2010 Toyota Prius - EV, Eco, and Power mode buttons

2010 Toyota Prius - EV, Eco, and Power mode buttons

What's new on the 2010 Toyota Prius? Yikes, it's easier to say what isn't new. That's pretty much restricted to the cells and modules inside the high-voltage battery pack, although even those have been reorganized for better cooling in a smaller size.

We already gave you our "2010 Toyota Prius: Everything You Need to Know" summary. But after driving the car, getting other drivers' impressions, and reading through reams of materials, here's our summary of the most important new stuff.


- Dimensions very similar to the 2009 Toyota Prius, longer and wider by less than 1 inch

- Shape similar to previous model, refined for better aerodynamics (drag coefficient reduced to 0.25, extremely low for a mass-produced vehicle)

- Blue-tinted halogen headlights, with optional LED lights; taillights now include LED taillamps as well as brake lights

- 4 new colors (Blizzard Pearl, Sandy Beach Metallic, Blue Ribbon Metallic, and Winter Gray Metallic) plus 3 carryover colors (Black, Classic Silver Metallic, and Barcelona Red Metallic)


- Dimensions close to the 2009 Toyota Prius: Shoulder room rises in front and back, headroom varies by less than half an inch, front hip room rises, and only rear leg room falls more than an inch

- To compensate, a thinner front seat back gives more rear knee space

- Upgraded materials and textures, including available leather seats

- Interior noise, vibration, and harshness reduced, with smoother engine restarting


- High-level combination meter moves important vehicle info 3.5 feet away, to the base of the windshield, to reduce eye refocusing

- Combination meter includes driver information area: Fuel gauge, speedometer, warning lights, instantaneous fuel consumption, shift indicator

- Multi-Information Display, adjacent to driver info area, shows fuel-usage information on 5-inch wide display controlled by driver using round "Touch Tracer" buttons on steering wheel--reducing eye movement and driver fatigue

- Driver can toggle through energy monitor, hybrid system indicator, 1-minute and 5-minute fuel consumption, historic fuel usage data, trip data, and several user-customizable settings

HYBRID SYNERGY DRIVE (engine, battery, electric motors)

- Larger engine (1.8 liters, up from 1.5 liters) gives more power and torque for accelerating and passing

- More than 90% of the components in the hybrid system (transaxle, power control unit) have been redesigned to be smaller and lighter

- Battery pack is smaller and better cooled (and still warrantied for 10 years / 150,00 miles)


- Larger disc brakes, on all four wheels, controlled electronically to integrate with the regenerative braking system

- Hill-start Assist Control prevents Prius from rolling backward for 2-3 seconds on hills

- New tilting and telescoping steering column

- Hands-free SmartKey system


- 4 equipment levels (II, III, IV & V) with a 5th one coming later (I, perhaps?)

- 3 available packages: Navigation, Solar Roof, Advanced Technology, though not all option combinations will be available on all levels


- Solar Roof to power an interior cooling fan that runs on solar power captured by roof-mounted photovoltaic cells

- PlasmaCluster ion generator in driver's air vent reduces airborne germs, odors, and mold growth

- JBL Audio system with integrated satellite radio tuner

- Voice-activated DVD Navigation System

- Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone operation

- Bluetooth audio streaming, from personal audio device

- SafetyConnect integrated telematics system, including automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, and emergency assistance button

- Dynamic radar cruise control, keeps a set distance from the car ahead

- Lane Keep Assist, to alert and assist the driver to stay in lane

- Intelligent Parking Assist, automatically steers car into parallel parking space once driver has confirmed it on navigation screen

2010 Toyota Prius - showing round Touch Tracer controls that drivers operate with their thumbs

2010 Toyota Prius - showing round Touch Tracer controls that drivers operate with their thumbs