2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

The 2010 Toyota Prius is in fairly short supply all over the world, and its U.S. sales are trouncing those of the 2010 Honda Insight, its competitor in the arena of dedicated hybrid hatchbacks.

So perhaps it's not that surprising that Toyota doesn't feel the need to sell the lowest-spec 2010 Prius at retail.

Instead, it will offer small numbers of the stripped-out hybrid for "businesses, municipalities, utilities, local government agencies, and other fleet operators seeking a fuel-efficient vehicle with an environmental focus," in the words of Toyota spokesman Greg Thome.

Our sister site AllAboutPrius.com has the full story on the mystery of the missing-in-action Prius I equipment level. You may recall that the Prius was launched early this year in equipment levels II, III, IV, and V.

The bottom line is that Toyota "has neither current plans nor a schedule" to offer the Prius I to consumers, according to the Prius specialty site. Its rumored price was to have been $21,000, or very close to the 2010 Honda Insight's base price of $20,470.

Given the list of deletions, a Prius II is probably a much nicer car for not that much more. The Prius I does without EV Mode, cruise control, a rear wiper, rear heater ducts, the rear armrest, and foldable rear headrests.

Pity those 177 civil servants and power-company drivers who will take the wheel. Advice for the rest of us from AllAboutPrius.com: "Canvass your local dealers for a Prius II with no added options."

[AllAboutPrius]