CleanMPG Previews the 2010 Toyota Prius-III

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. xcel

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

    [​IMG] Aside from a prototype PHEV_or_BEV, nothing on the planet can touch it.

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - March, 25, 2009

    2010 Toyota Prius-III – Starting at $21,000 and rated an impressive 50 mpgUS combined.

    While the market is in shambles and many auto manufacturers are on life support, there is a special vehicle that will very likely transcend the general economic malaise. That vehicle (which will "go before" all others on the road to success) is known as “Prius”.

    Improved from front bumper fascia to rear hatch, the all-new 2010 Toyota Prius is not just a fuel efficient, utilitarian appliance anymore. It is now a “driver's car” improving upon almost every attribute that has made it so popular for the last four years.

    If you liked the previous generation's bubbly, aero shaped silhouette or its highly advanced HSD technology, you are going to love the Prius-III even more.

    If you are one of those who despised the Prius for any number of reasons, have another look because Toyota has addressed nearly every complaint ever voiced. Driving one engenders a new level of respect for the green icon and Toyota's engineering prowess.

    For the 2010 Toyota Prius-III’s general overview and specs, you can read the “Leading the pack in more ways than one” and 2010 Toyota Prius-II specifications pages.

    Both the 2010 Toyota Prius-III technical presentation and 2010 Toyota Prius-III Multimedia and NAVI_update docs can be downloaded from the files section of CleanMPG.

    Now however, it's time to take a spin in the all new 2010 Prius-III!

    2010 Toyota Prius-III basic competitive comparisons

    YearMakeModelMSRPPassenger Volume (cu. ft.)Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)08 EPA combined (mpg US)
    2009HondaCivic Hybrid$23,65090.910.442
    2010FordFusion Hybrid$27,27099.811.839
    2010ToyotaCamry Hybrid$26,150101.410.634

    A gathering of Prius hybrids in Napa Valley, CA.

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Comfort, Convenience, and Ergonomics


    The driver's seating position and control presentation is a vast improvement over the previous generation’s layout. In addition to a longer, adjustable seat track, standard 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. During a 102 mile highway drive I did not feel the need to adjust my seating position -- an eventuality that cannot be avoided in the Prius-II.

    Though still not quite perfect, pedal and wheel positioning in the Prius-III is an order of magnitude better than the previous generation.

    The center armrest and driver's door armrest are both well situated and a comfortable height for both of my forearms. Little changes, such as the position of the shift lever on the new center console (adjacent to the location your hand naturally falls) make the 2010 Prius experience even more user friendly. The ability to shift from D to N and back or engage the E-Flashers without having to reach forward is a huge improvement in ergonomics. In fact, just a small movement of the wrist is sufficient to take care of these tasks!

    Though the interior trim is not up to Lexus look and feel, it does have a warmer appearance than the materials found in the previous generation.

    The new Prius has a Display button located on the steering wheel and all hybrid specific data reporting has been relocated. The standard displays are closer to a normal, forward view out the front windscreen; although there is still an offset this is a significant improvement in safety. Unfortunately, the Prius-III has lost some of its usability convenience in this area. Instead of Consumption and Energy screen toggles handled via the steering wheel Info control button, scrolling though every display via the Display button is now required in order to move between these important information readouts. This behavior is very similar to the 2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Turbo Diesel (and we didn't like it there, either).

    An instantaneous Fuel Consumption Display (FCD) is always displayed next to the speedometer but the new Energy screen lacks the level of detail found on a Prius-II’s large Multi-Function Display (MFD). We surmise this is due to its smaller size.

    One spectacular addition to the new vehicle is a Hybrid System Indicator. This indicator allows the driver to visually anticipate the threshold between EV and internal combustion use. As the state of charge (SoC) reduces, it is more difficult to maintain cruise or acceleration in EV but the HSI gives drivers the ability to accurately determine limitations moment by moment. This is an extremely useful feature sure to be very popular with owners.

    When your power level (not displayed) reaches the center line, EV to ICE-On and reverse transition will occur.​

    Sight-lines in the 2010 Prius-III are similar to the previous generation with a now familiar rear window blind spot. The hatch functionality is excellent but most customers will never be entirely comfortable with the spit window solution.

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Acceleration, Handling and Braking Improvements

    Everything from the steering to the brakes has been improved specifically for better performance, ride, feel, and even lower NVH.

    The Prius-III’s 1.8L can propel the Hybrid to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds -- nearly a full second faster than its predecessor. When the 1.8L engine is asked for full power however, its quiet and subdued nature instantly disappears in a noisy roar.

    The 17” wheeled Prius-III includes a 25% quicker steering ratio than its predecessor while the 15” wheeled Prius-III also bests it by a still respectable 10%. More importantly, the disconnected feel from the previous generation's EPS system has been significantly reduced. Though still EPS equipped, feedback now provides a more natural steering feel than I would have thought possible from any Prius.

