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FEATURES | 10 out of 10
We love the rooftop solar panel. It runs a fan that keeps the interior cool while you run into Whole Foods, reducing the load on the A/C.
many available high tech gizmos
when you use the steering-wheel-mounted controls, they flash on the IP
redundant steering-wheel controls for simple audio and climate adjustments are standard
optional camera that tracks road lanes and tries to keep the car centered (while the driver is, say, texting?)
For 2012, Toyota has added a few standard features across the board to its Prius lineup, which comprises four models: Two, Three, Four, and Five. (The stripped-down Prius One is only offered to fleets, not to retail buyers.) And Prius prices have gone up across the board, with the base price of a Prius Two with no options now an even $24,000.
Power windows, cruise control, and an AM/FM/XM/CD player audio system are standard on all Prius models, and this year, Toyota includes a standard Bluetooth connection and a 6.1-inch display radio with USB and iPod connectivity.
The Prius Three trim level adds a rear-view backup camera, satellite navigation, and an audio system that includes Toyota’s Entune, a multimedia system with a suite of applications capable of connecting to Internet services like Bing and Pandora via a compatible smartphone. The Prius Four gets heated front seats and leather upholstery.
The top-of-the-line Prius Five includes larger 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, and options for a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system with split-screen capability, automatic on/off headlights, and an eight-way power adjustable drivers’ seat with power lumbar support.
Other equipment includes the Touch Tracer system that lets the driver swipe fingers over controls on the steering wheel that are reproduced on the dashboard Multi-Information Display gauge panel. That means drivers can keep their hands on the wheel while adjusting climate control or radio settings. A solar roof package embeds photovoltaic solar cells into a glass roof panel, generating enough solar electricity to power cabin-ventilation fans that pull hot air out of the car while it's parked, reducing the load on the air conditioning when it restarts. Remote starting for the air conditioner is also offered.
The 2012 Toyota Prius offers a number of appealing and high-tech features, many of them with a distinctly green tinge.