Toyota launches new build-your-own Prius configurator


Starting at $21,000, the new Prius I offers serious value - but it isn't available yet

Starting at $21,000, the new Prius I offers serious value - but it isn't available yet

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Toyota may have just sold its millionth hybrid vehicle in the United States last month, but that hasn't stopped the industry giant from getting trounced in its home market of Japan when it comes to hybrid sales. Last month the company has released official pricing for the 2010 Prius, starting at $21,000, or about $1,200 over the Honda Insight, and today the Prius has launched its own mini-site where you can build your own, and see what it'll really cost.

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.

 
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