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A new decontented Prius becomes America's cheapest hybrid

The cost of entry for Toyota's wildly popular Prius hybrid just got a little bit cheaper. Toyota announced on Monday that it would introduce a new "standard model" for the 2008 Prius which will start at $20,950 -- down from $22,175 for the previous base 2007 Prius.

The price cut effectively makes the Prius the cheapest hybrid available on the market. The crown was previously held by the Saturn Aura Green Line which has a base MSRP of $22,695 including destination fee.

There is no word on what features Toyota cut to drop the price by over $1,000, but possible targets might include traction control, heated mirrors and steering wheel radio controls.

The Prius wasn't the only Toyota hybrid to receive a price cut -- the company announced last week that the Camry Hybrid would receive a $1,000 price cut for the 2008 model year. In order to reach the lower $25,860 price point, Toyota ditched the leather steering wheel/shift knob, Homelink and JBL audio system among other things.

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traction control? on a Prius?
By exdeath on 8/1/2007 3:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why does a car like the Prius have traction control?

I've never heard of a 110 HP FWD car going sideways on the throttle... you probably couldn't break the wheels loose in the rain with a manual.

As for the torque of the electric motor, thats all modulated electronically, so I don't see that as being a cost saving measure when the hardware and software for running the electric motors has to be there no matter what...


By Il Signiore Schwoopy on 8/1/2007 4:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
Traction control is indeed integrated into the motor conotrol, and it's primarily there to prevent overspeeding the motor in extremely slick conditions. What's probably going to be deleted is "Vehicle Stability Control," which modulates the brakes independently on each wheel to assist with yaw control on slippery roads.

The stock tires don't have the greatest traction because they're low rolling resistance. It's easier to break them loose than you might think.

By piroroadkill on 8/2/2007 7:12:15 AM , Rating: 2
I can break traction in my 60hp fwd van if I cane it from the lights, and I have narrow-ass tyres. In the wet I can get it into a decent slide.

You don't need colossal power to do stupid things in a car.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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