2005 Toyota PriusPosted on June 1st, 2005
Fifty-five miles-per-gallon is just one of the things to love about Toyota’s hybrid sedan
By Nina Russin
When Toyota decided to produce hybrid cars, its engineers had the choice of either outsourcing the technology, or developing a system internally. While doing the latter involved longer development time, it had some distinct advantages.
Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive system is completely proprietary. Because the system was developed internally, Toyota doesn’t have to rely on outside manufacturers to supply components. It is easier to transfer the technology between models, and to evolve.
A quick comparison between the first-generation Prius and the current model is proves how significant that evolution is. The original Prius utilized an air conditioning compressor that operated off of the gas engine. When the car idled and operated purely on electric power, the compressor turned off. It doesn’t take long for a car interior to get hot in the southwest, where summer temperatures are typically in the triple digits.
The current model uses an electric-powered air compressor that operates whenever the ignition is on. It keeps the car cool in extreme heat , without reducing fuel economy.
There are other big improvements as well: better acceleration, a larger interior and cargo area, available keyless ignition, and a Bluetooth-compatible navigation system among them. In a summer of rising fuel prices, its exceptional fuel economy is reason enough to check the Prius out.
Better Power and Better Tires
While fuel economy was the primary concern for the original Prius, performance was equally important for its successor. The Prius needed to be more than a “green” car; it had to be fun to drive. The 2005 model uses a 1.5-liter, four cylinder gas engine in tandem with a permanent-magnet drive motor.
While the gas engine is relatively small, the new drive motor is fifty percent more powerful than its predecessor. The Prius accelerates from zero-to-sixty in about ten seconds, and passes vehicles on the highway with ease.
Electronic throttle and steering controls make the car especially responsive to driver inputs. A more robust standard tire gives the new model better traction, which is especially noticeable when driving on rain or snow-covered roads.
A continuously variable transmission does not have fixed gear ratios, so there is no lag between shifts. Because the transmission can vary the gear ratios according to driving conditions, it also enhances fuel economy.
The regenerative braking system automatically recharges the battery when the vehicle is coasting or when the brakes are applied. The Prius utilizes a nickel-metal hydride battery: the same type of battery used in personal computers. Hybrid components are covered by factory warranty for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
More Room for Passengers and Cargo
The five-door design of the current model makes it easy to access the rear cargo area. Flip the two rear seats down and it’s easy to load in a road bike with the front wheel on. Take the wheel off, and the cargo area can hold two bikes.
A weekend’s worth of camping gear is not a problem. For daily use, there’s a tonneau cover to keep valuables out of sight, and cargo nets to secure small items so that they don’t roll around on the floor.
The Prius comes standard with cloth upholstery. The seats are comfortable and have adequate back support. The manual adjustments are easy to use.
The cupholders in the center console are large enough to hold water bottles, and there are bottle holders molded into the map pockets in the front doors.
A unique gear shift design saves space and gives the instrument panel a high-tech appearance. A small lever to the right of the steering wheel can be operated with a couple of fingers. The driver uses the lever to put the car into drive, neutral or reverse modes.
A standard audible alarm sounds when the car is in reverse, since the electric motor works silently. A separate button on the dash shifts the vehicle into park.
Keyless ignition models have a start button on the instrument panel to start and stop the car. A special ignition fob enables the system. It also automatically unlocks the door when the driver approaches the vehicle.
Standard steering wheel controls for the air conditioner and audio system mean less driver distraction. Other standard comfort and convenience options include rear intermittent wiper, cruise control, an air filtration system, heated side mirrors, power windows and door locks.
All models come with a six-speaker audio system, that includes an AM/FM radio and CD player. An optional nine-speaker system includes an in-dash 6 CD changer.
State of the Art Safety
All models come with standard antilock brakes. Side and side curtain airbags are optional, as is a stability control system integrates antilock braking, traction and yaw control. Front seatbelts have standard pretension and force limiters. There are 3-point seatbelts in all seating positions.
Available Navigation System
The optional navigation system is Bluetooth compatible. Cellular telephones that are wired for Bluetooth allow the driver and passengers to make hands-free calls. The touch screen in the instrument panel incorporates the mapping function and several information displays, including power graph that displays real-time fuel economy and battery charge.
A Hybrid Car Without Compromise
The Toyota Prius is an easy car to love. It is comfortable to ride in no matter how hot or cold the weather gets. The interior is spacious and comfortable. The cargo area is easy to access, and big enough to hold large items. The tires have good traction.
The hybrid powertrain has plenty of muscle to provide good acceleration at any speed. And best of all, the Prius gets almost twice the mileage out of a gallon of gas as a conventional midsize sedan. If you’ve wondered why a vehicle that Toyota doesn’t advertise still has a six-month waiting list, this article has probably answered your questions.
Base Price: $20,875
Price as Tested: $26,880
Torque: 82 lbs.-ft. @ 4200 r.p.m.
0 to 60: 10.0 seconds
ABS Brakes: Standard
Side Curtain Airbags: Option
First-Aid Kit: No
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 60/51 mpg. city/highway
Comments: Manufacturer’s list price does not include a $540 delivery and handling fee.
One response to “2005 Toyota Prius”
Very informative comments. You mentioned some valid ideas that I had not considered before. I will check back to follow if you post any updates.
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