    Along with more precise steering, handling has been improved thanks to a much needed increase in body rigidity, a 2.6” wider track, and what felt like stiffer yet still comfortable suspension tuning.

    Long before reaching limits which will trigger VSC, the previous generation begins to buck and roll, under-steer, and loses any semblance of finesse. The all new 2010 Prius-III is an entirely different animal and holds any path on dry pavement chosen by the driver up to its VSC adhesion limits.

    While driving a 15” wheel equipped Prius-III and coming into a 90 degree T slightly hot while DWB, I pointed, she went, we exited, and I smiled. :)

    With Ed Kim of Auto Pacific (my driving partner for the day) behind the wheel of a 17” wheel equipped Prius-III on a mountain road performance segment, we came into a decreasing radius downhill hairpin curve at approximately 50% over the suggested road speed. I thought he was going to be into the binders as under steer would surely have pushed a Prius-II into the oncoming lane. The much improved suspension and steering, as well as improved cornering stability and traction allowed significantly enhanced cornering confidence. With VSC engaging sporadically, he pointed, we entered, then exited and afterward, both of us said, “Wow”!

    After that hairpin, I would not have believed I was in a lightly sprung Toyota compact of any sort -- it felt much closer to the edgier 09 Corolla XRS or Civic iCDTi sedans. Though not meant to be a performance oriented automobile, the 2010 Toyota Prius-III impresses with better than “normal” cornering aplomb.

    Braking is another area of substantial refinement. Toyota engineers worked overtime to remove some of the previous generation’s inconsistent feel. Now fitted with rear discs, braking performance will be improved... though we were not in a position to test that aspect of the Prius-III. Still, the braking action was much more linear and less “programmed” when compared to the previous generation's transitions from regen to mechanical braking. This was a definite improvement.

    Although the 2010 Prius-III sounds quieter than its predecessor, some of the rougher back roads revealed an inordinate amount of interior noise. This was not evident on smooth pavement or the Interstate.

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Performance including Fuel Economy

    Fuel economy is by far the most important performance measure of the all new Prius-III, though acceleration, braking, and handling improvements are all welcome.

    The Prius-III offers fuel economy that should please most. That said, it will not offer everyone what looks to be (from EPA ratings) an almost 10% increase in Fuel Economy compared to the previous gen Prius-II.

    Competition and joy riding around the beautiful Napa Valley

    FE Challenge drive pulling out the stops------------------------------------Std. drive including City and Country roads.​

    Though still capable of 100+ mpg in a standard P&G routine, average speeds needed to achieve the numbers above are cause for concern. Temps in the low 60’s were slightly problematic as this was a brand new vehicle with placard pressure, but it did not have the same 100+ mpg “pop” that the previous generation Prius has at any speed between 22 and 37 mph. Forced Charging appeared to stop at 6 bars of SoC during a warm-up period and it did match the previous generation Prius in allowing moving to 7/8 bars at will.

    At this point, if I was entering a max FE competition today, I would ask for the Prius-II. The new generation may well be more capable but I need more time in a prepped Prius-III to determine its full potential.

    Poor Ed Kim... he had to endure an hour and a half of everything I had during the FE Challenge segment. In his defense, he achieved 77.x mpg during his first drive of a city/country segment as laid out by Toyota. ;) On the mountain road segment he was at WOT more times than I care to count, but he still achieved the following by the time we arrived back at the driver/vehicle swap out point:

    “On it” best describes this 52.5 mpg segment with a 39 mph average speed drive.​

    In keeping with the Prius’ “Real World” capabilities, 27 Journalists taking on the 31 mile FE Challenge Course averaged an impressive 69.2 mpg. Not bad at all!

    Highway driving

    Here is an area where the Prius has improved for the average driver just exactly as the EPA numbers indicate. Some caveats appear however...

    In mid to high 30 degree temps while DWL and maintaining a 50 mph average speed, I drove from near Napa Valley on I-80 to Sacramento and back with the following result:

    Top off to top off - 102.3 miles on 1.724 gallons = 59.33 mpg.​

    102.3 miles is too short a distance for fuel consumption display baseline comparisons but 59.33 mpg actual compared to the 65.3 mpg displayed is somewhat worrisome. We did use the same station but there was a slight slope to the pump pad which may have contributed to the large offset. We were facing in on initial fill and out on the final. Until the 2010 Prius hits the streets in mass and is run through entire tanks, it appears that the pre-production OEM FCDs were over reporting FE by almost 6 mpg!

    Thank goodness the infamous bladdered fuel tank from the Prius-II is history. With two top-offs performed, we can attest that this is truly a bright spot in the Prius-III design.

