2010 Toyota Prius-III -- Leading the pack in more ways than one

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Family' started by xcel, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] The now 5 year old Prius-II finished second in the 2008 “Car of the Year” voting. Imagine what is in store with the all-new 2010 Prius-III ;)

    [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2010_Prius-III_front_and_2009_Prius-II_behind.jpg[/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Mar. 2, 2009

    2010 Toyota Prius-III certified at 50 city/49 highway/50 mpgUS combined parked in front of its ubiquitous predecessor, the -II with its now just average 46 mpgUS combined.

    Yountville, CA -- Can we be any more excited? The 2010 Toyota Prius is a ... And as we experienced, the 2010 Toyota Prius drives like... And the ... is truly an ...

    Unfortunately, the journalists and enthusiasts in attendance at the Third Generation Prius Media Preview are not allowed to write about the many driving impressions and fuel economy results which included a number of middle of the night mid and higher speed Interstate runs, a number of low and mid-speed city/suburban/country drives, a fast and furious mountain road drive and the ultimate “untimed” FE challenge thrown into the mix. As anticipation builds, I am busting at the seams to post the story and should prove to be worthy of every CleanMPG member’s time. That is when we can finally write about the next generation Prius’ “real and unreal world” capabilities on March 25 :D

    In the mean time, the 2010 Prius-III’s reason for being including some of its technical merits as well as its marketing potential follows.

    General overview from the man in charge

    Akihiko Otsuka, Toyota’s chief engineer responsible for development of the Prius-III, gave the 10,000 foot version as to his responsibilities and direction that he lead the Prius-III design team(s) in. With over 2,000 engineers working on the Prius-III’s development, it was revealed that Mr. Otsuka spent more time in direction and decision making meetings than anywhere else.

    Development strategy for the 2010 Toyota Prius-III focused on four key areas.
    • World Class Fuel Economy and Environmental performance.
    • Cutting edge styling that is both functional and beautiful.
    • Advanced hardware that will set the trend for future automobiles to come.
    • Vehicle performance.
    “In addition to technical innovations, Prius customers also want performance and function,” said Mr. Otsuka. “To appeal to these needs, we designed the new Prius to have industry leading handling, stability, and quietness.”


    What we really care about... The technical side of things

    Chris Risdon, a self proclaimed and hands on antique “Hot Rod” enthusiast is the Senior Product Education and Development Administrator in charge of Toyota’s dealership salesperson education. In our world, he builds the training modules for the Toyota dealership sales force providing basic to advanced details and competitive comparisons.

    Chris provided the overview on the Prius’ history, inner workings and feature sets of possibly the most advanced automobile on the road today.

    Option packages -- Unlike the previous generation with the base or Touring having a package number, Toyota has decided to name the Prius-III with the Roman numeral differentiation.
    • Prius-II – Base.
    • Prius-III – Upgraded JBL Radio and Bluetooth.
    • Prius-IV – Leather seats and trim, power lumbar and heated seats, upgraded interior trim, water repellant glass, Auto dimming mirror, Home Link and 3-door Smart Key.
    • Prius-V – Adds 17” alloys and LED based head and fog lamps.
    Technology Packages are currently listed as follows:
    • Navigation – Voice activated NAVI with XM traffic, Bluetooth, Backup Camera and Safety Connect when it becomes available later this summer.
    • Solar Roof Package – Solar powered ventilation, Navigation and remote A/C.
    • Advanced Technology – Pre-collision System in concert with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Park Assist and NAVI.
    Functional Exterior Enhancements

    LED headlamps are 17% more efficient than the previous generation HID’s and rear LED tail and brake lamps consume just 14W, an 88% reduction from the pervious generation!

    The Cd was reduced to 0.25 with the addition of clean-cut front and rear bumper edges, and a highly refined underbody paneling that includes aero tabs adding directional stability and reduced drag from below.

    Dimensions - 2010 Prius-III vs. Prius-II

    Detailed Prius-III specifications can be viewed from the link. On a comparison basis both inside and out, the new more fuel efficient Prius is larger than its predecessor in the dimensions that count.

    2010 Prius-III vs. 2009 Prius-II

    Interior/Exterior DimensionsPrius-IIIPrius-II
    Head Room (F/R)38.3”/37.638.6”/37.3”
    Hip Room (F/R)52.7”/51.2”51.0”/51.6
    Shoulder Room (F/R)56.1”/53.151.0”/51.6”
    Leg Room (F/R)42.5”/36.0”41.9”/38.6

    Overall Length175.6175.0”
    Overall Width68.767.9”
    Overall Height58.7”58.7”

    Cargo volume is up by 5.3 cu. ft. to 21.4 while passenger volume is down by 3.5 cu. ft. to 93.7.

