If you don't know what Toyota's Prius is by now, you may want to ask the landlord of the rock you're living under if they can turn it over for some fresh air.

The Prius is the world's best-known, best-selling hybrid--and for 2008, it's pretty much unchanged from the form it arrived in for the 2005 model year.

The EPA has said that the 2008 Toyota Prius (a descriptive Latin term meaning "that which came before") is now that "most fuel efficient car sold in the U.S."

The Prius gets green by mating its small gas engine to electric motors and batteries. Between the 1.5-liter gasoline engine and the two electric motors, there's only 110 horses under the hood. That doesn't make for great acceleration when taking off from a dead stop, but once at driving speed, it acquits itself as well as most economy cars. Between the electric motors and the continuously variable transmission (which keeps the engine speed in its optimal range at all times), the 2008 Toyota Prius can travel up to 48 miles on a gallon of gasoline on the open road (45 in town).

In short, there's little doubt that the 2008 Toyota Prius is miserly when it comes to liquid fuel consumption - and the regenerative brakes that work with the gasoline engine to keep the batteries charged means that plugging it into an outlet is not necessary.

There's another component to the 2008 Toyota Prius' fuel economy - and that's its lightweight materials and aerodynamic design. When the new design was released in 2004, many people considered the Prius' design to be "cutting edge." Some consumers today are finding the 2008 Toyota Prius styling a bit dated, however.

One thing the Prius offers beyond all doubt is safety; visibility is excellent, the dash is still strikingly modern, and the car will stop on a proverbial dime. In addition, the 2008 Toyota Prius has earned superior scores in crash tests conducted by the federal government and the insurance industry (the latter being notoriously hard-to-please).

The only environmental question here is the battery, which contains toxic materials, and are expensive to replace However, Toyota reports that with proper maintenance, the Prius' batteries can last throughout the useful life of the vehicle itself, and are recyclable as well.

Read more about the 2008 Toyota Prius over at TheCarConnection.com's full review, where you can also get pricing information and equipment details.

source:http://www.toyotamonitor.com/review/1014210_2008-toyota-prius-review

Toyota Prius Car Review Video