    My partner (Danny of PC) in this late night drive took a higher speed run by setting cruise at 65 mph and "just driving." During the turnaround before heading back into San Francisco, we had to cover some inner city routes and in 37 degree temps, 65 mph driving (with some slower speeds in that city turn around) resulted in 48.6 mpg.

    65 mph on cruise in 37 degree temps yielded the above.

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Conclusions

    Simply stated, all the improvements discussed above make the Prius-III the best hybrid on the planet. This smallish, midsized platform offers advanced technology not available in any other vehicle (Touch Tracer and Exhaust Heat Recirculation) while including a more attractive interior and exterior than its predecessor. Even if the new 2010 Prius was a conventionally powered vehicle it would still be worth purchasing because it is that good! The next generation HSD and the highest fuel economy rating of any new vehicle available on the North American Continent is much more than just frosting on the cake. It should make most new vehicle purchasers think long and hard about choosing anything else... at any price.

    Finally, I want to extend a huge thank you to Ming-Jou Chen for setting the long lead preview up and having all of us out, Bill Kwong for taking care of all my questions with Japanese engineer responses to each and every one over the last month, Akihiko Otsuka for leading the team that designed and is currently building Prius-III’s for the world as I type, and Masahiko Maeda for offering answers to some very detailed questions about MG1 and MG2 interactions. Included in this list would be my driving partner Ed Kim who was immersed in Hypermiling 101 whether he liked it or not and kept an even keel while having to endure the pain. ;)

    Akihiko Otsuka -- Ming-Jou Chen -- Bill Kwong -- Masahiko Maeda-----------------------------Ed Kim of Auto Pacifica-----------------------

    2010 Toyota Prius-III Slideshow

    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  2. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    2010 Prius Preview: Another Hypermiler's perspective

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Dan Bryant - CleanMPG - Mar. 25, 2009

    Tucson Press Preview

    Dan's impressions of his drive in the 2010 Prius in Tucson

    Clamoring around the small fleet of pre-production Priora (Prius'es) were a gaggle of reporters all interested, in their own way, as to what Toyota had up their sleeve with the new 2010 Prius. Each had their own expectation, and each had their own set of questions as the day began. I, in many regards was likely the odd man out. The black sheep ringer pulled in from the Houston Hybrid Club to really see just what this car was capable of. I did not aim to disappoint.

    • + Increase Fuel Economy
    • + Answer demands for more aggressive styling and design.
    • + Advanced tech to make the Prius the must have gadget of 2010.
    • + Increased performance to make the Prius quicker, more agile, and more responsive.
    As the Hypermiler Ringer in the crowd, my attention was zeroed in on objective #1. I remained both curious and sceptical as to how the rest of the goals would fall into place without sacrificing fuel economy though.

    Pouring over the technical documents (not in short supply) and listening to the presentations, fuel economy did in fact seem better. There were dozens of refinements. Over 90% of the Prius is redesigned.

    The first, and most obvious tweak to improve FE was the air-foil. The new design achieves an astonishing drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd, which is expected to be the on of the lowest drag coefficient of any mass produced car (the original Honda Insight ties it). To hit that number they've moved high point of the car (top of the hump) back about 4 inches. They added harder edging down the body and around the bumper to better channel air-flow. But the big surprise is under the car. At long last they have added under-body panels to reduce the chaotic air flow under the car. Other changes include a larger lower grill and smaller upper grill intake as well as a slightly longer spoiler similar to the 2009 Touring Prius.

    Another major component to go on the Fuel diet was the Motor Generator 1 and 2. Both of the MGs were made smaller and more efficient. MG2 now operates at a much higher peak RPM of 13,500. The inverter/converter is now more tightly integrated into the cooling loop allowing the design to shrink in size and weight without suffering thermally. Efficiencies were added to the new gas engine as well. Coolant is now circulated through the exhaust system at start-up, reducing warm up by upwards of 3 minutes. This improvement allowed the coolant thermos to be discarded saving a marginal amount of weight. The new engine also has a confirmed EGR system designed to better equalized pressure across the engine further reducing losses.

    Now, while many components of the engine were getting smaller, some were getting bigger. The coolant pump, previously belt driven, is now it's own electric pump. Although this may add a marginal amount of weight, there are big savings by reducing the vampire load that the pump previously had off of the drive-train. Another change that seems to initially conflict with the mission of fuel-efficiency was the added 300 cc's of displacement. The new Prius will be sporting a 1.8 liter engine compared to the smaller 1.5 liter in the current 2009 models. Although this bloat can add some weight, the logic in it becomes clear when the highway fuel efficiency numbers are examined. By adding a larger engine the 2008 EPA test cycle scores the 2010 Prius improved highway rating of 48 mpg. The technical documentation intend to spin the larger engine as purely targeting increased fuel efficiency, but I couldn't help but notice that the zero-to-sixty time seemed to drop below 10 seconds.

