Toyota Prices 2010 Prius Below 2009 Model
By Chris Haak
Today, Toyota released pricing information on its forthcoming 2010 Prius, which hits Toyota dealers nationwide in late May. It’s great news for those in the market for a new car, because pricing starts at just $21,000 for the entry-level model. A more popularly-equipped trim level – with $2,000 in additional standard features – will go for $22,000, which is the starting price of the 2009 base model. The new 2010 base model will remove some equipment to get to the lower price point for “value conscious” customers, but will not be available at launch.
While the Prius will still be more expensive than its former and future arch-rival, the Honda Insight (which is priced at $19,800 plus $670 in destination charges, for a total of $20,470). Although Toyota’s press release didn’t get into details such as what the 2010 Prius’ destination charge will be, assuming that it’s the same as the $750 charge of the current model, that puts the entry-level Prius at $21,750 against the Insight’s $20,470.
However, for the extra $1,280 (or 6.3%), the Prius gives significantly better fuel economy (50 mpg combined for the Prius; 41 mpg combined for the Insight, or 22.0% better) and higher levels of standard equipment. The Prius is more powerful, more spacious, and better looking (at least in my opinion).
Toyota has not announced any of the standard equipment in the so-called “Prius I,” but the next-highest model, the Prius II, includes:
- Smart key (driver’s door only) and pushbutton start
- 15 inch wheels and all-season tires
- Multi-information display
- EV, Eco, and Power ECU modes
- Seven airbags
- Four wheel disc brakes
- Power windows
- Color-keyed foldable power mirrors
- Tilt/telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls
As usual, the company has masterfully managed public relations, especially around its image flagship. Even though Toyota may not know exactly what features from the above list will disappear from the Prius II to become the Prius I, here I am reporting that the 2010 Prius is priced $1,000 below the old model (not counting the 2009 model’s current $1,000 rebate).
Each [very uncreatively named] trim level adds additional standard equipment. Prius III includes a JBL audio system and Bluetooth for another $1,000 on top of the Prius II. Prius IV adds a three-door smart key system, leather seats, water repellent windows (never heard of those before), air ionizer, and HomeLink for another $2,800 on top of the Prius III. Finally, Prius V adds 17 inch alloy wheels, auto-leveling LED headlamps, and foglamps for another $1,470. The final MSRP of a Prius V would be $27,270 (excluding destination, which I’m estimating at $750, which puts the tab at $28,020.
Navigation is available on the Prius III, IV, and V for another $1,800. The much-ballyhooed Solar Roof package (which adds a solar-powered ventilation system and remote air conditioning) is $3,600 on top of a Prius III and IV, but includes the Navigation Package in the price. Finally, the Advanced Technology package, available only on the Prius V, adds a hefty $4,500 to the price of the Prius V (making the most expensive model $31,770, or about $32,520 including destination). The Advanced Technology package includes navigation, dynamic laser cruise control, lane keep assist, and intelligent parking system (similar to the system in the more than three-times-more-expensive Lexus LS600hL’s optional self-parking system).
If my wife was in the market for a new car, she’d give the Prius serious consideration because of its environmental benefits. The car’s expected performance, while a solid improvement over the 2008 model that I tested last year, will not be enough to interest me, but I do like the high-tech features that are available. Were we buying one, I think I’d skip the impractical Advanced Technology package – which is mostly good for dinner party conversation (“hey, my car can park itself”) and which would be annoying on a daily basis (the lane keep assist feature, if it’s anything like Infiniti’s implementation of that). Instead, I’d go for a Prius V and add the navigation package. That way I’d get the larger wheels (which make the car far less dorky-looking) and nice comfort features, but skipping the technology for technology’s sake. Such a car would cost $29,070, or $29,820 including destination. If I could live without the 17 inch wheels, I’d be content with a Prius IV. As much as my “dream Prius” would have the larger wheels as in the photo above, I could completely live without LED headlamps and foglamps, while saving almost $1,500.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go read about something with more than a 98 horsepower engine, Otherwise, my gearhead credentials will be revoked. Shame on me for the Prius daydream, right?
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