. If the efficiency came to the drivers who drive most. Would that not lessen the oil demand? Would that help reduce the oil consumption and force lower prices? The Green affect is mostly created by large overworked trucks (Non-Fact, opinion). Back to the first statement lets focus on the masses and build a system which can provide the long commute. Notice, currently the major incentives to sell are in the large congested areas like NY, NJ, CA (because of overpopulated cities) which only makes up 10% of auto buyers. Although a hybrid that is electric for 1-40 miles will help, lets get the bigger picture to make a true change you need to cater to more than just a handful of people. Forget not the all electric EV1, it traveled at highway speeds for 100 plus miles with 0-60 FASTER THAN Porsche 911 . That is 15 year old technology. Batteries are not the only issue, lets get it right and demand the auto world catch-up to consumer demands. I want a 3 row seating SUV to travel all electric at highway speeds for 100 miles. Now that will make an industry change.

  • chloew

    i agree with the guy infront of me, im 16 and i have a acrua and yes, im only a young adult but it is hard to pay for all of my gas going to and from my job, to and from my school thats about 40 miles a day easy. The gas prices are out of control and someone needs to do domething. we allways say america is so great and were the richest country, yes we are but we are also the most greedy country. is $4.00 a gallon really needed, back when my grandparents were my age they paid almost a dollar maybe a dollar twenty five at the most. this is outragous and someone nees to step into office and change this.

  • Anonymous

    The third generation Prius was supposed to have a lithium battery, but thermal runaway problems put that part of the new Prius on hold. However, Hymotion will probably be able to fit their “L5″ PHEV kit into the New model, creating a PHEV Prius in 2009 for a price around $37,000. Not mentioned in the article but the new Prius will have an all electric range of about 7 miles, and so with the extra 5 KWH from the kit, the AER would be about 20 miles. Also the top speed in EV mode has been increased to above 60 MPH so all those local commutes on surface streets will not even start the 1.8 liter engine.

  • Anonymous

    16 year old chloew made cracked me up! Her grandparents paid maybe $1 per gallon at most?!? Chloe, you should talk to them and find out the real number, because I’m only 32 and it was 99cents per gallon when I was your age. Thanks for the laugh.

    Back on topic, this new prius sounds pretty good to me. It’s not the holy grail we are all hoping for but it sounds like a great replacement for my Honda Civic. A little roomier and nearly twice the mpgs. The larger size and extra power will definitely get more people interested.

  • HEYWOOD YABALONEY

    when the embargo hit in the early seventies, I rember filling up at a no brand gas station for .269 a gallon. And yes, I actually did hurt myself a little coming up with the name, but I’ll get over it.

  • Rex_Snow

    This is surprising to me. I expected Toyota to make the new Prius leaps and bounds more advanced than the current one. And it really makes zero sense to develop this one without doing so if they’re not. The Prius is still selling out, and considering the fact that not only are development costs crazy expensive, but GM is looking to sell the 2-mode plug-in Saturn VUE in 2009 or 2010 and the Chevy Volt in 2010 or 2011, why realese a new Prius that can’t in any way compete with either of them. I know that I’ve read how Toyota is looking to make the new Prius cheaper, as well as more advanced with higher efficiency, but Honda is going to release their Global Small Hybrid in the same time-period. So if Toyota really changing the Prius so that it is ultimately just bigger, more powerful, with higher fuel economy, and costs less? Really?!?

    I don’t think that this is a good move for Toyota because they have definitely put themselves, and their beloved Prius, at risk of becoming just like everyone else. A market follower rather than a market leader. Without being a mass-produced plug-in hybrid with advanced lithium ion batteries, the Prius is really going to be nothing new. Their main-competitors (GM and Honda) are going to put out advanced tech that either make the Prius look like a Neanderthal and no solution to the oil problem (GM), or like just a bigger car with less fuel economy and a higher price (Honda). Either way, it will nonetheless sell, but will really just be riding the coattails of the second-gen Prius’ success, which will become ever more lackluster as the days drag on.

