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2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

5dr HB (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 48 MPG City - 45 MPG Highway

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  • $21,725 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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2006 Toyota Prius

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Toyota Prius is more than a car. It's a phenomenon. It's proof that more people than Toyota imagined want to drive cars with significantly improved fuel economy and radically less environmental impact. Toyota has boosted production to keep up with the demand, and the 2006 model benefits from the addition of new advanced airbags and other safety technology plus new comfort and convenience features.

This second-generation Prius, introduced as a 2004 model, is larger than the original, and is now a midsize car. It's roomy, with adult-size back seats and lots of cargo space. It's pleasant to look at, with sleek, futuristic styling, easy to spot in a parking lot.

The Prius is rated 60/51 mpg City/Highway by the federal government's Environmental Protection Agency, with a Combined rating of 55 mpg. You're more likely to see less, maybe 41 to 48 mpg. Don't blame the manufacturer for the difference. Hybrid powerplants do well in EPA testing and your driving style will determine your mileage.

The real justification to buy a Prius is its extremely low emissions. The Prius produces almost no pollution and is one of the most environmentally friendly vehicles you can drive. It's an excellent choice for buyers who want to reduce air pollution and America's dependence on oil. The Prius isn't cheap, but it's an amazing piece of engineering.

It's important to understand that the Prius is not an electric car. You never plug it in. And there's no worry about driving beyond the range of the battery. A small, highly efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine charges the battery as you drive. No special knowledge is needed to drive this car. It works just like a regular car: You get in, you twist the key, you put the lever in Drive and you go. When it gets low on gas, you fill it up.

The Prius is the best-selling gas-electric hybrid in the United States and in the world and it's only gaining in popularity. When it debuted as a compact in 2001, Toyota sold just 5,600 in the U.S. By 2003, U.S. sales had expanded to nearly 25,000. For 2004, Toyota redesigned the Prius, turning it into midsize car and completely re-engineering its mechanical and electrical systems. It's now much more attractive to many more people. Toyota sold nearly 54,000 Prius models in the U.S. in 2004 and nearly 108,000 in 2005. It was praised by the press and was named 2004 North American Car of the Year by a jury of 50 independent automotive journalists, including the editor of New Car Test Drive.

The 2006 Toyota Prius is not only an impressive technological statement, it's a car that's easy to like and live with.

For 2006, the headlights and taillights have been redesigned, the interior has been improved with nicer materials and more features. A host of safety improvements for 2006 make this feature-packed technological wonder that much more enticing. Among them: new advanced airbags, a tire-pressure monitor, and an optional rear back-up camera.

Model Lineup

The 2006 Toyota Prius comes in one well-equipped trim level ($21,725).

Standard features include automatic air conditioning with a micron filter, fabric upholstery, power windows, door locks and heated outside mirrors; remote keyless entry; cruise control; a tilting steering wheel with redundant climate and audio controls; intermittent front and rear wipers; and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.

Options are bundled into packages. Package 1 ($650) is the side-impact and curtain airbags. Package 2 ($825) includes the backup camera, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers, and the Smart Key system. Package 6 ($6,890) bundles all of the above with leather-trimmed seats, GPS navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth capability, a nine-speaker JBL stereo with six-disc CD changer, electronic Vehicle Skid Control, fog lamps, and HID headlamps.

Safety is enhanced with antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and traction control. Standard passive safety features include new multi-stage, dual front airbags; three-point seatbelts and head restraints at all five seating positions; and rear seat head restraints that are adjustable. Curtain airbags designed to offer head protection for front and rear passengers and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection for driver and front-seat passenger are optional ($650). There is also a tire pressure monitoring system to warn the driver if presures get too low (which can affect fuel economy as well as safety), and an optional rear-view camera to help avoid hard to see objects behind you.

Walkaround

The Toyota Prius is beautiful in its simplicity, with graceful, fluid lines that make it look futuristic.

The pinched-down nose is helpful for knifing through the air with little resistance. The quarter panels and doors are sleek and clean. The sole character line is a tasteful indentation in the lower region of the doors, visually connecting the creases marking the lower limits of the working area of the front and rear bumpers.

The side view makes clear the stylists' devotion to aerodynamics. A steeply raked windshield carries the hood's acute angle rearward. An even more steeply raked backlight (rear windscreen) ends in a high spoiler that trips the air stream as it leaves the car, maximizing the aero advantage of the car's almost-vertical back end. Sleek rear quarter windows do more to visually enhance the aerodynamic look than they do for outward visibility.

The Prius looks under-tired, almost as if the tires were left out when the rest of the car was made larger. The narrow tires probably help fuel ecnomy, but they clash visually with the proportions.

