Car review: 2013 Toyota Prius
The 2013 Toyota Prius has seven airbags as standard, along with the usual array of stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Radar-based adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, and a rear-view camera are all optional. While Ford's system is better, Toyota's much-advertised Intelligent Parking Assist, which controls the steering wheel to help parallel-park a Prius using the car's cameras--though the driver must brake--is a step in the right direction. A further option is a "Safety Connect" system that will alert first responders after a crash.
For 2013, the Prius five-door continues with its traditional four trim levels: Two, Three, Four, and Five. (An ultra-stripped-down base-level Prius One exists, but civilians can't buy it--it's only offered to commercial fleets.) Notable options include the Touch Tracer steering-wheel controls, which let drivers swipe and navigate through menus displayed in the Information Display, keeping their eyes closer to the road ahead than if they focus on the close-in cluster.
The lowest-level Two and Three models are priced in the low and mid twenties, but the highest-spec trim levels--with either the Technology Package or the first-in-your-neighborhood solar moonroof panel, which runs a small ventilation fan to cool the cockpit when the Prius is parked--will go beyond $30,000. Remote air conditioning, LED headlamps, Bluetooth, and a navigation system are available.
The sole trim change for 2013 is the addition of a special edition called the Prius Persona Series. This trim package is effectively a Prius Three model with 17-inch alloy wheels in a special finish, a Black Cherry Pearl exterior color (Blizzard Pearl and Black are also available), charcoal interior trim with black accents, red stitching on the seats, dark-chrome interior accents, and a special exterior badge.
The other two members of the 2013 Toyota Prius family, added last year, are the Prius V wagon and the Prius C subcompact hatchback, both reviewed separately.
The Prius V offers far more load space, all the traditional Prius virtues, and a combined EPA gas-mileage rating of 42 mpg--though it sometimes can feel underpowered. The Prius C subcompact is more lithe and sporty--in comparison to the mid-size Liftback, nayway. Its smaller engine and battery pack, and simpler interior, give it a base price under $20,000, while retaining a 50-mpg combined gas mileage rating.
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