  • NewMexican

    I wouldn’t pin any hopes on the forthcoming domestic offerings. GM will soon be begging the government for bailout money because if the Volt is anything like their current hybrid offerings, then need I say more? The Prius’ current design will be growing stale in Toyota’s current model cycle. They typically update their models even if slightly to keep them current. While it may not be the technological leap forward for we were hoping to see, Toyota is working on improving their technolgy and as far as I see it, they are the only game in town. The others have yet to offer products that are relevant and reliable.

  • Anonymous

    Johnny T:

    “Oil rose from $20 to $120 so far in during the reign of Bush. Why claim that it is going to zoom up because of Hillary?”

    There’s no real secret or mystery to how gas prices move. Bush advocated (and to a limited extent was able to enact) policies that necessarily result in lower gas prices (relative, of course, to what they would have been without the enactment of those policies).

    In her public speeches, Hillary advocates policies that would necessarily result in higher gas prices. I don’t believe that she even denies or tries to hide it.

    Substantial increases in demand are most responsible for gas prices being higher than they were in 2000. Prices increased during that time by around 140%. More aggressively mitigating policies on the part of the Bush administration might have limited that increase to 100% or so (just to cite a number). Forgoing those policies that were enacted would have resulted in a higher increase, perhaps 200% or more. And enacting the generally opposite policies favored by Clinton and the democrats would have resulted in an increase that was greater still.

    It’s complicated in that there are a number of contributing factors. But individual policies, provided they’re reasonably well defined such as reducing demand by encouraging more efficient vehicles (which Bush was able to eventually accomplish), or increasing supply by expanding domestic production (which he was not), can be assessed with a rather high degree of certainty as to at least in what direction they would have driven gas prices. Increase supply or reduce demand, and you lower prices. Increase demand, reduce supply, or increase taxes, (one or more of which figure into just about all democratic proposals), and you’re going to drive up prices.

  • Rex_Snow

    Cute use of that political tactic, especially since this is not a political site: Say whatever you want, regardless of what it is, use no citations, or even facts, and just attribute good this and bad that and hope everyone will listen to you because they have no reason not to. After all, you are talking. Yes, more demand equals higher prices: that’s called inflation. More demand with more supply would equal stable prices, or disinflation. But more demand with less supply is called hyperinflation, that’s our situation. It’s clear that you’re biased towards the Bush Administration, but they’re responsible for preventing hyperinflation, and they have failed, just like everything else they’ve tried so far. I like Clinton and support her candidacy for President, but I think it is essential to point out that any attempt to simply make gasoline cheaper, as if through magic or a ridiculously ill-advised tax break, is utter stupidity. It will just lead to higher prices. McCain has stated that idea too, and I thought it was the dumbest thing a Republican other than GW Bush had ever thought of. And yes I think Clinton following that idea, after knowing how bad it is, is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of a Democrat doing in quite a while.

  • Joseph Poliakon

    This not-so-sweet *hint* and whiff of marketer flatulence escaping out from underneath the Toyota Marketing tent is disconcerting to this fuel-economy pursuing and demanding hybrid driver-owner-buyer. I own a 2007 2G/Gen-Two Prius that currently delivers 60+/- MPG when driven by me. I was looking forward to rolling it over into a 75+/- MPG 3G/Gen-Three Prius, when they hit the streets in Model Year 2010. Since barrels of oil will likely be ~$200 and gasoline ~$10 per gallon in 2010, I was looking forward to the 75-85 MPG Prius 3G (i.e. the Japanese 10.15 Mode Fuel Cycle Test “100 MPG” 3G Prius).

    Clearly, the automotive engineers at Toyota have lost control of the fuel-economy design direction of the fuel-sipping Prius to the marketing suits in the corner office who brought us the Touring Edition Prius.

