Toyota shows off the third generation Prius

Although the 2010 Prius was first leaked to the public in mid-October, Toyota today took the time to officially unveil its third-generation hybrid today at the Detroit Auto Show. The 2010 Prius builds upon the solid foundation of the first two generations and brings some new ammunition to the hybrid part this time around the block.

As previously reported on DailyTech, the new Prius uses a larger 1.8-liter gasoline engine which is paired with a significantly improved Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) -- Toyota says that the HSD is 90 percent new, torque losses are 20 percent less, and the hybrid components are now 20 percent lighter. The gasoline engine now pumps out 90 HP and 105 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor now is rated at 80 HP with 153 lb-ft of torque -- total combined power is 134 HP.

The increase in power hasn't done much for performance, however. Toyota quotes that 0-60 is achieved in 9.8 seconds. While this is an improvement over the previous model by more than a second, it's still not exactly what most people would call "fast" by any means.

The 2010 Prius is instantly recognizable as the most iconic hybrid on the planet and shares much stylistically with the second generation model. Toyota refined the shape to make it cut through the air -- in fact; the new model's coefficient of drag (Cd) is now 0.25 instead of 0.26 for the previous model.

When it comes to technology, the Prius again doesn't disappoint. The vehicle will be available with a moonroof package that incorporates solar panels to power a ventilation system. The vehicle will also be available with remote air conditioning which runs on battery power.

Other available options will include LED lighting front and rear, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent Parking Assist, and a backup monitor.

When it comes to the one aspect of the Prius that everyone wants to know about, fuel economy, Toyota just gives one statistic: 50 MPG combined (city/highway). That figure is based on Toyota's own internal testing and doesn't reflect the final numbers which will come down from the Environmental Protection Agency (EP).

Pricing also wasn't announced; however, expect Toyota to hold the line to compete with the sub-$20,000 Honda Insight.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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