Toyota is reporting that the demand for their hybrids are nearly the highest that they have been in four years. In February, the demand for the entire Prius line increased more than 50%. Industry experts are pointing to inflated gas prices as being the primary factor. This increased demand for more fuel efficient cars isn’t only being seen in the hybrid market, but across all major segments from compact cars to large luxury sedans.
Overall, the spike in demand for more fuel-efficient cars increased by more than 12% last month, which is far beyond what industry experts first predicted. Compared to last year, gas prices have already risen nearly 15% and shows no signs of stopping. To cope with this, Toyota has already sent an additional 25,000 units to dealerships across the country. This figure did not include the two new Prius models which are just now going on sale – the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the 2012 Prius C subcompact.
There have been several Prius models in particular which will likely continue to drive up the demand for Toyota Hybrids. They are the newly released Prius V wagon and the Prius C subcompact. Here is a quick look at both models and why they are becoming so popular.
Toyota Prius C Subcompact
The Prius C is small hatchback and is likely going to appeal to a wide variety of car buyers. It is the only subcompact currently offering 50mpg. Plus, its introductory price of less than $19,000 makes it more competitive than many other hybrids across multiple segments. It is currently estimated that anyone who drives 15,000 miles per year will see an average savings of more than $500 at the pump (at current gas prices). The smaller dimensions and lightweight design gives it a much sportier feel when driving than most other hybrids. It also has received high praise for its optional quick-ratio steering. The only common criticism is that the overall ride quality is fairly rough, although that is not uncommon in similar economy cars.
Toyota Prius V Wagon
The Prius V is the first popular hybrid option that can meet the needs of a family. The smaller options simply didn’t provide enough room for many people who often have multiple passengers, which is why the Prius V wagon was developed. It has a much larger cabin and nearly 35 cubic feet of luggage space. Being larger, it also gives drivers a hybrid option that feels more substantial and stable behind the wheel. It won’t be the most powerful vehicle on the road, but the Power Mode gives you an extra boost for highway merging and dealing with steep inclines. For city driving, the Eco mode has been proven to be a great energy saver, although it shouldn’t be used on the highway.