    With the loss of 2.6” of leg room, the distance between your knees and seat back has been decreased forcing you into a more upright position. Although headroom has been increased by .3” thanks to the roof’s peak height being moved back 4”, the more upright seating position gives rise to less head room by comparison to the Prius-II.

    Front Seat comfort

    Besides the std. longer seat adjustable track, std. seat height adjustment, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and lumbar support in the high end models, the seat itself has been redesigned with greater hip and thigh bolstering to reduce fatigue on longer drives.

    New engine and significantly upgraded HSD

    The Prius’ new 1.8L engine is a Corolla unit that has been atkinsonized and includes a new EGR to reduce pumping losses further vs. exhaust valve timing to control emissions as was done on the previous generation. Also, an exhaust heat recirculation system reduces the warm-up Fuel Economy hit by as much as 40% vs. the thermos bottle system it replaces. All external belt driven accessories have been replaced with far more efficient electrically driven units including the water pump! The 1.8L not only develops 22 more HP than the 1.5L atkinsonized Echo/Yaris unit it replaced, it allows better highway fuel economy with lower revs at a given highway speed.

    This is however not where the real upgrades have taken place. Although I can write about the increased Voltage input (650V via a smaller and more efficient step-up inverter from 500 V previously), increased output and efficiency from the (2) MGSets (67 to 80 HP via MG2), and gear reduction output from the HSD (similar to the Camry) with an overall 20% weight reduction, why not just show you the pics!

    Prius-II on the left with the Prius-III on the right.

    Prius-II on the left and Prius-III on the right, together.

    Battery Pack housing and cooling support of the Prius-II vs. the Prius-III.​

    And as we have previously reported, the infamous bladdered fuel tank from the Prius-II is history. More on this in the Full preview on the 25th ;)

    Engine Modes

    • EV - 4-bars or more of SoC and you can use it as a FAS switch or to move her around the drive.
    • ECO – Reduces maximum throttle plate opening by 11.6% while reducing via dampening the amount of throttle plate movement for a given accelerator pedal input. Also slightly modifies the A/C’s output performance for higher fuel economy. EPA test cycle fuel economy is improved by as much as 3% with ECO engaged vs. the stated 50 mpg combined for the average driver as well.
    • Standard – Little changed from the –II to the –III regarding a given throttle plate opening from an accelerator pedal input.
    • Power – Increases throttle response for a given input with emphasis placed on the middle power demand range.

    Minor Displays and Controls


    Steering, Suspension and Braking

    All were designed for better overall feel, performance, ride, and handling and even lower NVH. Impressions will be posted on the 25th.

    Comfort and Convenience


    Automatic A/C with a pollen filter is standard. A/C unit has 7% more cooling performance while using 10.5% less energy.

    A Plasma Cluster, available on Prius-IV and V, ionizes A/C output to the driver reducing mold, germs and odors.

    Smart Key for the drivers door is standard with an optional 3-door available.

    Steering wheel controls with Touch Tracer Display for audio, climate and Trip information displays is standard.

    Base AM/FM/In-dash CD includes 6-speakers and an AUX jack for MP3 and WMA files.

    JBL AM/FM/6-disc in dash CD unit includes the above plus 8-speakers, XM and Bluetooth hands free capability.

    NAVI-JBL AM/FM/4-disc in dash CD unit includes XM NAV traffic, Bluetooth Audio streaming, 6th gen NAVI and Backup camera.

    NAVI Improved functionality, ease of use although no programming while on the move other than pre-programmed previous destinations while on the road.


    As covered in the 2010 Toyota Prius Specification page, the new Prius includes Front, Side, Side Curtains and Knee Airbag, ABS, TRAC, VSC, BA, EBD and HAC, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters and High-voltage cut-off functions as standard equipment.

    The Prius-III can be optionally equipped with Lane Keep Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Pre-collision Brake, Brake Assist with active Seat belt pre-tensioning.

    “Safety Connect” will be available in late summer of 2009. This is Toyota’s version of “On-Star” which includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle locator, emergency and road side assistance.

    Marketing Expectations

    Bob Carter, Group VP and GM of Toyota Motor Sales sits in a position to experience the overall automobile marketplace meltdown on an hour by hour basis. He looked both calm and collected during discussions throughout the Preview days but behind the scenes, you could feel the tension from not only some of the Toyota exec’s and managers that were in attendance but also journalists from some of the most respected media outlets in existence today.

    “Prius remains an icon for positive change and is our halo vehicle for Toyota’s environmental brand image... And now it’s better than ever,” said Mr. Carter earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show Press Event -- Prius-III reveal. “The new Prius, unlike most of its competitors is an uncompromised hybrid utilizing our Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) can run on gas alone, electric power alone or a combination of the two.”

