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2011 Toyota Prius Trims

Five

Avg. Price: $19,504

Technology and luxury coexist with environmental responsibility in the 2011 Toyota Prius Five. Mostly unchanged since a redesign last year, the Prius Five blends 50 mpg fuel economy and everyday utility. With room for five and a spacious, easily-accessed cargo compartment, the Prius Five is an ideal urban runabout.

Like all Prius trims, the Five features Toyota's slick Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Though it's established technology by now, the Prius' advanced gas/electric powerplant still impresses with its superb integration and incredible efficiency. Though acceleration isn't a strong point, the Prius Five's 17-inch alloy wheels and low-profile 45-series tires provide a tangible improvement in handling dynamics compared to base versions.

The 2011 Prius Five takes the concept of a luxury hybrid to a new level. In addition to the standard heated leather seats, the 2011 Prius Five coddles buyers with automatic climate control, keyless push-button start and an auto-dimming mirror. Outside, the Prius Five is set apart from lesser trims by its LED headlamps, integrated foglights and rain-repellent side windows.

Four

Avg. Price: $20,141

The 2011 Toyota Prius Four nudges the popular hybrid closer to the luxury end of the spectrum with upscale touches and a premium price. Like all Prius models, the Four trim boasts an appealing 50 mpg combined fuel economy rating and qualifies as a super-ultra-low-emission vehicle according to the EPA.

This stellar performance is achieved by way of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The hybrid architecture combines a gas engine, an electric motor-generator and a continuously variable automatic transmission, all working in concert to achieve maximum efficiency. While the dual-mode system is admirably integrated, traces of jerkiness remain, especially as the gas engine cycles on and off according to power demands. Acceleration is far from thrilling, but should be adequate for most drivers.

While the 2011 Prius Four appeals to buyers' sense of environmental responsibility, it also satisfies their baser, sybaritic needs with a host of luxury features. Power heated leather seats are standard, as is automatic climate control with a special Plasmacluster air ionizer. A six-speaker JBL audio system, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio, supplies the tunes, while the optional power moonroof features solar-powered ventilation that helps keep the Prius Four cool when parked in sunlight.

One

Avg. Price: $17,499

Three

Avg. Price: $18,627

Buyers seeking to reduce their carbon footprint will find plenty of value in the 2011 Toyota Prius Three. This midlevel trim offers lots of standard comfort and convenience equipment, plus the fuel-sipping hybrid drivetrain that has made the Prius so successful.

The 2011 Prius Three features Toyota's now-famous Hybrid Synergy Drive, a two-mode gas-and-electric powertrain that delivers over 50 mpg in city driving. While its gasoline engine makes just 98 hp, the Prius Three's high-torque electric motor helps move the little hybrid along with traffic quite well. A continuously variable automatic transmission drives the front wheels, while the regenerative disc brakes can recover friction energy and use it to recharge the battery.

Inside, the 2011 Prius Three offers space for five and a healthy dose of standard equipment. Keyless entry and push-button start are included, as are automatic climate control and power accessories. The six-speaker stereo features acoustics by specialist JBL and offers Bluetooth phone connectivity and standard XM satellite radio.

Two

Avg. Price: $17,759

Taking over this year as the lineup's base trim, the 2011 Toyota Prius Two packs tons of technology and plenty of features into its affordable base price. With its dual-mode hybrid drivetrain, the 2011 Prius remains the EPA's mileage champ, returning up to 50 mpg in combined driving.

Though it won't win any drag races, the 2011 Prius Two's 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and high-torque electric motor-generator put out enough power to keep up with traffic. The CVT automatic gearbox and energy-recovering regenerative braking contribute to a slightly quirky, computer-esque driving experience. In-town maneuverability is excellent, though the rather lifeless steering doesn't provide much feedback.

For a base trim, the 2011 Prius Two offers buyers a surprisingly comprehensive list of standard equipment. In addition to keyless push-button start and automatic climate control, the Prius Two trim includes power windows and locks, a six-speaker CD stereo, cruise control and a sophisticated trip computer. There are no options; buyers wishing to customize their Prius Two will have to look to dealer-installed accessories instead.