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Toyota Prius

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Orque has improved too, and it's the bigger engine's added grunt that endows the latest Prius with its fuel-sipping ability.

The rest of the car's hybrid drivetrain is similar to that used by the outgoing model, with a CVT gearbox taking drive from the petrol-electric powerplant to the front wheels.

It's also eco-friendly in other areas. The seat cushions, for example, are made of bioplastic and require less CO2 to be emitted during their production.

The up-spec Prius i-Tech variant also comes with a solar panel array on its roof, which powers a heat-extraction fan while the car is parked and keeps it cool without needing to keep the engine running.

its most eco-friendly model yet, launching the third-gen 2010 Prius into the Australian market.

The Prius ties with the MINI Cooper D for average fuel consumption - requiring just 3.9 l/100km on the combined cycle - but beats it for CO2 emissions with its 89g/km rating.

Surprisingly, it's quicker as well as being more fuel-efficient. The 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle engine is appreciably larger than the 1.5 litre unit that powered the second-gen Prius, and combined power from the petrol-electric powertrain is up 21 percent to 100kW Even the airconditioner can be run for three minutes without the engine running and can be started up by a button on the keyfob - perfect for those blisteringly hot summer days.

The body styling is classic Prius, but it's slipperier than the last shape. It also happens to be the most aerodynamic passenger car in production, with a drag coefficient of just 0.25.



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