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October 2011

10/19/2011

2012 Toyota Prius v Hatchback Hybrid Road Test

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2012 Toyota Prius v Hatchback Road Test Review

All-New 2012 Model Morphs to Hatchback By Bob Plunkett

It only takes the blink of an eye to observe that Toyota's new fourth-generation design for the 2012 Prius hybrid electric vehicle differs from the previous version -- it's larger in a streamlined package that fashions the hood and windshield into a racked-back plane which resembles a rakish two-door GT coupe while flanks reveal the four-door configuration of a practical sedan as the roofline hikes high toward the tail to accommodate a hatchback-style rear cargo door.

This new design earns an aerodynamic rating of merely 0.29 cD (coefficient of Drag), which makes the 2012 Prius one of the slickest set of wheels on the road.

It's still pegged in the mid-size class of sedans, but the wheelbase grows 3.1 inches longer and the overall tip-to-tail measurement increases by 6.1 inches to 181.7 inches.

The passenger compartment -- long and broad and tall, thanks to the mid-size front-wheel-drive platform with wheelbase drawn to 109.4 inches -- provides ample room for five passengers on comfortable seats with a pair of buckets in front of a bench for three and room at the rear for cargo due to the hatchback roofline.

Name badge of this version acquires the alphabet letter "v" tacked on -- Prius v -- with v denoting versatility with the hatchback design.

Then numerical figures follow the v on the nameplate to describe three trim grades:  Prius v Two, Prius v Three and Prius v Five. (There's no explaining the absence of Prius v One and Prius v Four editions.) Read full review here.

10/17/2011

2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide

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Road & Travel Magazine presents its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide written by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes
Road & Travel Magazine Names Chevy Volt
Most Earth-Friendly Car of the Month

Deciding to drive green isn't an easy task. We can't simply go to a "green store" to swap out yesterday's wasteful wheels for an environmentally correct auto to replace it, since there's more than one remedy. In the past few years, hybrid vehicles that combine a small gasoline engine with a small electric motor have been gaining popularity as one earth-friendly solution. But it's not alone. How about clean diesels now just coming online that no longer belch dark clouds of sooty, smelly grit out of tail pipes? Or plug-in electrics on the horizon that never go near a gas pump and are just beginning to make a buzz.

Flexible fuel vehicles that can scarf down liquified plants or even moonshine to power them have been around for a decade or two. And research is continuing on other futuristic technologies such as fuel cells most people haven't yet heard about.

What's a buyer to do? To help answer that question, RTM has put together its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide with some of the various ecologically sensitive, fuel efficient vehicles you can buy today without mortgaging one's future in the process.

We choose the Chevy Volt from today's stable of contenders as our favorite for many reasons -- fuel economy, driving agility, security, interior space and style among them. And besides, it's so hot that dealers and buyers alike are falling all over themselves to get one. Read full guide picks.