    With Prius sales off 12.6% for the year ending 2008 vs. 2007 and declines as high as 48 and 44% in Nov and Dec. of 2008 respectively vs. the same months a year earlier, Mr. Carter has far more to worry about regarding the 2010 Toyota Prius sales due to the economy than the upcoming 2010 Honda Insight.

    Regarding the 2010 Honda Insight-II, Mr. Carter mentioned that Toyota believes there is room in the market for both vehicles. The all-new 2010 Prius-III is expected to capture up to 7 percent of the midsize vehicle marketplace while Honda’s 2010 Insight-II should take 5 percent of the compacts. He also said Toyota expects to sell 100,000 2010 Prius-III’s in the US during 2009 with a May release and 180,000 during the first full calendar year.

    The 2010 Toyota Prius starts production in late April at Toyota's plant in Tsutsumi, Japan with a projected US launch in May.

    Near and longer term future for Prius and Toyota hybrids

    “Prius was the first hybrid in our lineup but it most certainly will not be our last,” said Mr. Carter. “We are on track to have hybrid powertrain options available in every model we sell by the 2020’s.”

    It was also revealed that by the end of 2009, the US will receive 150 OEM Prius-III PHEV-12/13’s and all will be fleet-only based. 500 will be built for worldwide distribution. No production numbers for 2010 on out was provided.

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Slideshow
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  2. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Re: 2010 Toyota Prius-III -- Leading the pack in more ways then one

    Nice article Wayne.
  3. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Yes, good article Wayne. Alot of improvement here. Styling is greatly improved as well! I only hope the price is reasonable. Hal
  4. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

    I still dislike the odometer and all other instruments being in the center of the dashboard. I want it all right infront of me!

    The interior does look pretty nice though.
  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    If so equipped, the navi is and climate controls/radio are in the only items in the center. The speedo/odo and hybrid graphics are all out in front of you directing your line of sight towards your travel route. It has improved the safety factor by keeping your line of sight up and on the road.

  6. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Looking at the Specs page, it looks to be centered. It's better than the center console, but not as good as being in front of the driver.

  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Sitting in the driver's seat it isn't nearly as bad as you would think from those pictures. You can sort of see that from the video.
  8. SlowHands

    SlowHands Hypermiling Ironman

    Oh boy oh that sure looks and sounds great oh boy oh Guzzler and TorqueNada you two may just be seeing your replacement :D
  9. jimepting

    jimepting Well-Known Member

    Great writeup! What will the transmission options be? Is this car inherently a CVT?
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___ I did not link them in the original article but here are the animations explaining features and attributes including one showing somewhat better visibility (eyes on the road) with the display locations where they are in the first one...

    2010 Toyota Prius-III explanation animations

    Driver Display and how a Hybrid works...

    Fuel Efficiency and Safety Features.​

    ___Although I doubt an offset display will ever match a centered one, this works very well within the Prius-III while on the road.

    ___Jim, yes, all Prius' are CVT. But they are a bit different than most as it is a power split device with gear changes controlled by the Engine demand and MG1 via meshed gears vs. bands and clutches in a normal AT or belts and cones in a Honda IMA like CVT.

    ___Good Luck

  11. jimepting

    jimepting Well-Known Member

    I couldn't get the sound to work, but the videos are impressive anyway.

    Question: How are American manufacturers ever going to compete with their hybrides when this is the competition? Thankfully, Toyota promises to move production to America, providing jobs at least, if not technology. American car companies have squandered their future!
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jim:

    ___Sorry to catch up to you so long after you had posted. The Fusion Hybrid is even more refined than Toyota's HSD if that gives you an idea as to the domestics capability.

    ___GM's Two-Mode was also silky smooth although not nearly as efficient given the beast(s) it is placed in vs. the Prius-I/II/III, TCH, RXh, 09 FEH and Fusion/Milan Hybrids.

    ___Good Luck

  13. Riana90

    Riana90 Banned

    From what I can tell,The 2010 Toyota Prius (3rd Generation) is mobile spy the most fuel efficient hybrid car available today with fuel economy is 50 miles per gallon.:woot:
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Riana90:

    Yes, it is. Around town. Out on the Interstate, there are a number of North American products that will best it including hybrids, conventionally powered and diesels. Go to Europe and the highway is littered by another type of combustion engine called diesel that rules the proverbial roost when it comes to minimal fuel consumption for a given distance traveled on the super slab.

    Overall, when you mix the three driving scenarios (city, suburban and Interstate), the Prius easily comes out on top.


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