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#4

in 2010 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $14,296 - $15,172
Original MSRP: $22,800 - $28,070
MPG: 51 City / 48 Hwy
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2010 Toyota Prius Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The passenger cabin of the 2010 Toyota Prius offers more space in every dimension than previous editions of the car. Its seats, reviewers say, are significantly more comfortable for 2010. Interior fit and finish are good as well.

But buyers will have to get accustomed to the unusual styling of the Prius’ cabin. The driver and front passenger are separated by a tall, sharply-angled console that houses most of the climate and entertainment functions. An unusual, joystick-style shifter that snaps back to center after you release it only adds to the futuristic ambiance. Those in search of a more conventional car experience with hybrid fuel economy might want to explore the Honda Insight, which looks much like a Honda Civic from the inside.

  • "When you sit in the 2010 Toyota Prius, you notice all those little things that provide the 'Prius experience' - the shift lever, information screen, center-mounted instrument panel - are all present, but they're slightly different and noticeably improved." -- Autoblog
  • "The Prius interior is not what you'd call luxurious, but it still represents an upgrade over the previous car's and is certainly roomier and more plush than the cabin of the new Honda Insight. Cabin ergonomics and the displays that monitor the activities of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system are top-notch." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Automotive journalists often struggle to describe how one interior feels more upscale than another, or how one type of plastic can feel cheap and another won't - these things just are. With the Prius, Toyota made a number of good choices on both materials and eye-pleasing color combinations." -- Cars.com
  • "As for the cabin tech, it's a minor step above what can be had in the current model. The navigation system has improved menu graphics, but is largely the same. It does incorporate live traffic now, a welcome addition. For the audio system, the Prius has a disc slot behind the LCD, satellite radio, and an auxiliary input. The big addition for audio sources is Bluetooth streaming audio, but we would still like to see either a USB port or iPod integration." -- CNET
  • "The Prius is also a nicer place to spend time, with more room in the rear seat for big boys and girls, nicer materials and a lot of fancy tech features that are fun to use." -- Jalopnik

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Seating

The 2010 Toyota Prius features large, comfortable seats with lots of room in front. Optional leather surfaces are soft, and near the quality of leather found in luxury cars. A few reviewers say the switches that control the available seat warmers, however, are oddly placed. Some reviewers also complain that excessive road noise interferes with passenger comfort.

The rear seat of the Prius is fine for two adults, but too tight for three. They are almost four inches narrower than the rear seats of a comparable Toyota Camry Hybrid, giving the Prius one of the narrowest rear seats in its class. We found it possible to install two child safety seats side-by-side, but it was a more difficult endeavor than it is in most cars. Those in need of a full-size rear seat may want to consider the Camry Hybrid or Ford Fusion Hybrid.

  • "The front seats are noticeably wider, more adjustable, and more supportive, addressing a major customer complaint." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Shorter drivers in particular may appreciate the new height-adjustable seat and telescopic steering wheel. Standard cloth seats are softer than most, and some may feel they lack support, but the leather seats on IV and V models are firmer." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The front seats have really been upgraded, a project Toyota says it spent a lot of time on. The new model is definitely more comfortable. Even with the base model's fabric seats, there's plenty of cushioning on the bottom and plenty of support for the back. The leather seats in the top two trim levels are quite nice, and they definitely up the ante in terms of luxury." -- Cars.com
  • "Unfortunately, there are also downsides to the revised interior. Foremost on our list of things we don't like are the heated seat switches, which have bizarrely been located down by the driver's feet. We predict a class action lawsuit filed by completely detestable human beings who couldn't figure out that they probably shouldn't attempt to operate these controls on the move." -- Jalopnik
  • "With some new materials, moldings and seat frames, there's more room in the front cabin and a little more legroom in the back." -- Los Angeles Times

Interior Features

The materials used in the passenger cabin of the Prius are high-quality. The ergonomic design pleases most reviewers. A new Touch Tracer Display has won raves from reviewers. It shows adjustments to climate and entertainment functions high up in the instrument cluster so that drivers can adjust settings without taking their eyes off the road.

A fuel economy gauge designed to coach drivers toward more fuel-efficient driving is standard, but several reviewers say that a similar system found in the Ford Fusion Hybrid is superior to Toyota’s approach.

  • "One of the standard features I thought was a terrific use of technology is what Toyota calls the Touch Tracer display. When you place your finger on the steering-wheel control for the radio or climate system, a display pops up in the dash where vehicle speed and other readouts are housed...The display highlights what control your finger is over, and once you visually confirm which button your finger is on, all you have to do is press down slightly harder to make your selection." -- Cars.com
  • "One change we don't like so much is that Toyota removed the power flow animation and trip data from the LCD. Instead, this information is shown on the instrument cluster, which, as on the previous Prius, sits in a long display just below the windshield. Unfortunately, the graphics on the instrument cluster are far inferior to what was shown on the LCD. Toyota made this change so that even if you didn't get the optional navigation system, you would still get the power flow display. We think it's time the LCD was standard." -- CNET
  • "While the Prius uses a similarly functional economy gauge to the Honda Insight and Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota's falls behind both in usefulness and far behind Ford's in looks." -- Jalopnik

Cargo

The Prius hatchback design has its advantages, and its flaws. The total available volume measures a class-competitive 15.7 cubic feet -- but that assumes stacking items all the way to the glass, blocking rear visibility. Beneath the cargo cover, it offers the equivalent of a much smaller trunk. In-cabin storage is excellent, except for the odd omission of map pockets.

  • “Prius offers hatchback versatility with 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, but the sloped tail and high floor preclude toting tall items with the hatch closed. There's a large underfloor bin at the rear of the cargo area that can hold the roll-up cargo cover when it's removed--a handy touch. Cabin storage is plentiful, and includes a large bin under the raised center console, upper and lower gloveboxes, and a two-tiered console box.” -- Consumer Guide

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