Video: First Detailed Look at 2010 Toyota Prius

On January 12, 2009, Toyota unveiled the 2010 Toyota Prius to journalists at the Detroit Auto Show. That night, Toyota threw a party for 50 of the world’s biggest Prius fans, who took their first look at the third-generation 2010 Toyota Prius.

The Prius fans literally threw themselves at the vehicle, testing each feature, crawling underneath, and heaping praise on the new design. The event provided the first chance to check out the 2010 Toyota Prius’s new driver features, including the moonroof with solar panels, “EV” and “Eco” buttons, and improved ergonomics.

Toyota’s party to unveil the third-generation 2010 Toyota Prius to 50 of the world’s most hardcore Prius fans.

Consumer research shows that Prius drivers are among the most loyal car owners in the auto market. Customer satisfaction and “intent to buy” ranks in the high 90 percent range, and nearly one in three Prius owners buys another Prius.

Hybrid critics cast doubt on the off-the-charts satisfaction levels—for a vehicle that some view as unattractive—describing the devotion to the quintessential green car as vanity and smugness.

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  • darelldd

    Yay! Lots of fun to re-live the moment. I especially like the inclusion of my support of gasoline vehicles. 😉

  • TonyPSchaefer

    I wouldn’t say “50 of the world’s biggest Prius fans.” After all, some of us are little guys! 🙂

    Talk about heaping praise on the 2010 Prius, it’s a technological wonder. In some ways, it’s a repeat of the 2004: there are features and designs that are not yet seen in $20-$30 vehicles. Many of the features of the 2010 provide proof that Toyota watches the internet forums and listen to what we say. Some of the new layout seems simply natural. Now granted, change is always a little difficcult and it’ll take me a little while to get accustomed to having the MFD integrated in the digital heads-up dashboard, but i’m pretty sure I’ll get over it.

    And for the record, I was not the one who removed the backseat. The wheels covers, cargo cover, and a few other things, perhaps.

  • ericbecky

    The new Prius is a niiiiccceee vehicle. It has more technological amenities than just about any car out there. It is definitely more spacious as well. It was clear that Toyota took into consideration feedback they have heard from their existing customers. All I can say is WOW! Way to go Toyota!

  • HTMLSpinnr (Rick J.)

    Very nice first view of a completely awesome event. Toyota pulled out the stops on this event, and made each one of us feel welcome to check out the car. This was a huge nod to us Prius Fans, which without our advocacy, I fear this car wouldn’t be as successful as it is today.

    The cars themselves must be seen in person to truly appreciate the details of each improvement Toyota has made over the previous generation.

    Looking forward to more video from the event!

  • HF_Linda

    It’s obvious that Toyota has been listening to people’s wish lists since the Classic Prius debuted for the 2001 model year–from power seats to a sunroof, it’s all here, now. Fabulous!

  • Bryce

    Ah…..the interior…..bleh……well……you all know what I would say… I will leave it at that.

  • Need2Change

    I wasn’t there — but I wish I was. Very impressive!!

  • sean t


    I know what you want to say. Just the normal stuff.

  • bill cosworth

    eugly eugly and more eugly

    and no real improvement in gas millage

  • cindy

    yawn. This cite is always a toyota advert. I am so tired of cheap toyota tin foil cars.

    This car is not even made in the usa. So lets help put americans out of work.

  • sean t

    It looks like bill and cindy always post in pair : )
    cindy, if you think this cite (sic) is always a toyota advert, don’t come here. Simple. You may love
    The Product gurus of american car companies help put americans out of work with their great vision, no one else.

  • AP

    sean t,

    Toyota’s vision is much better: plan on selling 500,000 Tundras/Sequioas per year to subsidize Prii, tool up plant in Mississippi halfway to make them (after receiving millions of dollars in tax abatements), mothball the plant when gas-guzzling truck market thwarts plans, change Mississippi to Highlanders, oops, no, to Prii, get halfway-tooled to make Prii in Mississippi, oops, not enough profits to subsidize Prii, shelve Mississippi plant and keep importing 100% of Prii to keep more important workers (japanese) employed, and continue to extract dollars from the American market.