    Now, beyond to obvious improvements in the body design and engine / generator design, there seemed to be an almost full rewrite in the control software. As much as I would have loved to get a peak of some of that code, but that was not something I was privy too. Reasons for re-authoring these software components are obvious, but for the hypermiling community there is a cost. Much of the 2004 design had been reverse-engineered to the point that properly programmed ScanGauge could pluck communication bouncing from one control system to the other. This was wonderful if you happened to be interested in some of the finer minutia of vehicle operation, as many hypermilers are. Although there are probably significant improvements in the new software, the downside is that veteran Prius pilots are now going to be stripped of all the extra prius-hacking data that they have grown to love. But, on the plus side, there is a whole new mystery of control logic to unwind for those new Prius hacking pioneers.

    Well, with the groundwork laid, I was ready to take my little beauty for a test drive. This brings me back to the gaggle of reporters huddled around the Priora (Prius'es). While the master of ceremonies released us with "drivers start your (electric) engines", I was busily wiggling myself under the nearest Prius to marvel at those wonderful under-body panels. It wasn't until that particular Prius was claimed that I realized the Prius stable was rapidly emptying. After a quick conference with the organizers I ascertained that there were two base models. One was driving off, but a bit of running landed me in the second one before the guy behind me got to claim it. Although I was interested in the gadgetry in the fully loaded models, the base models, with their 15" tires, and lighter body were what was interesting me. As you move to the larger 17" rims and added options, fuel efficiency will (marginally) fall off.

    In the pilots seat, the very first thing I noticed, was the presence of the ever familiar EV button. Previously only reserved for Prius Hackers on the 2009 model, the 2010 comes with an EV button stock. Beside the EV button are two other drive mode buttons, ECO mode and PWR mode. All in all, the new Prius allows 4 new drive modes:
    1. Normal - This is the mode the EPA rates the Prius fuel efficiency under.
    2. ECO Mode - This mode improves fuel efficiency by smoothing out throttle requests.
    3. PWR Mode - This mode improves performance by boosting throttle requests.
    4. EV Mode - This mode allows the vehicle to be driven on batteries only, if conditions permit

    Behind the wheel, the first thing I had to become familiar with was the new instrument panel. One interesting redesign is that all of the driving info is up by the speedometer in the HUD display. The good side of this is that drivers aren't looking down onto the NAV unit's LCD to get feedback, the bad news is the information is compressed and a bit harder to digest, and if you ever get refused EV mode, the error message covers the display for about 2 seconds.

    The primary system displays on the new 2010 model are presented on 4 toggleable screens, in the same way the 2009 toggles between "Energy Display" and "Consumption":

    1. Energy Display - This is exactly like the 2009 display and should be familiar.
    2. Past Record - This shows your MPG on all your previous trip rests (tanks).
    3. Consumption Display - Similar to the 2009 Consumption screen, but can show consumption in either 1 minute or 5 minute increments.
    4. Hybrid System Indicator - Totally new screen that shows how much battery or engine power is being utilized.

    As I drove off on the first route, the new design did feel a bit larger. The weight reduction in some systems is offset by the larger engine and body, and the final product is about 110 lbs heavier. Since I had a passenger, the net impression was somewhere between a 2009 Prius and a 2009 Camry Hybrid. Trying to Hypermile the 2010 exactly like the 2009 doesn't work either. These are essentially deferment beasts. The premise is the same, but the feel is definitely different. I began to try to feel out the differences.

    First among these differences was optimal acceleration. The 1.8L engine coupled with the Eco-Mode setting put (what felt like) optimal acceleration at a much heavier throttle than I was accustomed to. The next major difference was the EV button. The 2010 Prius seems much more finicky about when and where you can toggle the EV button. An ev-button-hacked 2009 Prius, fully warmed up (160 °F), with sufficient charge (5 bars) will enter EV so long as your driving below 30 mph. For the 2010 Prius, this seemed to be a bit more elusive. At lower speeds (below 20 mph) toggling EV was permitted, but at the higher speeds (25 - 30 mph) all attempts to toggle EV seemed to be refused.

    When I finished my first run with the new Prius, I felt a little disappointed. My first run on the River Route yielded moderate results:

    2010 Prius on River Route
    Distance: 21.5 mi
    Average Speed: 24 mph
    Fuel Efficiency: 82.5 mpg

    For second spin around Tucson, I yielded my seat as we went through the Mountain Route. After going through a hypermiling preview with me, he was ready to see what kind of power the new Prius could deliver. Switching to Power Mode, we were off and running.

