Fall Brings School, Pretty Leaves, And A New Prius

by Cristina Foung

My favorite green product of the week: 2009 Toyota Prius Hybrid Car

What is it?
For a lot of folks, “hybrid” is synonymous with “Prius.” Well, 2009 will see some changes to the car more people say they’d buy again.

This version is 3-4 inches longer and 1 inch wider than previous generations. It’s also heavier, faster, and more powerful (it’s moving from a 1.5 liter engine to a 1.8 liter). Not to mention, the top of the car will have a few solar panels on it to provide some power for the air conditioning unit.

Why is it better?
Fuel economy is expected to exceed 50 mpg (remember that the 2007 Prius was rated at 60 MPG but the EPA did recently change their fuel economy testing methods), which is not too shabby (although yes, being bigger and faster does detract from the efficiency gains the car would have had otherwise…but maybe it will appeal to a broader crowd). While the solar panels are primarily symbolic, it’s still nice to see Toyota supporting solar technology.

And while this generation isn’t a plug-in, hopefully the Prius line will have some new additions to the family (rumors are floating around that there may be a sub-compact version, a wagon, and a convertible spin-off on the way).

The only thing is…I’m not so keen on the styling changes they’ve made (thanks to Next Autos for the photo at the top – check out their gallery for more images of a Prius in tests).

Where can you find it?
Well, it’s not available quite yet. But keep tabs at your local Toyota dealership. The base model will be starting at $22,000 and the touring version at $24, 270.

Besides her green products column on Cleantech Blog, Cristina is a passionate advocate for green living at the Green Home Huddle at Huddler.com, which focuses on electric cars, energy efficient appliances, and other green products.

Press Release:
Toyota And Scion Announce Prices On Select 2009 Models July 25, 2008 – Torrance, CA – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced new manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for 13 select 2009 Toyota and Scion vehicles. The overall average MSRP for the 13 models increases by $181, or 0.81 percent. Toyota The 2009 Avalon full-size sedan adds to its value with additional standard equipment that includes driver and front passenger active headrests, Brake Assist, traction control, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and a satellite radio ready color-keyed SDARS antenna and prewire. The base MSRP for Avalon will range from $27,845 for the XL grade to $35,185 for the premium Limited grade. Overall, Avalon prices will increase $520, or 1.7 percent. The 2009 FJ Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) adds driver and front passenger active headrests, roll-sensing curtain airbags, a VSC cut-off switch, front map light, and a driver-side vanity mirror as standard equipment. The FJ also adds three new colors – – non-metallic Black, Silver, and Iceberg White with all-white monochromatic finish. The base MSRP for the FJ Cruiser will range from $23,320 for the 4×2 V6 with a five-speed automatic transmission to $24,910 for the 4×4 V6 automatic. Overall, the price of the 2009 FJ Cruiser increases by $275, or 1.1 percent. For 2009, the Land Cruiser full-size SUV adds factory privacy glass on the rear side and quarter windows as standard equipment. The base MSRP for the Land Cruiser will be $64,755, representing an increase of $655, or 1.0 percent. The base MSRP for the 2009 4Runner SUV will range from $28,640 for the 4×2 SR5 V6 to $39,360 for the 4×4 Limited V8. On average the MSRP for the 2009 4Runner increases by $225, or 0.7 percent. The base MSRP for the 2009 Highlander mid-size SUV will range from $27,600 for the Base front-wheel-drive model with a V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission to $34,520 for the Limited four-wheel-drive V6 with a five-speed automatic. The overall average MSRP for Highlander will increase by $47, or 0.2 percent. The base MSRP for the gas-electric Highlander Hybrid will range from $34,700 for the two-row, four-wheel-drive with intelligence base model to $41,020 for the three-row, four-wheel-drive with intelligence Limited. The overall average MSRP for the Highlander Hybrid increases by $518, or 1.4 percent. The base MSRP for the 2009 Sienna van will range from $24,540 for the seven-passenger front-wheel-drive CE grade to $37,865 for the all-wheel-drive XLE Limited. The average base MSRP for Sienna will increase $100, or 0.4 percent. The base MSRP gas-electric Prius Hybrid will range from $22,000 for the Standard grade to $24,270 for the Touring grade. The overall average price for Prius will increase $500, or 2.2 percent. The 2009 Corolla sedan will receive a price adjustment increase of $100, or 0.6 percent. The base MSRP will range from $15,350 for the Base grade with a five-speed manual transmission to $20,050 for the XRS grade with a five-speed automatic transmission. A price adjustment for the 2009 Matrix will increase its MSRP by $100, or 0.5 percent. The base MSRP will range from $16,290 for the 4×2 Standard grade with a five-speed manual transmission to $21,950 for the 4×2 XRS with a five-speed automatic. The 2009 Camry sedan will receive an MSRP adjustment reflecting an increase of $225, or 1.0 percent. The base MSRP will range from $19,145 for the Camry four-cylinder with a five-speed manual transmission to $28,695 for the XLE V6 with a six-speed automatic. The gas-electric Camry Hybrid will receive a price adjustment increase of $500, or 1.9 percent. The new MSRP will be $26,150.

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