    Great vision. They really need to have more say in our country’s business.

  • bwilson4web

    The new Prius introduces a larger, 1.8L Atkinson engine; 20% reduction in transaxle drag; exhaust heat recovery; cooled exhaust recirculation and; dual variable valves. Together, these changes give a 10% mileage improvement in what was already the highest mileage family sedan.

    The larger 1.8L engine shaves a second off of the 0-60 mph time to 9.8 seconds. But it also lets the engine turn slower and stay efficient and quieter over a wider range of cruising speeds–more power for less fuel.

    The reduction in transaxle drag comes from elimination of the internal silent chain and pressure lubrication. This means oil is used where needed and power is not lost from gears stirring a pool of oil in older automatic transmissions. The new gears make the transaxle smaller and the motors more powerful.

    Exhaust heat recovery taps the 1/3d of energy lost out the exhaust pipe to rapidly warm up the engine. This warms up the car into hybrid mode quickly and provides extra cabin heat in the coldest winters without burning extra gas.

    About 10% of the intake air is replaced by cooled exhaust gas to reduce the peak combustion temperature. This allows the engine to be leaned to save gas without generating throat burning NOx pollution.

    Finally, both the intake and exhaust valve timing are computer tuned for optimum efficiency. The computer tunes the engine to provide the highest efficiency from neighborhood to high-speed, highways.

    The green I like are the dollars of change from getting 50 MPG or better and the 2010 model will make that green grow even larger. This will be especially important when gas again goes above $4/gallon. I like not having to choose between dinner or buying gas to drive home and I don’t even notice the “pretty” cars refueling in the gas stations I drive on by.

    Bob Wilson

  • Jim McMillen

    My g/f just bought her 2009 Prius in November. She wishes she could of waited but she needed a new car. Me on the other hand can wait a while for the 2010 to come out !!!

  • Dan Clemons

    I still think that hybrid’s will dominate for the next decade. Then, gas electrics will dominate where a gas engine is only used to charge the battery. Batteries will become small, more powerful, and lighter weight. In the future they will figure out how to turn heat from the engine and harness electricity from the wind flowing through the grill. I only wished the future could get here faster. I am shopping for our first Hybrid and I am going to take a serious look at the 2010 Prius and new Honda Insight. I like the all-electric mode, which is a nice improvement. I have yet to meet an owner of a Prius that did not love their car.

    Dan Clemons, Grants Pass, OR

  • Baltimore Prius Owner

    Sean T, that was by far the best slam dunk I’ve read here in a long time.

    People, you have a choice, if you don’t like what your reading, why waste the time to tell us? Think about that statement for a minute.

    Me: 2005 Prius
    My wife: 2008 Prius

    Loving every mile!

  • DaveinOlyWA

    Bigger (5 cu ft more interior space) Faster (1800 cc motor, 98 0-60 mph time) *AND* more economical (46 EPA for 2004-09 to 50 MPG overall for the 2010)

    now, it were Leno, he would be trying to make a joke out of this seemingly impossible conundrum. i did wonder why Toyota choose to make their flagship economy vehicle faster, but i see now that they only did it because they can AND STILL INCREASE THE MILEAGE!!

    if that is not a statement of what can be done if you only choose to do so, i dont know what is… cmon big 3 get your act together!!

    (obtw… how come i was not in the video)

  • RaeVynn

    It was an awesome adventure, being there!
    The new 2010 Gen 3 Prius really is a completely redesigned car, with better HP, better MPG, and a much more comfy interior. 🙂

  • AP

    Bigger engines have been used for better fuel economy for years in some applications, in domestics no less. It just sounds more impressive in Japanese.

    I remember seeing a Pontiac Bonneville some years ago with a 3.8 liter engine that had better EPA fuel economy, highway and city, than a Toyota Camry 4 cylinder. Larger engine -> same power at lower engine speed -> quieter operation and less internal aerodynamics losses.

