Prius vs. Prius:  Show me the MPG

by The Car Family

Is the new Prius worth the extra $2000 over the excellent previous model? Absolutely. The new Prius is brilliant. That is if you are not looking for a sports car or one that moves you with passion. In other words, the new Prius is a compact sedan where virtue lies in its frugality, not in its funality. It handles better, gets superior fuel mileage, has more useful interior space and more storage areas.


Braking in the new Prius is good, but the brake feel is wooden and non-linear. This is due to the regeneration energy for the battery pack that is created while braking.

50 miles plus per gallon


The two part rear window, one angled and the other straight, make using the rear view mirrors night position setting of questionable value. The window divider and the different glass tinting make it difficult to ascertain the distance of vehicles following the Prius. We found it better not to use the night vision setting.

50 miles per gallon

The cupholders are too shallow and too small to hold larger cups.

50 miles per gallon

The tires follow groves in the highway and cause a continuing shuttering that can be easily felt through the steering wheel. The tires are also a bit noisy and their grip in the wet is just adequate.

50 miles per gallon

The huge front window lets in a great deal of the sun’s heat and when combined with the large rear window provide a challenge for the air-conditioning, which takes away from the gas mileage.

50 miles per gallon


The Prius has three buttons, one that enables the vehicle to run just on battery power up to about 20 mph under certain conditions. We never were able to get it to go much above 10 mpg. It requires a feather touch.

50 miles per gallon

The Prius has three buttons, one that enables the vehicle to choose its own best gas mileage setting. Why does it need this button when it automatically selects it?

50 miles per gallon

The Prius has a power button that combines both the gas engine’s power and the electric motor’s output to provide a burst of acceleration when needed. This is fine for pulling onto freeways, but when you need power in a hurry such as in an avoidance maneuver, who has time to find the button?

50 miles per gallon

The Prius has heated seats, but the buttons to activate them are below the dash in a hollowed out area. They are difficult to reach, to say the least, and although the pass through that was created offers a useful storage area, a sharp turn can bring anything you place there tumbling out close to the accelerator pedal.

50 mpg

The options can be expensive. Indeed, if you want the LED headlights you have to buy the nearly $29,000 version of the Prius to get them. You can’t get the larger, 17 inch tires, on the base model.

50 mpg

50 miles per gallon

The console mounted shift lever is easy to reach, but lacks significant feel and so you can easily miss the gear you want to reach. The Prius does have a park button on the center console and there is also a parking niche for the shifter. It can become confusing at first.

50 miles per gallon


The small readouts located just under the front windshield are difficult to read and the font is small. In fact, all of the fonts are too small.

50 miles per gallon

The rear seats fold flat, they have a 60-40 split, but you need to remove the headrests first or move the front seats forward.

50 miles per gallon.

The interior lighting is just adequate and not good in back.

50 miles per gallon


The base seats in the Prius don’t offer enough lumbar support and are difficult to adjust, despite a steering wheel that both tilts and telescopes.

50 miles per gallon

The radio reception is weak and the stereo sound is just average.

50 miles per gallon

The gas mileage readout is always optimistic and the miles to empty is pessimistic.

50 miles per gallon

The engine makes a mournful, muted attempt to roar when asked for full power.

50 miles per gallon

The power button, that combines the power of the electric motors and the gasoline engine is addicting. It feels like the hand of god pushing you past other vehicles or onto freeways. You can easily get to 60 mph in under ten seconds. There is also a gear for holding the car in gear for mountain driving. You can also beg the dealer to disconnect the beeping sound every time you put the car in reverse (can you say garbage truck backing-up warning?) and the dash readouts cast a reflection in the side glass.

50 miles per gallon

On a windy day the Prius’ large slab sides can create a sail effect   making it important to keep both hands on the wheel.

50 miles per gallon.


The front spoiler is very low and it can easily hit the pavement on even minor inclines. Approach these with caution. Trust us.

50 miles per gallon.

Mom’s view: Love it.

Dad’s view: Let’s buy it.

Working woman’s view: Easy to park and live with/

Young working male’s view: Certainly not a babe magnet. Well, maybe in black with chrome wheels.

Consensus: Difficult to ignore 50 miles per gallon.

For a list of all vehicle websites go to

Here is a comparison of the 2010 versus the 2009 Toyota Prius.

2010                                    2009

Price $23,500             $20,900

Turning Radius 34.2 ft. 34.1 ft.

Mileage City 51/48 mpg. 48/45 mpg.

Length 175.6 in. 175 in.

Width 68.7 in. 67.9 in.

Height 58.7 in. 58.7 in.

Weight 3042 lbs. 2932 lbs.

Front Headroom 38.6 in. 39.1 in.

Rear Headroom 37.6 in. 37.3 in.

Front Hip Room 52.7 in. 51 in.

Front Leg Room 42.5 in. 41.9 in.

Rear Leg Room 36 in. 38.6 in.

Cargo Room 21.6 cu. ft. 14.4 cu. ft.

Engine size 1.8 liters 1.5 liters

Total Horsepower 134 hp 1 110 hp

Electric Output (Kilowatts) 60 50

Horsepower (Gas Motor) 98 hp 76 hp

Torque (Gas Motor) 105 ft-lbs. 82 ft-lbs

Tires P195/65R15 P185/65R15 86
Wheels alloy 15 x 6.0 in. 15 x 5.5 in. e

Brakes – Front ventilated disc ventilated disc

Brakes – Rear disc drum

CD In-Dash 6 CD player single CD player

Total Number of Speakers Eight Six

Source Edmunds.Com