The Toyota Prius is widely recognized as introducing the world to the concept of an affordable and practical hybrid car. Its “Synergy Drive” system enables drivers to get around without burning any gasoline at all during most short trips, and the gasoline engine is powerful enough to propel the car long distances – as well as recharge the battery for gasoline-free driving upon arrival. Rated by Acceptance car insurance as one of the safest small hatchbacks on the market, the Prius is also a very safe car to drive, with excellent protection for passengers in the event of a crash. Equipped with a strong passenger frame and six airbags, it is an extremely safe vehicle in most crashes. Improvements in the electrical system likewise decrease the risk of electrical fire in the event of a crash.
The 2013 Prius is an expansion upon previous model years, the result of Toyota tinkering with and enhancing the quality of the vehicle. The facelift that started in 2011 has been further refined to increase aerodynamic efficiency and thus enable the car to travel more gently and efficiently than before. The engines have also been tuned to improve efficiency at the most common speeds and temperatures, thus further increasing fuel efficiency.
This gives it an overall rating of 51mpg, which Toyota promises they will improve further with continuing upgrades. Further refinement of the tires and the regenerative braking system improves overall efficiency, without sacrificing enough of the handling to prevent the car from being safe and effective at common driving speeds.
The interior has been made more plush and comfortable in accordance with consumer demand. The seats are slightly larger, with more room, and the dashboard has been carefully redesigned with an eye towards ergonomics. The rear seats have been made easier to get into and out of, and the trunk is slightly larger than on earlier models. This has been done in an effort to make the car more suitable for a small family, and it is now capable of carrying four adults easily instead of two adults and two children. The interior is also slightly larger, intending to provide more headroom for tall persons and more leg and thigh room for large persons.
The dashboard updates have enabled Toyota to offer a more advanced “infotainment” package to customers who want to buy the upgrade. A larger, more interactive screen enables a better and more accurate on-board GPS, as well as ensuring that the user interface is easier to see and to operate in driving conditions. With Bluetooth and phono-jack connections, the onboard computer is well-equipped to play music and serve as a hands-free headset. The computer is also integrated with a number of small sensors located around the edges of the vehicle which will alert drivers when they get close to a pedestrian or other car, to prevent accidents. The car also has a series of external speakers which produce an audible car-engine like noise when running on electric power, to warn animals and pedestrians of the car’s approach. With all these options, the Prius is an impressive vehicle.
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