    You have to turn off the “Japan Good/Detroit Bad” filter off occasionally. Maybe that’s how Toyota learned this trick!

  • JohnSmith

    You are making a mistake with your Pontiac Bonneville example…
    The 2005 Bonneville has 205 horsepower V6 at 20-29 mpg. That is below Toyota Camry 4-cylinder 23-33 miles per gallon. Even the 2005 Toyota Camry V6 with more horsepower at 210 gets better mileage (21-30).
    Read the facts before posting false information.

  • AP

    JohnSmith (if indeed that is your real name), did I say 2005? Hmmm, I didn’t actually say what year. I think it was around 1992. Because Toyota made no big cars back then and easily met CAFE, they didn’t even try to maximize mileage (gasp! Toyota wasn’t as green as they could have been?). The theory back then was that they tuned the vehicle for maximum smoothness, rather than mileage, since no one cared about fuel economy then (except giving it lip service). Gas was cheap.

    CAFE doesn’t encourage you to over-achieve, just reach the bare minimum (high fuel prices encourage manufacturers to maximize fuel economy to please customers – the way it should be). Both cars had automatics, by the way. Check your statements before you falsely refute them.

    For that matter, your numbers make the Bonneville look pretty darned good! A bigger car with more room, with nearly the same fuel economy. The big engine/low speed tactic does work!

  • Boom Boom

    I gotta agree with John Smith. If you base your comment on some recollection you have from 1992 (or some other year) you really need to back it up, or else you’re just blowing smoke.

    1992 Bonneville (16-26-Overall 19)
    1992 Camry 4 cyl (18-25-Overall 21)

    There was no false refutation here. Just you making stuff up and changing the argument when the facts don’t fit.

  • Samie

    Video is a bit cheesy guess like a star wars convention but thats ok…..
    While exciting to see what gets me going is not the Prius but advancing full size sedans to make hybrids more appealing to a general market. Oh I can’t say cheaper hybrid vehicles and small SUV hybrids are not important. While everyone is excited over this I’m looking at developments in the Fusion, Escape, Altima, & Insight to move more people to hybrids.

  • AP

    Boom-Boom, I didn’t change the argument, I had never said on the first post what year it was (I said “some years ago”).

    Thanks for looking up the values for 1992; that was probably about right. As for “making up stuff,” I would say instead my memory was slightly off (I was right about highway, close on the city). I just remember being shocked, seeing these two cars side by side with EPA ratings so close, even though one was much larger than the other. Wouldn’t you have been?

  • colleen butterfield

    I am driving my 2001 silver Prius, with 44,000 miles on it. I love this terrific, little car! I deliver Meals on Wheels and am 76 years old, and I fervently wish fo a new Prius! The shape of the Prius is perky, sexy, and other car companies try to copy it.

  • Ted

    OK – I like all that I read about the 2010 Prius. But has anyone driven a Prius continuiously for say 2 – 3 days on our interstates at the 70 to 75 MPH speed. If so how did it perform?

  • Ed Griffith

    Ted, I drove our 2003 first generation (2001-2003) Prius from California to Georgia like that with no problems. It has been through deserts, mountains, and several inches of snow. Once I inadvertently had her up to 85 mph because she was so quiet. The Prius gets good gas mileage on the interstates as well as in the city.

  • Vanessa

    Hi Ted, I purchased my new ’06 Prius in New Jersey and drove across the country to California (with 2 non-driving teenagers, but that’s another story altogether!) and I have to say I was mighty impressed. When I first picked up the Prius in NJ and drove back to school in New Hampshire, much like another reply, I was shocked to notice I was driving 95 mph as it was so quiet. Thankfully no troopers in sight.