The headlights and taillight clusters have been restyled for the 2006 models. The headlights are compound units that house the running lights, side marker lights and turn indicators. Vertically stacked, compound taillights wear modish clear lenses and bookend the lower section of the liftgate. Integrated into the liftgate, and running its width beneath the rear spoiler, is a strip of glass adding critical rearward visibility for the driver.

The first-generation 2001-03 Prius was classified as a compact by the EPA, but the current, second-generation Prius is considered a midsize car. Its wheelbase (the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels) is about 6 inches longer than before, yielding a more stable ride and more leg room inside.

Interior Features

The Prius is surprisingly roomy inside. Passenger volume measures 96.2 cubic feet, which puts it into midsize sedan territory. The back seat offers generous leg room. The Prius is classified as a five-passenger car, but it's more suitable for four. Cargo space is 16.1 cubic feet, comparable to that of a midsize sedan and the hatchback design makes its cargo area flexible.

The seats are comfortable for commutes and short weekend trips. Their forte is not the multi-hour, multi-state drive. The cloth upholstery looks durable and is grippy, compensating somewhat for the minimalist bottom and back side bolsters. Head restraints are adjustable in all five seating positions. The interior finish is up to Toyota standards, with pleasingly close tolerances between body panels and interior plastic pieces, and plastics that look and feel better than the word plastic connotates.

The speedometer, fuel gauge, trip meter, and transmission selection indicator are tucked into a long, flat, eyebrow-like opening draped across and centered on the top of the dash where it meets the windshield. The primary gauges are located in the left half of the opening, but are closer to the centerline of the car than to the driver.

Climate controls are managed via an LCD screen at the top of the center stack. This panel also displays user preferences and maintenance needs. Most entertaining, however, is that it allows tracking of the power and recharging flows, monitoring battery and gasoline usage. And it serves as the focal point for the optional navigation system.

Directly beneath the screen is the control head for the sound system. Toyota deserves high praise for keeping the stereo's most-used functions outside of the onboard computer's labyrinth and, equally important, for giving it buttons and knobs that are easy to see, read and use. The base AM/FM/CD six-speaker sound system is quite capable. We'd have been better able to enjoy the premium JBL system to its fullest if there had been a bit more sound deadening in the floorpan and doors, but sound deadening adds weight, the enemy of fuel economy.

Remote switches for the audio, climate and cruise controls are conveniently mounted on the steering wheel. There are two accessory power outlets. Dome lights grace the headliner, front and rear. Both sun visors have illuminated vanity mirrors. These may seem small matters, but they distinguish between value and cheap.

A tall glasshouse yields exemplary outward visibility. As is the case with many of the latest aerodynamic designs, the driver can't see the front of the car or the hood without leaning forward.

Storage spaces are abundant and flexible. The glove box is a two-parter, with an upper and lower bin opening like a clamshell. The upper glove box is good for long, narrow items, like gloves. The lower compartment holds bulkier items. The front part of the center console opens up, also clamshell-like, into two cup holders. Door-mounted map pockets, expandable magazine holders stitched into the back of the front seat backs, and an unexpected, semi-secluded storage bin below the stereo offer additional storage.

Two cup holders pop out of the rear of the console for back-seat riders. An armrest folds down out of the rear seat back. The rear seats are split 60/40, each part of which folds to yield an almost-flat floor, without having to remove the head restraints. There are hidden spaces beneath the cargo floor, both below and on top of the mini-spare.

Gas pressurized struts ease opening and closing the hatchback. Doors close with a solid, if not truly impressive clunk; then again, weight savings have to come from somewhere.

Driving Impressions

Most people who buy hybrid-powered cars aren't looking for something that's fun to drive as much as something they can drive with a clear conscience. The Toyota Prius is certainly the latter, but it won't bore its driver, either.

Standing on the accelerator produces a pleasant surprise. The Prius launches without hesitation thanks to the electric motor's 295 pound-feet of torque from almost a dead standstill. Merging and overtaking at freeways speeds are accomplished with little fuss. Those wishing to experience the car's outer limits, however, should expect more leisurely progress to a top speed of around 100 miles per hour. Speeding calls for horsepower, and as the Prius approaches its maximum velocity, it relies increasingly on its small gasoline engine for motivation. Toyota says the Prius can accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 10 seconds, anemic by modern expectations, but then we've come to expect a lot. As recently as the mid-1950s, legends like the Chrysler 300 and Buick Century didn't reach 60 mph much quicker than that.

