Introduced in 2001, the Toyota Prius was one of the original gas/electric hybrids boasting an elegant design, a feature-rich cabin and award-winning fuel economy. New options were added for 2002, including cruise control, side airbags, daytime running lights, GPS and two new body colors. There were no changes for 2003. But Toyota redesigned the Prius in 2004, making it larger and roomier, with more power, better gas mileage and more available options. In 2005, the rear wiper became standard and the visor was changed out to fabric. A tire-pressure monitor monitoring system, updated head and tail lights, new dark seat fabric and a new instrument panel center were the big changes for 2006.
Standard front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags were added for the 2007 Prius, with the special Touring sports trim being unveiled. No major changes were in store for 2008. A new design was introduced in 2009, offering restyled interior arrangements, improved fuel economy, better steering and more available options. Model years 2010-2011 saw no major updates. Available powered seats and updated trim levels and options rounded out the changes for 2012. The Prius remained largely unchanged for 2013.
The hybrid that sets the standards, the four-door 2008 Toyota Prius is powered by a combination gas and electric motor which pushes the Prius to an astounding 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.