It was recently reported by two local Japanese papers, Chunichi and Nikkei, that the Japanese car giant Toyota is looking to outsell the 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid through its 2010 Toyota Prius when it becomes available for sale in the middle of May this year. So far, there are about 20,000 orders of the 2010 Toyota Prius according to the news publications.
This number is expected to double when the Prius actually hits the market said one unnamed official from Toyota. As was noted many times before, Toyota met the Insight threat by selling a stripped down version of its 2009 Prius at the same price of the Insight and that it will lower the price tag for its 2010 model in contrast to the 2009 model.
The latest Prius is estimated to cost around JPY2.05 million ($20,750), considerably cheaper than the preceding model's JPY2.33 million ($23,448).
The Honda Insight did well during its first month of sales with each Insight priced at JPY1.89 million ($19,021) with sales target almost quadrupled from 5,000 monthly to the actual 18,000 units sold.
Japanese government is currently contemplating tax incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles of up to $3,000, which will certainly boost Insight and Prius sales.
In January at the 2009 North American International Auto show (Detroit Auto Show), Toyota unveiled the third-generation Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. According to Toyota, the third-generation of the Prius will be delivering better mileage, improved performance as well as innovative design features.
Compared to its predecessors, the new 2010 Prius is quieter and roomier, and comes equipped with advanced standard and available features like a moonroof with solar panels and steering wheel touch controls displayed on the instrument panel.
The 2010 Toyota Prius comes powered by a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4 cylinder engine in combination with Toyota's latest Synergy Drive hybrid system. In contrast to common knowledge, the larger engine in fact improves highway mileage by producing more torque, thereby allowing the mill to operate at lower rpms.
When the engine operates at a lower rpm, it utilizes lesser fuel. Furthermore, in cold-start conditions mileage is also improved at higher speeds.
Top power output for the 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4 cylinder engine is 98 hp, with up to 105 lb.-ft. of torque. On the other hand, the electric motor can deliver 80 hp of max output and 153 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Combined, the system propels the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. The efficiency of the new 2010 Prius is further enhanced by the use of an electric water pump and the latest exhaust gas recirculation system.