    The new Power Mode does deliver what it advertises. In power mode, the throttle is adjusted to provide more power when RPMs are optimal. On the steep mountain grades this provided ample acceleration to meet most anyones expectations of a 4 cylinder engine. Off the line acceleration in Power Mode is also surprising. Initial acceleration with pack assist has always been good, but there is an extra kick that the larger engine provides to fill in the gaps. The net result is a constant and consistent acceleration from low to high speed for those who require it.

    After we got back, I hooked up my gauges, ate lunch and prepared for our final run. I was ready to lay it on the line for the MPG competition to see what I could get out of the new contender in fuel efficient autos. The route the competition was on was 38 miles, with dozens of lights, traffic, four miles of highway, and significant hills to navigate. Certainly not an optimal hypermiler course.

    Impressed with some of the readings I saw on the Mountain Route, I switched my display to Hybrid System Indicator. This display was basically a throttle indicator broken into 4 main segments. On the far left a "CHG" area indicating that throttle is light enough that regen is engaged and the batteries are charging. On the far right is a PWR area indicating that you are out near peak power (red-line). As you apply throttle the Indicator will fill from left to right. When your throttle reaches the middle of the display, the engine will turn on. This simple interface provides as simple way for you to maintain throttle and predict when your about to light the engine. Everything a hypermiler needs.

    With a ScanGauge and the Hybrid System Indicator up, I started on the route working on a Pulse and Glide regiment. The basic idea is to accelerate at peak throttle ("pulse") till you reach around 30-40 mph, then let off the throttle just enough to let the engine cut off, to "glide" down to a lower speed of 20-30 mph. Once I went into my first pulse, I realized why my previous drive yielded such low numbers. I was pulsing with far too little throttle. After about two or three attempts, I found the 1600-1700 RPM range I was seeking. Once I found the sweet spot in the throttle it was easy to repeat by watching the Hybrid System Indicator. Filling the "fat" bar up about 3/4 of the way seemed to be perfect and consistent.

    Once I had the "pulse" down, the next step was to figure out the best way to "glide". In the 2009 and previous Prius, I would have to come almost completely off the throttle to coax the engine of. Much to my surprise, the 2010 Prius is far less particular. Once warmed up, the engine will consistently cut of (reverting to electric propulsion) whenever the Hybrid System Indicator is on the left of the middle divider. Unlike previous models, you don't have to come off the throttle, simply ease up on it a bit, and the engine will cut out just as you would expect.

    Although there was only a short amount of highway driving on the route, its presence proved useful in checking for good highway modes of driving. In the current (2009 and previous) Toyota hybrids, there is a definite efficient mode that can be coaxed on the highway. At very light throttle, Motor Generator 1 seems to back off of charging the pack and direct all available power from the engine to the drive train. In Hypermiler circles, this is called Super Highway Mode. Once I got up to speed on the highway, I backed off the throttle till the RPMs dropped below 1300 RPMs and the Hybrid System Indicator was just past center. Sure enough a few seconds later I could feel MG1 release and see MPG jump to the 70-80 range. Just what I had hoped.

    Since the start and end of the MPG route were at the highest elevation, most of the run was over 100 MPG, reading 99.9 for CONS on the display. Unfortunately the last 3 miles of the course required the steep climb back to the finish line, and physics set in. The final numbers yielded:

    2010 Prius on MPG Route
    Distance: 38.7 mi
    Average Speed: 22 mph
    Fuel Efficiency: 90.6 mpg

    These were results I could live with, but I was still a bit curious. Could I have done better in my 2007 Prius? The answer was staring me in the face... literally. As I turned in the keys to the Master of Ceremonies and received my Prize of Undisclosed Value (for winning the MPG run), I saw that some of the organizers were working around a 2009 Prius they had out on rental. With very little coaxing I was offered up the 2009 Prius to run through the same course for some head-to-head numbers. Since the event was winding down I took the 2009 Prius out for a solo run. This meant it was lighter without a navigator. I was also able to hook up both of my ScanGauges to get the full detailed system information that was not available in the 2010. And finally with over 30,000 miles of experience hypermiling the older model, I was expecting this to be a close race.

