2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid 4-Door Hatchback (Review)

Without a doubt, the Prius is the most popular and distinctive hybrid vehicle that Toyota has ever produced and is a true pioneer in hybrid technology. Since the Prius was introduced in the early nineties, other hybrid vehicles have entered the automotive scene in more recent years, but none other has been able to surpass the popularity of the Prius. With a unique style, smooth handling, and excellent fuel economy with the new Prius Eco yielding an amazing 56 MPG combined, it is easy to see why it is still the world’s best selling hybrid vehicle.

The 2016 Prius has been completely redesigned with a lower, ergonomic, and supportive driver seat, increased front cabin leg and headroom, 14 percent more cargo/trunk space, improved handling, and a sleek, new exterior design.

The four-door hatchback seats up to five passengers and is available in six trim levels- Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four and Four Touring. Also available are the compact Prius C and larger Prius V models.

Standard features include- height adjustable driver and passenger cloth seats, split-folding rear seatback, storage center armrest, hands-free entry, 4 one-touch power windows, clock, trip computer, external temperature display, cruise control, front and rear cupholders, front door pockets, overhead console with storage, front seatback storage, electric power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, sound and cruise controls on steering wheel, rear view camera, interior air filtration, climate control, simulated alloy steering wheel, dual illuminating vanity mirrors, 6 speakers, AM/FM stereo, auxiliary audio input and USB with external media control, radio data system, USB connection, Telematics, and Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone connectivity.

The Prius Two trim features- automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, cruise control, LED running lights and taillights, automatic climate control, dual 4.2-inch driver information screens, 15-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 6.1-inch touch screen display, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice recognition with Siri Eyes, CD player, a 6-speaker sound system, an auxiliary audio jack, and a USB port.

The more efficient Prius Two Eco comes equipped with two-tone wheel covers, illuminated keyless entry on three doors, a more lightweight lithium-ion hybrid battery, ultralow-rolling-resistance tires, and an inflation kit instead of a spare tire. A rear wiper that is standard on the other trims is not included on the Two Eco.

Standard features for the Prius Three trim include- a navigation system, leatherette steering wheel and armrest trim, white interior accents, a wireless phone charging pad, satellite radio, HD radio, Toyota’s Entune premium infotainment system with a bigger 7-inch touch screen display, real-time traffic, weather, and fuel price information, as well as easy access to apps such as- Yelp, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, and Pandora.

The Prius Four comes fitted with a power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, leatherette upholstery with contrasting white stitching, a rear cargo cover, automatic wipers, blind spot monitoring, seatback storage pockets, rear cross-traffic alert, and heated front seats.

Standard equipment for the Three Touring and Four Touring trims include all of the aforementioned features that the Prius Three and Four models have, but add LED clearance lights, fog lights, a pre-collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, leatherette upholstery with contrasting blue seat stitching, automatic high beams, 17-inch alloy wheels, and unique rear bumper detailing.

An Advanced Technology Package that includes a head-up display, sunroof, and the Toyota Safety Sense System is available and the Prius Four and Prius Four Touring trims can be equipped with a Premium Convenience Package, which adds a self-parking system, a premium JBL 10-speaker sound system, and Safety Connect emergency services.

The interior of the Prius is simple, yet very modern with controls with easy to use controls. Road noise is minimal and both the front and rear cabin are spacious with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Even though there are a lot of hard plastics throughout the front cabin, the layout looks clean and uncluttered. I found that all of the controls were easy to reach and operate while driving and the interior was surprisingly roomier than it appears from the exterior. Trunk space is quite accommodating and can be expanded with the split folding rear seats to haul larger items.

The Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter hybrid engine with a mixed production of 121 horsepower that is connected to a (CVT) continuously variable transmission. A plug-in version is also available, however; due to its heftier batteries, it can reach 62 MPH solely on electric power. Other trims are available, such as the bigger Prius V Wagon and the smaller and less expensive Prius C hatchback.

The 2016 Toyota Prius has a high safety rating and is one of the safest hybrid vehicles available. It comes equipped with 4-wheel ABS, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, emergency braking assist, ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes, rear door child safety locks, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, auto delay off headlamps, 2 front headrests, 3 rear headrests, passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, rear center 3-point belt, stability control, traction control, rear folding headrests, tire pressure monitoring, first aid kit, an Emergency Assistance Kit, and a security system with impact sensor.

