2010 Toyota Prius vs. Its Competition

Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando

Toyota's hybrid hatchback, the Prius, has inspired a whole raft of gas-electric vehicles—including the Nissan Altima hybrid sedan, which actually uses Toyota's hybrid system with a Nissan-sourced gas engine.

The Altima's snappier looks and handling cancel out its less impressive fuel economy (by Prius standards).

More noteworthy is the Fusion Hybrid, which gets 41 mpg in city driving and benefits from an overall revamp that brings a nicer cabin and more trim styling.

Left-brain thinkers will opt for the VW Jetta TDI diesel, which costs more than gas-engined Jettas but delivers fuel economy in the 40-mpg range and a reputation for durability—as well as great handling and a suave interior.

From a distance, the most obvious rival to the Prius is the 2010 Honda Insight; at first glance the two look identical in side profile.

But when you size the two up more closely, you'll find the Prius is considerably larger inside, with more usable backseat space for adults.

The Prius also has the advantage in fuel economy; the Insight is rated at just 40 mpg city, 43 highway, compared to 51/48 mpg for the Prius, but most Insight buyers will likely see better.

With a starting price a smidge under $20,000, the Insight is a better choice for those who want to keep it simple and be frugal, while the new Prius and all its high-tech options are a better bet for gee-whiz hybrid fans wanting something to show off.

Finally, there's another new rival coming this year, from Toyota's own Lexus division.

The HS 250h is a small luxury sedan based on the new Prius but incorporating a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a variation of the Prius' hybrid system.

Expect fuel economy well into the 40s.

Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando2010 Toyota Prius
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2010 Honda Insight2010 Honda Insight
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2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid2010 Nissan Altima
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Quick Specs
The 2010 Toyota Prius ups the ante in the hybrid world with 51-mpg city fuel economy and a finer style.
For those who want to be seen in a smart, high-mileage hybrid but prefer to pinch pennies at the dealership, the 2010 Honda Insight is the way to go.
The 2010 Nissan Altima remains one of the sportier choices among mid-size sedans, though if interior space matters, it might not feel as roomy as rivals.
MSRP From  
Gas Mileage  
51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy40 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy
Gas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I4Gas I4
EPA Class  
Style Name  
5-Door HB I (GS)5-Door CVT LX4-Door Sedan I4 CVT 2.5
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity  
Passenger Doors  
Body Style  
5 Door Liftback5 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
CVTCVTContinuously Variable
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2010 Toyota Prius vs. 2010 Honda Insight2010 Toyota Prius vs. 2010 Nissan Altima