    Calling the Toyota Prius described in the article a Gen-Three Prius is classic, old school *smoke, mirrors and spinning red wheels* from Toyota Marketing. It is the tried-and-true, classic marketing ploy of making the chassis bigger and putting in a larger displacement ICE while continuing to use old Ni-MH traction battery technology and seeming to bump up the fuel economy by 4+ MPG and jacking up the MSRP. The 4+ MPG gain in the U.S. fuel economy rating to make it exceed 50 mpg, is not a result of Gen-Three hybrid engineering, but rather a result of the expanding the size of the current technology NiMH battery array and *tweaking* the HSD software to extend the range and upper permissible speed when driving in the all-electric gas-free EV-Mode.

    Unveiling a larger-bodied, up-displacement ICE-powered 50+ EPA MPG hybrid car without new Li-Ion traction battery technology at the Detroit auto show in January 2009 will not a Third Generation Prius make. It will just be a bigger-bodied, larger ICE-powered Gen-Two HSD-Controlled Prius with a Model Year 2010 sign in front of it on the rotating floor display.

    While I prefer Toyota’s HSD hybrid control system to Honda’s IMA, with Honda promising a new, extremely High-MPG offering in Model Year 2010, I may have to switch horses and go to Honda to get my 75 MPG-FE or, dread the thought, even to GM’s Volt.

  • Justin

    I have no problem with there being a Prius with 160 hp. I just wish it was like with other cars, a certain model. If they would have a 120 hp model and a 160 hp model, I would be much happier with them.

    Now, let’s say they are offering both of those and the following year release two more models; a small car and a wagon. The small car would have around 90 hp and the wagon around 160 hp. This would cover the majority of the different drivers in the world.

    If this was the situation, I believe everyone would be fine with it. I guess we should sit back and see where Toyota takes us. One thing everyone needs to remember, the Prius is THE hybrid that has delivered. There are others, but they come up short in one way or another.

    One more thing. When they say exceed 50mpg, one shouldn’t assume that it will only be 50mpg. It may only be, but it seems like comments in the past were that it would be back at 55mpg. Let’s see what happens.

  • David Cabral

    Mr. Poliakon:
    If you bought a 2007 Prius, why are you already looking to buy a newer Prius? Just keep your current Prius for 10 years! Don’t worry about Prius offerings in 2009 or 2010.
    My rule of thumb is to keep cars until they are 10 years old or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first. I just traded in my 1998 Toyota Camry with 234,000 miles for a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid with 45,000 miles. I won’t worry about what hybrids are offered until 2015. Don’t wast your $$$ trading in every year! Think of the money you lose to depreciation. By holding to a car for 9 or 10 years, you minimize your depreciation loss.

  • Anonymous

    this car rocks!!!!!!!!;)

  • Anonymous

    it looks like an old grandma car

  • Anonymous

    Politicians have a lot to do with it. All the NIMBY types that won’t allow drilling off the coast of California or Florida (the Cubans have started to) or in ANWAR or a lot of other places where we have proven reserves, nor will they allow new refineries, or atomic power plants, or windmills off the coasts within sight of land or adiquately fund clean coal research or any of a long list of things that would reduce dependency on foreign oil. Obviously the loose fiscal policy that has led to the devaluation of the dollar has a lot to do with it too, along with the increased world demand created by the rapid economic growth of China and India. When the NiMH battery finally wears our, I’ll look seriously at converting it to a PEHV with Lithium batteries. We could do all our in town erands without using the gas.

  • Joseph Poliakon

    David Cabral — Your advice is sound. I used to give the very same advice out regularly. For many decades, it was my personal practice to buy my cars new or nearly new, keep, and care for them for 9 or 10 years and around 150,000+/- miles. That was then this is now. I am at the stage of my life where viewing an automobile as functional consumable transportation commodity fits my lifestyle more than viewing them as fun transportation platforms and hobby centers to keep, care for and play in while extending their useable lives.