    Since my second run was later in the afternoon, the 2009 Prius had a bit more traffic to contend with. The temps were about the same on both runs, and I ensured that the starting charge was the same, at approximately 5 bars on the battery display. The numbers from turn to turn, and segment to segment were almost identical. The two didn't really separate until the last three miles on the assent back to the finish line. The final numbers for the 2009 Prius were:

    2009 Prius on MPG Route
    Distance: 38.8 mi
    Average Speed: 21 mph
    Fuel Efficiency: 89.6 mpg

    This was something that did surprise me. The new 2010 redesigned Prius proved better on the MPG run than the 2009 model that I am familiar with. The new 2010 also provided a larger engine and an increase in net system horsepower of over 20%. The new model has noticeably more aggressive styling (less frumpy, more sporty). And finally, the new model comes with a laundry list of new features (to name a few):
    • Heated Seats.
    • Lumbar Support.
    • Solar Cell supplemented AC controls.
    • LED head-lights and tail-lights.
    • iPhone bluetooth MP3 steaming.
    • Four selectable driving modes.
    • EV button.
    • More trip computers (Trip A mpg and Trip B mpg).
    • Sunroof.
    • Pre-collision system.
    • Lane Keep Assist.
    • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
    • Intelligent Parking Assist.
    • Knee Airbags.

    The new design of the Prius will still give Hypermilers the big numbers they strive for, but the real improvement will likely be seen by the every day driver. With "ECO-Mode" enabled, most "normal" driving will likely meet or beat EPA ratings on the vehicle. The new warm up cycle with coolant getting heated by exhaust will also be a hit for those with short commutes frustrated at poor mileage performance. In all, it looks like Toyota did deliver on it's objectives. Better fuel economy, more performance, better styling, and enough gadgetry to make the most discerning technophile grin.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2009
  3. ericbecky

    ericbecky Member

    Hey guys, I'm enjoying the reviews. The Prius definitely turns out good mpg numbers overall. And clearly with the slower speed you can eke out some great mpg numbers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2009
  4. Skwyre7

    Skwyre7 Well-Known Member

    Great write-ups! I'll be contacting every dealer in town to try to set up a test drive when they get one of these on the lot. Too bad I can't drive it home...
  5. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Now that you all have driven the Prius III and can talk about it, I would like to ask some questions about specific items in the Prius III

    1) Does the EV switch work like the one on Gen II

    2) Is the EV mode limit still 34 MPH

    3) Is glide limited to 41 MPH

    4) Does P&G still work the same

    5) Does Warp Stealth still work the same way.

    6) Does it still run through the 4 stages of warm up.

    7) How did the exhaust heat recovery affect warm up time.

    That's it for now, I am sure I will think of some more. Also, If you all have anything else to add from the hypermilers perspective please do so.
  6. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    Answers in red
  7. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Dan, awesome work getting in a back-to-back test run with the '09! That's exactly what I wanted to see, and I have to admit that the results meet expectation. It sounds like the punch line is "Toyota built a vastly better car without sacrificing the FE capabilities." So if you want more comfort, more toys, and better handling, better power, go for the 2010. If you just want FE and don't have a problem with the everyday aspects of the previous gen, the Prius II lightly used or nicely discounted might be better value for money.
  8. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Was tire pressure at placard in both the 2009 and 2010, Dan?

    You got a 1% improvment over 2009 model on your 1st day in the 2010 (90.6/89.6...). What is your sense for further mpg once you have time to master the 2010?
  9. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    What's the max speed where it will still maintain SHM? With the 09, SHM was maxing out at about 50 to perhaps 55mph.

    Based on the 49mpg on a 65mph interstate cruise, and 70-80mpg in SHM, the 2010 Prius still falls short of my car's mileage at normal highway speeds. Looks like I'll still be waiting for a new 4-seat car to come along that can match or exceed my 18 year old non-hybrid car's highway mileage. Perhaps the Aptera Typ-4h, whenever it makes it off the drawing board and into production.
  10. Dan

    Dan KiloTanked in post 153451

    The pressure was placard on both the 2009 and 2010. To be clear, I'd consider the performance of the two pretty close to tied. I'll easily swing 3% give or take running the same course simply because of light timings. What I was happy with is the fact that the 2010 seemed in the same ballpark as a 2009 from a Hypermiler's standpoint.

    Never reached 61% SoC so I couldn't really say. What I was doing was a modified SHM. Basically, just feeling for the point where MG1 lets go then trying to hold that band. With the lower Cd and bigger engine, I'd suspect SHM would be maintainable at a slightly higher speed, but I Cd wasn't THAT improved, and you are running with another 110 lbs. In the end, I think HW numbers will be about the same, but a bit easier to hit than in the 2009. Unfortunately I just didn't have enough time to really flesh it out.

    Well if you work your Civic magic on a Prius, who knows what you'd be able to hit. SHM maintainability, in my opinion, is almost purely a factor of drag. If you have a 30 knot wind at your back side, SHM seems to last darn near forever.

  11. sandman

    sandman Active Member

    I really don't like the look of the new display, but I have not seen it in person? Has any of you driven the new Honda Insight and can maybe give us a head to head comparison. Maybe a MPG challenge in the near future.. Thanks
  12. GreenVTEC

    GreenVTEC Well-Known Member

    Should be some stiff competition for the Insight-II if it really comes out at under $20,000.