On the road, the Prius has great driving dynamics and has a stable, yet lightweight feel. A Plus Performance package is available, which improves the driving experience, adding a rear sway bar, lowering springs, and 17-inch wheels.

The 2016 Prius is the perfect choice for consumers desiring a vehicle that can be driven all day in both the city and on the highway delivering optimal fuel economy and a fast charging rate.  The Prius is also very affordable with a starting MSRP of only $24,200.

If you have been looking for a hybrid vehicle that is fun to drive, comfortable, spacious, and affordable with excellent fuel economy, then I highly recommend looking at the 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid Hatchback.

To find out more about the Toyota Prius, please visit- www.Toyota.com




Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

2015 Kia Soul EV Wagon Review

As gas prices remain high and as concern for the environment increases, more consumers are desiring fuel efficient vehicles that help save money, eliminate the need to use gasoline, and reduce carbon emissions.

The 2015 Soul EV is Kia’s first and only all electric vehicle with a stylish exterior, advanced technology, strong performance, a comfortable interior, and incredible versatility. The four-door hatchback is spacious too with plenty of head and leg room to accommodate taller passengers and travels farther on a single charge than its competitors yielding an estimated 93 miles driving range. The extraordinary range is mainly due to the 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which receives its power from one of two charging ports that are hidden behind a sliding panel within the front grille. The vehicle can be charged with either a 120-volt current, which takes 24 hours to be fully charged or by 240-volt current, which takes about 5 hours to be fully charged. There is also a supercharger that delivers 480-volts and charges the Soul EV to 80 percent in only 33 minutes, but there not many superchargers available and only a small amount of Kia dealerships in California that offer them. There are none in my city and I would have to drive many miles to get the nearest supercharging station. Kia has a partnership with PlugShare to help people find nearby chargers, but from my experience in the city in which I reside, many of the charging stations are located in parking lots or structures that charge a fee and take many hours to charge up the Soul EV.

In states besides California, it is very difficult to find a charging station, which would make the Soul EV best suited for consumers who live in a house and can have a charger installed in their garage. Until more charging stations are installed in other parts of the county, the Kia Soul EV will be primarily available in California.

Cargo space is plentiful measuring 18.8 cubic feet, expanding to an impressive 49.5 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded down and is not minimized by the battery under the floor. 61 cubic feet of space can be attained when cargo floor and undertray are removed. The Soul EV accelerates quickly due to the electric motor’s 210 lb. ft. of torque and is much quieter than the gas-powered Soul.

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is available in two trims- base and + or Plus.

The base trim comes equipped with standard features, such as- automatic climate control, 16-inch alloy wheels with covers, a 120-volt charging cable, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, cloth upholstery, rear privacy glass, a DC fast-charge port, a height-adjustable driver seat, keyless ignition and entry, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks heated front seats, an EV-specific gauge cluster with a multifunction display, smartphone integration with remote vehicle access, voice controls, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system, and a 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The Soul+ trim adds leather upholstery, aero windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, fog lights, premium leatherette dashboard and console trim, heated rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a 12-volt power outlet, a luggage net, and a cargo cover. A special battery heating system is optional for both trims.

Standard safety features include- a rearview camera stability and traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, hill start assist, side curtain airbags, and a pedestrian warning system that emits a soft sound at 12 mph and under.

The interior of the Soul EV is very nice with a contemporary appearance that is similar to the gas powered Soul, but with a distinctive style that adds a glossy white trim throughout the dashboard area, a uniquely designed gauge cluster with a 3.5-inch display, and a large 8-inch touchscreen that shows the battery status, power movement, and other projected metrics.

On the road, the Soul EV is enjoyable to drive, easy to maneuver, and drives smoothly, however, the lack of a gas engine makes wind noise a little more noticeable at higher speeds. Because the Soul EV only has one speed, there is no need to wait for the vehicle to downshift like a gas powered model, instead it accelerates quickly and almost effortlessly.

Because there are not many charging stations available and it takes many hours to charge the Soul EV, I think the vehicle is better suited for drivers who live in a house, not an apartment, and have a garage to install a charger.

In summary, I like the Kia Soul EV and think that it is a wonderful all electric vehicle available at a starting MSRP of $33,700 and has more range than the Nissan Leaf.  The Soul EV is a high quality electric crossover that is fun to drive, stylish, and is eco-friendly with plenty of torque to get around town quickly and easily.

To find out more about the 2015 Kia Soul EV, please visit- www.kia.com