Fuel-Saving Prius

With gas prices going way up, you may be wishing your car was less of a gas hog. Consumer Reports says the second-generation Toyota Prius's mileage is so much better than cars the same size, it will cut your gas bills in half.

The new Toyota Prius gets a whopping 44 miles-per-gallon in Consumer Reports tests — better than any other five-passenger sedan it's ever tested.
David Champion, Director of Auto Testing, says the Prius is so
fuel-efficient because it's a hybrid with both a gas engine and an electric motor. It runs on one or the other or both depending on what's most efficient.

"Here we are at a stop sign. The engine's not running. You're not using any gas. As soon as I pull away, it will run on electric motor and battery. Accelerate a bit harder, it cuts in the engine."

A gauge on the dashboard shows what's powering the car at any particular moment.

"As soon as I want to slow down, it turns the electric motor into a generator and recharges the battery."

With all this new technology, you might expect the Prius to have some reliability problems. But Consumer Reports has found that's not the case.

"We survey hundreds of thousands of our readers about any problems they've had with their cars. And the first-generation Prius has proven to be one of the most reliable cars."

Consumer Reports expects the redesigned Prius will also prove reliable. And it has some advantages over the first-generation Prius — better mileage, better handling and quicker acceleration. And it's roomier.

"It's relatively small on the outside. But inside it has the roominess of a midsize car."

So if you're looking for a fuel-efficient car, the Toyota Prius is Consumer Reports' top pick.

Compared to other five-passenger cars Consumer Reports tested, the Toyota Prius performs pretty well. It's not as agile as some of the others and it leans into corners, but the Prius does do well in Consumer Reports' emergency handling tests.

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