    Per my grand new consumable transportation commodity plan for my personal transportation vessels, I will be rolling over my hybrid “mit its expensive-to-replace traction battery array and quirky technology” into a new Higher-MPG hybrid with even more “expensive-to-replace traction batteries and quirky technology” when either the tires need replacing or the 36-month manufacturers warranty runs out, which ever comes first. Therefore, I will not be trading my current car in on a new hybrid car every year, but rather every three years or so.

    I never have viewed owning, operating and maintaining an automobile as an investment vehicle, so the term “wasting money” is not operative for me in this application. Any way, my Bride-For-Life and I are busily engaged in spending the inheritance of our progeny. I trust that our lil’ darlin’ will not begrudge her progenitors and the sole contributors to her DNA the pleasure and luxury of a new personal surface transportation platform for two, every couple of years or so. HAPPY HYBRID HYPERMILING

  • skotty

    Actually, this surge in oil has very little to do with supply & demand, but a lot more to do with politics and the falling dollar. As domestic investments fall (i.e., stocks and treasury bonds) a speculative surge causes oil and gold to boom. This is what we’re seeing…not a true shortage or burst in demand.

  • Ilyousha

    Needs plug-in capability – long overdue in the Prius!

  • omegaman66

    Bush wants to increase domestic production of oil. Democrats are apposed to it and have blocked it. Those are just the facts.

    Opec has capped production at its current level. Developing countries are using more oil.

    Call it biased towards Bush if you like but how about instead trying to refute the facts presented instead. Oh and you sound like you are biased AGAINST Bush!
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    Toyota took the commanding lead with the prius years ago. They sat on their hands and are not going to have to play catchup to GM!

  • omegaman66

    Should have read NOW going to have to play catchup!

  • j

    Has anyone looked at the spark-ev spark-ev.com Looks like a late 70s early 80s style car, But if it does what it says. Sorry, not totaly relevent to post.

  • john iv

    First Toyota will not raise the MSRP (currently $20,900) on the nexgen prius and they plan to increase sells to 450,000 worldwide. Second the chevy volt will cost around $30,000 MSRP and they are building 100,000 cars worldwide. Toyota is still in command and I for one will be glad to have to extra room for my “large” family of five.

  • gary

    We’ll always need pickups but your’re right about the SUV’s. They cannot be traded in; one one wants them. I guess they could make pretty storage bins on wheels.

  • Brad Garbus

    I have finally made a decision and ordered a SMART car. I did my homework and over the life of the vehicle the price is much lower, yet has all the luxury of a Mercedes… If you have questions I would be happy to answer. I spent months doing the research!

  • Downtown Guy

    geez… Bush is a nazi. how can you defend “i’ll take care of my wealthy buddies while the rest of the country goes to hell” GOP attitude? you’re the problem, you voted for him. now we’ve got the highest deficit ever and the rest of the world is pointing at us and laughing.

  • vinayababu

    Felt slightly disappointed that Prius 3 does not have the expected technological leaps like plug-in, but sure it will have many improvements.The new specifications , particularly more power and bigger size mentioned shows , Toyota is aiming primarily for the US market to improve their numbers.It is unlikely that they will increase price considerably as GM’s Volt will be their target. For a plug-in concept they should be waiting for a proven and reliable Li-ion battery system, as an equivalent NiMH battery is larger and heavier. Probably they are watching the long term results from the Hymotion L5 conversions also Recently Toyota is showing a change of heart towards their initials objections in these conversions. These may well be Toyota’s test bed also with Li-ion battery.

  • bruce

    Does not matter if you’re a democrat or,a republican.They are really the same party.Like the EV-1 before this .The sheiks and the oil tycoons have got the auto industry by the balls and they are beginning to squeeze them.Y’all think 4 bucks a gallon is hard?Try $5,6,7,even 8.Just think some guys in California made some plug -in Prius’s that still work even to this day getting 100 MPG!Ain’t it odd that a little Japanese company called Toyota can’t make one for sale that gets way better gas mileage?

