From Toyota press: The Toyota Prius continues to lead the market for hybrid automobiles that it started over a decade ago. With its 50-MPG fuel economy rating, Prius is the most fuel-efficient passenger car available in the U.S. today. Prius offers its stellar fuel economy in a versatile five-passenger package that is recognized as a midsize car by the EPA. Toyota has sold 880 thousand Prius models in the U.S. since 2000.
The third-generation Prius was all-new for the 2010 model year, with even better mileage ratings, enhanced performance, and more innovative design features than the esteemed second-generation version. The 2011 Prius carries over with such innovative features as a moonroof with solar panels, four driving modes, Advanced Guidance Parking System and steering wheel touch controls that display on the instrument panel.
The Toyota Prius – now synonymous with “hybrid” – entered the market in 1997 as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid. The company’s exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive System was introduced in 2004 on the second-generation Prius. The Prius helped boost public awareness for the automobile’s role in the environment, specifically putting a focus on improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
The current Prius extends its record of continuous improvement in fuel economy. The first-generation Prius was estimated at 41 EPA combined MPG, and the second-generation model achieved a 46 MPG EPA combined 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. Mileage is especially improved in cold-start conditions and at higher speeds.