From Toyota press: Introduced in spring 2009, the all-new 2010 Toyota Prius has once again set new standards for innovative hybrid design and technology, raising its level of convenience features and performance to new heights, including a combined EPA estimated fuel efficiency rating of 50 miles per gallon.
Credited with establishing hybrid technology as a foundation for future vehicles, the three generations of the Prius model have delivered superior fuel economy and ultra-low emissions for more than 1.3 million owners worldwide for more than 10 years.
The midsize third-generation 2010 Prius offers even better mileage ratings, enhanced performance, and innovative design features. The patented Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the 2010 Prius is 90-percent newly developed, with significant improvements over previous models. The third-generation Prius is quieter and roomier than previous models, as well. It is equipped with advanced standard and available features such as a moonroof with solar panels, four driving modes, Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) and steering wheel touch controls that display on the instrument panel.
The 2010 Prius extends its record of continuous improvement in fuel economy. The first-generation Prius was rated 41 EPA combined mpg, and the second-generation model achieved EPA combined 46 mpg rating. Using a combination of technologies, Toyota increased fuel efficiency for the new Prius to an EPA estimated 51 mpg in city driving, 48 mpg highway and a combined 50 mpg.
A larger and more powerful 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine produces 98 horsepower at 5,200 rpm in the new Prius. Together with its electric motor, the hybrid system generates a combined 134 net horsepower, an improvement of 24 horsepower over the previous generation.
The new, larger engine helps improve performance and also helps improve highway mileage. The 2010 Prius can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. By producing greater torque, the new engine can run at lower average rpm on the highway, thereby using less fuel. Mileage is especially improved in cold-start conditions and at higher speeds.
Use of an electric water pump and a new exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system also contributes to the engine’s efficiency. The 1.8-liter Prius engine is the first Toyota powerplant that requires no accessory drive belts, helping enhance powertrain efficiency and also potentially reducing maintenance costs.
Unlike many other hybrid vehicles available, Prius has been an uncompromised “full” hybrid since introduction. This allows it to run on engine alone, battery alone, or a combination of both. With the series-parallel Hybrid Synergy Drive system, Prius can operate on electric power only and charge its batteries while running.