  • mb

    They are increasing the engine size to create more torque which in turn will generate more mpg, the number most of us care about.

  • wooac

    More power and size isn’t what the market needs. I’m going to take a serious look at the Turbo Diesels coming out instead. This 3rd gen car looks like it was designed by a marketing department.

  • Timothy

    I think Toyota is on the right track. I understood that they would start out using the NiMH battery until they were confident that the LiON battery from Panasonic was reliable. I heard a GM representative say that the Volt is ready except for the battery on an episode of NOVA. I wish that GM would go ahead and produce the Volt with a NiMH battery and switch to LiON when they are ready. I also hope that they have a 4 door version on the drawing boards. With a family of 5, I need the versatility of a 4 door.

  • Uhura

    Here’s what I’ve gleaned from many different sources:

    The 2009 Prius will have a minor facelift.

    The 2010 Prius will be the 3rd Generation with new body, etc.

    Toyota will grow the Prius brand to 3 different models, one larger than the current model, one the same size as the current model and one smaller than the current model.

    They will also grow the Lexus Hybrid line.

    The ‘Lithium Ion Plug- in’ concept is not up to par and Toyota does not want to rush this to market and risk a literal melt down or explosion … would be very bad for the brand.

    They will perfect a plug- in hybrid and get it to market, in all their hybrid models sooner rather than later.

    Great site, keep it up !

  • Priusmaniac

    I have a Prius right now that needs a change but it won’t happen if there isn’t a plug on the new one even if I have to keep the old one for extra years.
    The leaks are not very reliable since a larger engine of 1800 cc doesn’t make sense from the moment there is a continued increase in hybridization towards more motor power, less engine power, more batteries and more EV driving. A Prius III without a plug is the perfect recipe to transform a best seller into a wet cracker. All the Prius drivers I know are waiting for the plug and won’t buy a new Prius if it doesn’t come with the plug or at least the Plug-in option.

  • just yada

    I commute to work five days a week, 50 miles round trip PER DAY, in a 31/mpg Scion tC. Love the car, as a hatchback, it’s a practical and sporty looking car for me. When researching hybrids, all I find are, NO offense to anyone, ONLY butt-ugly ‘old people’ four doors. The Prius hybrid (at least it’s a hatchback) is the ugliest thing I’ve seen since the Civic hybrid. If driving hybrid means one has to give up the looks of a coupe, maybe I’ll cut something else in the budget to keep my dignity. Just a thought.

  • Alibaba

    Where shoud i start ? u.s. car makers fell a sleep once again only producing gas guzzling vehicles and un reliable vehicles compared to foreign vehicles. the reason they are in financial trouble is buy there ignorance not to stay ahead of the competition with smaller more economical cars. instead the want to build large suv and trucks and sell $ 4000.00 naviagational systems. then now they want the u.s. or tax payers to bail them out. for us being a smart and leading nation we did not learn of the oil crisis in the 70′s and we laughed when brazil started to invest in sugar and corn to make alcohol for there vehicles to run on. today brazil is not dependent on foreign oil. they have more than enough sugar and corn to sell us to make alcohol or ethanol but the u.s. charges a tax on the importation because of our farmers that are now ripping us off with high prices and shortages of our food staples. and yes george bush and other administrations are to blame for this bush has not done nothing than profit from this and cause the situation to be worse. we should stop sticking our noses in business that does not concern us.

  • Prius on the Horizon

    My first real entry to the high MPG thingy was a 1982 Plymouth Horizon Miser which EPA’d at 40 mpg highway. I got 40 mpg and sometimes as high as 44 mpg on my hour long commute, mostly on two laners at 40-45mph. The Miser was geared to turn 30% fewer engine rpm as the regular Horizon due to the transaxle ratio of 2.7:1 instead of 3.4:1. The drivetrain was VW with a 1.7L VW 4 cyl and a 4 speed standard tranny (properly shifted and driven, way superior to an automatic and about even with the best of the CVT’s…but you have to know pulse and glide, etc., and they save your brakes) At 40 mph, the engine could just hold that speed at 1200rpm: hence 40-45mpg. That was 25 years ago…not much improvement in 25 years IMHO.

