The MSRP's for the 2006 HCH is $21,850 and for the 2005 Prius is $21,860 (It may go up a couple of hundred or two for the 2006), so there isn't a $3K difference. I compared both and chose a Prius for the size difference, it is simply just much more versatile in what you can haul, and because of the performance.

I don't think there are really any obvious ways in which one is better than the other. It all depends on what you like and are looking for in a car.

I was wondering, does the voice navigation on the HCH, does it do voice commands for other functions (like audio or a/c), like the Prius does or is it just for the navigation? In addition, there are some features, like Smart Entry Smart Start (it is really great), Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, Bluetooth, Tire Air Pressure Sensor, and HID headlights, which do make the Prius more expensive. There are also some things you might find standard on the HCH that aren't on the Prius. It just goes back to what is important to you.

In terms of economy, I think the Prius has a higher ceiling in it's capability (i.e. the recent 110mpg marathon), but for most people, the mpg numbers will be similar. The common moniker that the HCH is better for highway and the Prius is better for city is a n erroneous oversimplification.

I would suggest to anyone trying to decide between the two to test drive both of them to compare them. Or try to get both on an extended test drive to see what they are like.