2014 Toyota Prius Mostly Keeps Up Status Quo

Back before the Prius broke out into different size models and plug-in offerings you had just the core Toyota hybrid that’s gone on to sell over 1.5 million vehicles in the United States alone since 2000. The 2014 offering of the leader of the hybrid market segment is getting ready to hit Toyota showrooms, and there’s some stuff to note before you go out and buy one, though most of it is nothing new to really report on.

Most notably, as in years past, are the gas mileage ratings. For the 2014 Prius model year, Toyota said its hybrid has ratings of 51 MPG city / 48 MPG highway / 50 MPG combined. The Japanese automaker has evolved its technology in these vehicles over the years, thus representing, for example, that the combined figure is nearly a 25-percent higher estimate than for the smaller first-generation Prius.

image via Toyota

image via Toyota

As for the hybrid drivetrain in the Prius, Toyota said of it that it

combines the output of a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine with and electric motor. The combined 134 net system horsepower feels even stronger to the driver due to the unique way the system combines the power of the gasoline engine and electric motor.

A full hybrid, the Prius can run on the gasoline engine alone, battery alone, or a combination of both. The driver can select from among four driving modes, “Normal,” “POWER,” ECO” and “EV.” The EV Mode allows driving on battery power alone at low speeds for about a mile, if conditions permit. POWER Mode increases sensitivity to throttle input for a sportier feel; ECO Mode helps drivers enhance fuel economy by adjusting throttle input and climate control. A standard Multi-information Display panel monitors the vehicle’s fuel and battery energy, and includes a display that helps the driver adopt economical driving habits.

Prius uses an electric water pump and electric power steering and uses no accessory drive belts. As a result, efficiency is enhanced and maintenance costs are potentially reduced. Regenerative braking helps to recapture electrical energy under deceleration, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.

Four model trims are being offered for 2014, with models Three and Four having an optional “sliding glass moonroof packaged with solar panels, located over the rear seating area. These power a ventilation system that helps reduce the interior air temperature when the car is parked in the sun. The available remote air conditioning system allows remote operation, enabling the driver to lower the interior temperature for comfort before getting into the car.”

Also of optional interest is a factory installed accessory package to give the car a “sporty look and sharper handling.” It includes a seven-piece aerodynamic ground effects kit for a lower-profile stance that also helps maintain fuel efficiency; 17-inch forged alloy wheels with a custom offset to increase track width; track-tuned springs that lower the vehicle “to enhance steering response and cornering performance” and a rear stabilizer bar that helps reduce body lean for flatter cornering.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

  • hljmesa

    Naw……..The Ford C-Max Plug-in is the car to buy ! ! Specifically the Energi..It has an EV mode that lets you drive 18-22 miles in the electric only mode. And best of all, it is made in America. No boat transport to get it to your dealer.

    • Alex

      While I do understand where you are coming from with regard to the Prius, I do have some additional thoughts on your post – namely that by your logic, the Chevy Volt is the true “car to buy” since it’s MSRP is almost identical to the C-Max, gets literally twice as much EV range (40 miles), and is also “made in america”. Add to that the fact that you get a much larger tax incentive (making it’s actual price much lower than C-Max) because of that larger battery. *anyway, just some friendly food for thought* ;)

  • Brett

    As somebody who has owned a 07 Prius with 225k miles and bought it new I
    would disagree with both statements about the C-Max and Volt. It’s
    apples to oranges. You need to compare it to Prius PHY (Plug-In Hybrid).
    Also, setting aside the entire ‘Ford vs Chevy vs Foreign’ argument,
    let’s look just at the technology. Toyota has been making the Prius and
    improving this exact technology since 1997. I replaced my original
    brakes at 196k miles. My AC blower around 185k miles. I replace tires
    every 40k miles (which for me is about once a year). I drive all over
    the midwest with occasional trips that up to 16 hours one way and still
    get up to 50 mpg on a tank of gas. For a full gas hybrid I have had up
    to 575 miles on a tank of gas….remember the tank is 11.9 gallons. I
    have also been able to drive up 15 miles while remaining at 40 mpg and
    below on all electric. Point being – all hybrid cars and technology are
    good for us. I look for reliability, resale value and fuel economy.
    Consumer Reports just listed the C-Max very poorly. It is a great
    looking vehicle. The market is still maturing and we need every legit
    player out there so I hope they all do well as competition drives
    innovation.