    We have a 2008 Prius (Silver and charcoal) on order and “got in” before the Toyota price increase. The wife is switching from a 15-19 mpg city/hwy 4WD/AWD SUV to the Prius. She went through $240 for premium gas in 4 weeks and she works only 2.5 miles from the house! Perfect candidate for a successful hybrid swap.

    Point of my post is this…most of the cars being sold today are geared for too many RPM at a given speed…designed in the era that it had to accelerate hard to be worthy of your $$$.

    Now with fuel costs rising fast and catching the majority in a real $$$ crunch, here is some sage advice based upon years of long commuting:

    Never exceed 1/3 of the engine rpm under any circumstances except for accident avoidance.

    Never pass unless its something really slow like farm equipment.

    The optimal speed is 40 mph with 95% of the vehicles on the road. That puts the vehicle in its highest gear while the engine turns an rpm barely above an idle. Fewer RPM is less CC’s or Cu.In. passed through the engine per minute. This saves gas.

    For most vehicles, if you are doing the freeway above 1/3 of the engine’s operating rpm, you are most certainly wasting fuel. Some cars will do 60 mph at 2000 rpm, and older pickups at 2500 rpm!!!

    Change your range of vision to at least 500 to 1000 ft ahead. Most people drive looking at the 100ft right in front of them. That helps to avoid potholes and squirrels, but 1000 ft ahead allows you to plan so you can save gas. Coast to all stops so you use a minimal amount of braking.

    Raise your tire pressure (don’t exceed maximum PSI) and reduce gradually to a level that is tolerable. Most cars have tires that are soft and waste fuel. A 20% increase above the recommended manual PSI will save gas and decrease tire wear. The car will roll and roll so you will see why you need to look 1000 ft ahead.

    Most modern cars with A/C do better at 40 mph and above with the a/c on and the windows rolled up. The aerodynamics is messed up with windows down. At 40 mph and above, most cars have HP and torque higher than needed to maintain speed and it is therefore wasted. Running a/c at a speed of 45mph generally will save gas over having the windows down due to aerodynamic improvement without using additional fuel for the a/c.

    If you must have a truck for your occupation, get one with a 5 or 6-speed transmission. Driven properly, they save gas in 5th or 6th gear and actually get into the twenties! Seen in done with a Toyota Tundra with a 6-speed. The motor will last forever and ever turning so slow.

  • cp

    I live in Austin, Texas and within the month a local TV station ran a story about the City of Austin and a test program for the plug-in Prius. They have been on the streets of Austin for a couple of years and are getting 100 miles to the gallon. The few lucky city employees that get to drive them love them and would buy one in a minute, just like most of us. Do not know how soon they will be on the market or if they ever willl be, but nice to know at least they are being tested.

  • magnaman

    OK, I don’t get it. To be fair I do not own a Prius but drive a hybrid Highlander. The milage (~30) way exceeds my old V8 4-runner (~17). Anyway, here’s my question to anybody who has an answer: What is the use of a plug-in for a vehicle that has an electric range of only 5 miles? My Highlander insists on running the engine any time its cold (I assume the Prius is the same way) which seems to be plenty of time to charge the battery in the morning. Seems like a range of 50 mi. at highway speed is what would be required to make plug-in desirable. Will Li batteries do that?

  • Raffy Long

    Nice concept. The car really looks good. The body kits were perfectly made and its body color really suits the ride. If you have this kind of ride you just Shut up and Drive.

  • Brent

    When hillary is president eh, and 200 a barrel, nope :). Sorry but you’re a poor prophet. By the way nice, Obama 08 comment, proving further rednecks who love trucks are a bunhc of biggots scared of anything but liars that their ignorance excepts without question.

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