    I drove from New Hampshire to Virginia then across Interstate 40 to California over 9 days at my usuall/average highway speed of 70-75 mph. The car was incredibly comfortable and ergonomic, but I’m only 5’5.” I usually get lower back pain while driving, but not in the Prius. As for handling, again I was duly impressed at the pick up and little time it took to get to 65mph, responsiveness while driving through the Smoky Mtns., rather tight turning radius and overall stability control (extra). The only complaint was being overtaken by certain truckers getting paid by the load on the interstate and feeling like I was in a tin can as the car got caught in wind drafts and shook somewhat…hard to avoid on a four lane highway and, being caught in a terrible downpour, again with wind in Tennessee. Had to exit and wait it out with almost every other driver. Overall I’d rate the experience a 9; 10 being best, but remember I was with 2 teenagers! Previous cars have been a BMW and Explorer and having taken many road trips over the years, I feel I’m a pretty fair judge of a vehicle under these circumstances. While I enjoyed driving the other cars for various reasons, the Prius is truly a joy to drive (already logged 56K miles), even if I did at one time say I would never be caught dead in 1 cuz they’re so ugly…Yes, it has grown on me, as it takes on a particular beauty when I’m in the HOV lane passing traffic, including alll the Porsches, Lexus, Lamborghinis (I do live in the “OC”!). Funny, the only thing I wanted in my ’06 was a sunroof! Of course, a 2010 isn’t an economical purchase for someone who already owns 1, given the relatively minor added mpg…but there’s that moonroof! My present conundrum, how do I transfer my priceless HOV sticker to a 2010???

  • Ed Walden

    Ted, I have owned a second gen Prius for over 4 years and I still enjoy driving it. At the present time I have 201,000 miles on it and it still runs very well. I put 50 to 60 interstate miles (usually around 75 mph) and another 30 to 35 local miles on it every day. I consistantly get between 40 and 44 mpg, the lesser of the two occuring in the winter months. I will seriously consider buying the next generation Prius when and if the present one I own finally succombs to uses and abuses I have subjected it to over the past years.
    As far as I can tell, the battery is holding up very well and I have had VERY FEW issues with this vehicle, the worst one being a leak in the rear main seal at about 108,000. Since that time,other than regularly changing the oil between 3000 and 4000 milesand the air filter when needed, I have had no problems at all and I even have the pleasure of saying that I did not need brakes until 165,000 miles!

  • AP

    Ed, I hate to say it, but I’ll bet most people wouldn’t call a rear main seal leak a “minor issue.” GM, Ford, or Chrysler would not get off so lightly.

  • BJ

    AP, you’ve been exposed by several on this site, and yet you continue to bash the Prius. One has to wonder why you continue posting. Maybe you secretly love the car. Certainly in this forum you’re not going to succeed at converting people to your point of view, so your reasons for posting do seem strange.

  • Bryce

    Well I would expect that everyone here is open to hearing varying opinions BJ (funny naame by the way) and wouldn’t resort to personal attacks in lieu of anything of substance……

    Maybe I am just dreaming though.

    In my experience driving the Prius, I found the driver interface to be a little too quirky for my taste (though some may like that) and the interior sparse. I was driving on the 17 in the hills between San Jose and Santa Cruz and the little combustion engine was giving every ounce of its energy to carry us up the hill at 50. I could tell, cuz what had been a nice quiet ride turned into a roar fest once we hit the hills. (though the hills on the 17 or no modest hills, and coupled with some twisty roads, makes for an interesting ride) This makes sense due to the small dispacement engine though and lack of transmission, so I kinda expected it. As for the interior, it was a Toyota, so I again expected that kinda, but not the quirkiness, which Toyota generally avoids, but I guess the aim was to make a statement of different-ness….inside and out. It got us from point A to point B returning good fuel economy numbers, and it has good safety ratings (that I luckily did not have to test personally on this trip) so would probably make a fine commuter if you didn’t car about looks at all…….I mean at all….completely……almost masochistically.

    Fine vehicle, bad ergonomics. but you guys know that’s my normal complaint for Toyota. Gimme a Honda/Chevy/Nissan anyday. : )

    (Hell even one of those nice new Hyundai Genesis)