    Still fugly all the same. Looks like it has a nose :rolleyes:
  13. xcel

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

    Hi Jud:

    ___To reiterate what Dan provided regarding 1) and 2). The EV button appears to require 4 + bars to use it? The two times I tried to use it was at 3-bars and the denial message appeared. Not sure about the 34-mph limit as I was not SG-II equipped to watch the tach. Dan told me privately he may have experienced some failed glides with the SG-II’s tach displayed so the EV button still should allow a FAS in the new Prius-III where we need it. Just not sure abut the EV limits as it appears ~ 25-mph is a new limit vs. 34 mph before?

    3), Yes unfortunately but we were told this back in Detroit and sure enough. The Fusion/Milan has it all over the Prius in this regard but the FFH/MMH are just too big and heavy to play with the Prius. Another item is I never saw a failed glide in the SG-II equipped MMH two weeks ago whereas Dan’s info says we may still have to deal with that :(

    4) Pulses... For me, I was just over the EV threshold bar (within one-quarter of the distance past the EV threshold) unless climbing and probably in the 1,400 to 1,500 RPM range during my pulses. It felt similar to the –II down in that range but rarely did I see above 25 mpg during a pulse and higher R’s made it worse than the acceleration gains addition for a longer glide. The mimic cannot be used to pull a good pulse “rate” anymore as it is not resolute enough imho.

    5) WS, yup.

    6) Not sure about the stages as I did not have to drive through them other than the 100% highway run in the middle of the night and I idle checked at the first stop just in case ;)

    7) Warm up should allow approximately 40% higher FE during the first 5-minutes. A 25 mpg 5-minute bar should be a 35 mpg 5-minute bar now. I did not have but one of these cycles other than the night drive. All the runs took us through the same EV out to the Highway and than pick it up in speed. I never checked the 1 and 5-minute graphs while out there unfortunately.

    ___There is something else about the 2010 Prius-III that is really going to help everyone. While at the gas station for the final middle of the night all-highway drive and first top off, EV’ing over to the air station and spinning the car around a few times for the other tires, Danny and I were booted up for approximately 15 to 20-minutes and we did not lose a single bar of SoC! The lights were shut off of course but the NAVI was up. I believe the Inverter/Transverter and overall static draw of the system (meaning car) is much more efficient than the Prius-II’s. If the Prius-II wastes ~ 400 W, and I suspect the Prius-III is well below 300.

    ___Basjoos, in mid to high 30 degree temps, I did not see it even for a few seconds. SoC came up to 6 bars and held but there was no flashing current arrows into and out of the pack on the Energy screen or the nice little jump into the 70’s and 80 mpg range on the iFCD that SHM reveals. This Prius-III includes an actual EGR and the lack of the exhaust valves closing late to draw in some of the exhaust for re-burn may have removed SHM as we know it? “If” the OEM FCD is accurate (I suspect it is over reporting as the fill shows), the Prius-III is more efficient on the highway than the –II given 65 mpg at a 50 mph DWL cruise in those temps will not yield that high of FE in an 09. I just cannot wait to see a 7-bar SoC in mid-summer with a prepped Prius-II in our hands on the highway. Then we will really know ;)

    ___Sandman, look at the Insight-II Preview and compare with the above. On the highway, the Insight-II will still take down a Prius-III but it is a lot closer for the average driver if the FCD’s can be belived.

    Insight-II on a 90% all-highway drive.

    Prius-III on a 90% plus all-highway drive.​

    ___The Prius-III probably cannot achieve what the Insight allowed below 55 mph although the Insight-II drive was in 60 degree temps with the Bridgestone’s at placard while the Prius-III was driven in 37 degree temps w/ the tires at 60 psi for that single one-off all-highway drive in the final hours of the Long Lead Preview. Above 55 mph however, the Insight-II’s shorter gearing will harm it far worse than the Prius-III’s extra tall solution with the 1.8L loafing. Again, not sure about the RPM’s at various highway speeds due to lack of an SG-II :(

    ___Around town, the Prius-III like the Prius-II will eat an IMA equipped Hybrid up and spit it out as unwanted refuse.

    ___Green VTEC, although the Prius-III was de-contented in some respects (no large MFD), smaller HSD componentry including smaller pack without as much cooling HW and a smaller and more efficient Inverter/Transverter, it still weighs 152 pounds more than its predecessor due to additional safety equipment, slightly larger engine and Exhaust Heat Recirculation system. The 110 pounds that was being touted at the Launch/Reveal in January and even at the Preview last month is not correct from what I received from Bill Kwong a few weeks ago. I updated the spec sheet reflecting the latest and unpublished info for this Preview early this morning.