Prius gets its power from a gasoline engine supplemented by an electric motor. In a bit of hyperbole, Toyota calls the combination the Hybrid Synergy Drive. Hybrid it is, synergistic it isn't, not by the strictest definition of the word, which would mean that the total power output would be more than the sum of the outputs of the gas and electric motors individually. This is not the case. The Hybrid Synergy Drive does, however, rely on the electric motor even more than the system in the first-generation Prius, which is how Toyota was able to make the Prius larger and more practical without compromising its low emissions or fuel economy. The current model is 30 percent cleaner than the squeaky-clean first-generation (2002-03) Prius. Toyota claims the Prius produces about one-tenth as much pollution as the average new car. Some have described Toyota's hybrid system as an electric motor with gasoline engine assist, and Honda's system as a gasoline engine with electric motor assist.

By complementing the gasoline engine's horsepower with the electric motor's torque, the Prius makes better use of the energy stored in each gallon of gasoline, while leaving fewer nasty chemical compounds in its wake. The electric motor, which begins cranking out its maximum torque virtually the moment it starts spinning, gets the car moving and helps it accelerate while it's underway. The gasoline engine steps to the fore at more constant speeds, especially during highway driving, where horsepower is more critical for maintaining a car's momentum.

The hybrid system improves fuel economy further by turning off the gasoline engine when it's not needed, like when you are waiting at a stop light or even when puttering around town at low speeds. Any time the driver's right foot requests more motivation than the electric motor alone can provide, the gasoline engine fires up and joins in.

The transmission is non-traditional, too. Prius uses an electronically controlled, planetary gear transmission that functions much like a continuously variable transmission. This system constantly and automatically selects the most efficient drive ratio to get the car moving and to keep it moving.

The EPA gives the Prius a City/Highway fuel economy rating of 60/51 mpg with a Combined rating of 55 mpg. These numbers have generated controversy, however. Hybrid-powered cars tend to achieve high ratings on EPA tests because the cars run on rollers, face no wind resistance, and run with the air conditioning shut off. The electric motor plays a bigger role in these laboratory conditions than it does in the real world. In one of those strange twists of logic often produced by law, Toyota is legally barred from advertising any mileage numbers other than those released by the federal government. Most Prius owners report much lower fuel economy, while others argue this point. Pu

Summary

The Toyota Prius sets the standard for environmentally friendly transportation. It also delivers extremely good fuel efficiency for a four-seat car with an automatic transmission. Just ignore those EPA numbers. Buyers can expect to average something north of 45 mpg. Toyota is clearly the leader in hybrid technology. The Prius is an amazing piece of engineering yet driving one and owning one is not much different from a conventional car. That's impressive.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Tom Lankard is based in Northern California.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$20,875
Model lineup:
Toyota Prius ($21,725)
Engines:
76-hp 1.5-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4, plus a 50-kw (67 hp), 500-volt permanent magnet electric motor
Transmissions:
continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual front airbags; anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints in all five seating positions with force-limiting pretensioners in front and height-adjustable front shoulder belt anchors; ISO child seat tether anchors
Safety equipment (Optional):
driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags; front and rear side curtain airbags
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Tsutsumi (Toyota City), Japan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Toyota Prius ($21,725)
Standard equipment:
automatic climate control; cruise control; power steering; tilt steering wheel with redundant climate control and audio controls; front and rear variable-speed intermittent wipers; remote keyless entry; power windows, central locking and heated outside rearview mirrors; AM/FM/CD stereo; delayed accessory power shut off; 60/40 split folding rear seatback
Options as tested:
Package 7 ($5,730) includes VSC electronic stability control, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, backup camera, Smart Key entry system, security alarm, Homelink programmable remote opener system, navigation system with steering-wheel controls, JBL AM/FM/cassette/6CD, fog lamps, HID headlamps
Destination charge:
540
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$27,995
Layout:
front-wheel drive
Engine:
1.5-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4/ plus 50-kW (67 hp), 500-volt, permanent magnet electric motor
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
76 @ 5000 plus 67 @ 1200-1540
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
82 @ 4200 plus 295 @ 0-1200
Transmission:
automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
60/51 mpg.
Wheelbase:
106.3 in.
Length/width/height:
175.0/67.9/58.1 in.
Track, f/r:
59.3/58.3 in.
Turning circle:
34.1 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.1/51.0/41.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
37.1/51.6/38.6 in.
Cargo volume:
16.1 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
not recommended lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
5.9 in.
Curb weight:
2890 lbs.
Tires:
P185/65R15 all-season
Brakes, f/r:
ventilated disc/drum with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and integrated regenerative braking in.
Fuel capacity:
11.9 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Rear Head side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

HID Headlights Opt
Fog Lamps Opt
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Back-Up Camera Opt
Handsfree Wireless Opt

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Opt
Printable Version

2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Toyota Prius Hatchback

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