2000 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
First generation: 2000-2003
While the Toyota Prius was launched in Japan in 1997, the U.S. market didn’t get the car until the year 2000. Marketed between the Toyota Echo and Toyota Corolla, the original Prius was a four-door sedan offering a column gear selection and five seats.
Due to the large traction battery located directly behind the rear seats, luggage space in the original Prius is smaller than the space found in similar-sized sedans.
The first Toyota Prius models featured a small multifunction display, which displayed information about the car’s current and past fuel consumption.
With air conditioning as standard, the original Prius was only offered in one engine specification, although it did feature an extras list - including satellite navigation and the usual trim and accessory lists found with any car.
Missing from that list however, was a tow-bar.
As with all Toyota Prii, towing with the 2000-2003 Prius is not officially sanctioned by Toyota and may -- in certain circumstances -- affect any warranty claims if (and only if) it can be proven that the tow-bar caused the fault which is being claimed for under warranty.
It is possible to fit an aftermarket tow-bar to the 2000-2003 Prius, although it will affect both the car’s handling and fuel efficiency. We’d have to advise against it, unless you absolutely have to tow something like a camping trailer, for example.
It is possible to convert an original Toyota Prius to a plug-in hybrid, but given the price of conversion and the age of any original Toyota Prius, we’d advise against converting the 2000-2003 Prius into a plug-in hybrid.
Toyota Prius Eco-Mission 99
As the oldest Prius, the Prius sedans are the most likely to undergo battery failures. However, battery failures are still relatively rare.
Even if a battery dies, the car needn’t, with batteries still available through Toyota and a number of independent garages and salvage yards.
Featuring a 1.5 liter engine producing 70 horsepower and an electric motor capable of a peak power output of 33 kilowatts, the original Prius has an official EPA approved rating of 42 mpg for city driving, and 41 mpg for highway driving.
Earlier this year, Consumer Reports took a 2002 Toyota Prius with 206,000 miles on the odometer and put it through the same tests it ran on a new Toyota Prius in 2006.
Nine years on, the car had dropped just 0.2 mpg in fuel economy, and took 0.3 seconds extra to reach 60 mph.
In other words, 9 years and 206,000 miles on, a well-maintained Prius was still as economical as the day it was driven off the dealer lot.