    ___And of course the instrumentation provides more detail mostly due to the simple HSI display but having to scroll through the various displays including 5-minute bars, energy, consumption, LKA and Laser Cruise and trip histograms to get back to the HSI display is a PIA. Both Ford and Honda have it all over Toyota regarding this issue. Fortunately once the X-Gauges are found out and used, the Prius-III will be back in business. SG-II’s are definitely going to be a Prius-III staple for the type of driving we do so we would not have to cycle the screens while driving.

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  14. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Wayne and Dan;

    Awesome previews! So chock full of goodness and detail that I just can't wait to get my hands on one.;)

    A few personal notes of interest:
    1. I have no doubt that the Prius-III is going to be far superior in my winter climate than the Gen 2... particularly with the improved warm-up times and a more efficient/effective ICE under the sheet metal.
    2. I know we did not have much of a chance to try the TC (TRAC) on the Gen 3 but I am hopeful that when I get to try it, it will be less of an issue than what we have with the Gen 2's. Mind you, the 2007 are much improved and the episodes while fewer remain memorable even with good winter rubber on.
    3. In the hands of a dedicated hypermiler, Kilo-tanks should now be doable with ease. Now that the psychotic bladder is gone I can overlook the inherited over-estimation of the MPG knowing that the fill-ups are less of a guess.
    4. I can see the argument of HSD vs IMA dragging on for a generation or two more. I was really hoping that the Gen 3 Prius would close the book entirely and conclusively on IMA hybrids with regards to highway FE. It is pretty close though and once the community starts playing with the Prius-III "en-masse" I am almost certain we'll find an Easter egg ... just in time to please the hypermiling community.
    5. On this front I am a bit impressed with the Insight-II and I wonder which of the two vehicles will offer the most to a hard-core "pull-all-stops" hypermiler? However, there's no question: The Prius III is the undisputed top FE miser for the masses. On the price front though, the HI-II may still be a good enough highway commuter... enough for it to tempt many on the market for a newer gen hybrid to save more green by going with the Insight. While I don't think they compete directly I do see an opportunity for that kind of reasoning. Would I make it? Heck, no. A Gen III Prius would arrive to my driveway sooner. ;)
    6. Heating and cooling effectiveness. I don't know if things are much different when compared to the Prius-II. Now that the dash layout has reduced the feeling of airiness I am assuming that the climate control will better manage the air flow without having to cool-warm the greenhouse first.
    7. Suspension feel in cold Icy roads. On the Prius II it can feel flat and very stiff when driven in very cold weather. While this is normal for all cars, the rear suspension design may have a bit to do with this. From the videos I got in Detroit, I noticed that there were subtle design changes to the main suspension components and horizontal geometry in the rear of the vehicle and I am hoping this makes the ride a little more accommodating of mother nature and the bumpiness of the icy road. I still would like to see a fully independent rear suspension, but then where would the pack go?

  15. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    Nice to see a set of concise reviews rather than the somewhat
    disjoint report-snippets we were getting out of the Detroit event
    in January. That didn't include any driving, of course. From
    what y'all say maybe the new shifter position isn't that bad
    after all, but I still see the "bridge" putting a crimp in being
    able to load big ol' hunks of rusty iron pipe all the way to the
    front of the car.
    So, Wayne, when do you trade in the Accord??
  16. xcel

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

    Hi Manuel:

    ___I think you are thinking along the same lines as I am regarding HSD vs. IMA and the Insight-II. IMA still relies on the wonderful small ICE that Honda makes so brilliantly plus it does have the current price advantage. Sort of? If the Prius-III comes in at anywhere near the Insight-II EX's price, the Insight's market potential is destroyed because it does not have the capabilities, utility or potential.

    ___Al, with the Corolla, Ranger, Accord and MDX paid off, one is on order but it all depends on price... Just like everything else nowadays ;)

    ___Good Luck

  17. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    Toyota decides on Prius sales
    NEW YORK — Toyota says it will not sell the 2010 Prius alongside the current model when the updated hybrid arrives at U.S. dealerships later this year, a departure from its strategy in Japan. The third-generation Prius goes on sale in the U.S. this spring. In Japan, Toyota has said it will sell both the third-generation model and the smaller existing vehicle together, a move likely meant to counter the economy-priced Honda Insight. In the U.S., Toyota says the existing Prius will remain in dealerships only until inventory runs out. Toyota prices the current Prius at $22,000 and has not yet priced the 2010.


    I wonder if this means really good prices on the remaining 2009 models??
  18. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    out of curiosity can a insight II eat out a civic hybrid 2nd gen on the highway?
  19. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    The Insight is geared lower so probably not.
  20. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Phil

    Unfortunately, no.

Share This Page