Starting at $21,000, the new Prius I offers serious value - but it isn't available yetEnlarge Photo
Starting with the Prius II, which is expected to be the most popular model, the $22,000 base price grows to $25,674 with the addition of just the leather interior upgrade (including leather-faced seats) and the Vehicle Stability package, which adds a smart key system, stability control, a backup camera, auxiliary audio input and MP3/WMA playback - all core features for most buyers. And that's without any options like cargo nets ($51), carpet mats ($199), wheel locks ($67), or an XM satellite radio receiver ($449).
While the Prius remains popular around the world, in Japan the cheaper second-generation Honda Insight hybrid is achieving triple its monthly sales targets despite the doom and gloom surrounding the global economy. Furthermore, with a starting price of just $19,800 in the U.S., analysts are expecting the Insight to perform similarly in local showrooms.
To combat the Insight - at least in Japan - Toyota is selling the current Prius alongside the third-generation model as a cut-priced model. The company has also slashed prices on its new, improved and more feature-packed new 2010 Prius to nearly match that of the Insight. Prices start at $21,000, though the model expected to prove most popular, the Prius II, starts at $22,000. The configurator doesn't yet allow you to price out your own bargain-basement Prius I.
"The 2010 Prius delivers outstanding mileage, performance and advanced technology at a great price," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. "This [$22,000] model provides more than $2,000 added value, including the features most buyers want, at the same price as the current base model," he said.
Five trim levels are available, Prius I through Prius V. The Prius I is the $21,000 model and offers a minimalist - but still unannounced - feature set, while the Prius II starts at $22,000 and adds a host of features including electronically adjustable driver's seat, keyless entry and more. Prius III bumps base pricing by another $1,000, and the Prius IV adds $2,800, starting at $25,800. The top-end Prius V starts at $27,200 and includes 17in alloys and foglamps, but navigation is still an optional extra available for $1,800 on the Prius III and higher.