2010 Toyota Prius rolls onto the Detroit stage at its global debut in January 2009

2010 Toyota Prius rolls onto the Detroit stage at its global debut in January 2009

It's finally here: Toyota has released pricing for the 2010 Prius. And it's aggressive, meaning Toyota will fight hard to keep the Prius as king of the hybrid hill.

When we covered the four equipment levels for the 2010 Toyota Prius, we said one seemed to be missing, since they were named II, III, IV, and V. Indeed, a newly announced level I will be the cheapest 2010 Prius, at just $21,750 with destination charge.

That's not quite as cheap as the 2010 Honda Insight, which starts at $20,400. But the Prius is a midsize car, one whole class larger than the compact Insight. And the Prius offers a much more robust full hybrid system with up to a mile of all-electric range; the Insight doesn't.

Including the $750 fee for delivery, processing, and handling (which may vary in southeast and Gulf Coast states), the price levels are:

- Prius I:  $21,750 - Specification "to be released at a later date"

- Prius II: $22,000 - Standard equipment includes SmartKey keyless entry, cruise control, multi-information display, and Touch Tracer steering wheel controls.

- Prius III: $23,750 - This adds (to Level II) a JBL AM/FM/CD changer with integrated satellite radio; 8 speakers; and hands-free Bluetooth mobile phone integration

- Prius IV: $26,550 - This adds (to Level III) leather interior trim; heated front seats with power lumbar support for the driver; water-repellant glass; PlasmaCluster ion generator in driver's vent to reduce odors, germs, and mold; automatically dimming mirror; three-door SmartKey system; and a handful of trim and lighting upgrades.

- Prius V:  $28,020 - This adds (to Level IV) the 17-inch alloy wheels, plus LED headlamps and foglamps.

Buyers of the 2010 Toyota Prius can also select among three packages:

Navigation Package: $1,800 (available on Prius III, IV, and V) - DVD navigation system with voice and touch-screen activation, including XM NavTraffic and music streamed via BlueTooth, plus backup camera, and SafetyConnect system with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, and emergency assistance call center

Solar Roof Package: $3,600 (available on Prius III and IV) - Includes all Navigation Package equipment and adds solar-powered cabin ventilation system, including remotely activated air-conditioning (from SmartKey)

Advanced Technology Package: $4,500 (available on Prius V only) - Includes all Navigation Package equipment and adds Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Park Assist, and Pre-Collision System including seatbelt pre-tensioner and brake assist

So while you can drive a 2010 Prius out the door for under $22,000, you can also spend more than $32,500 on the most luxurious level with the Advanced Tech package.

That's a long way from the more basic 2010 Insight--which we expect Toyota to point out as the two cars head into market combat. The 2010 Prius should arrive at dealers around Memorial Day.

2010 Honda Insight

2010 Honda Insight