Remember back when Honda announced pricing for its Insight hybrid would start at under $20,000 and Toyota, in a bid to compete, said it would offer the Prius for just $21,000? Several months later, and the launch of the Prius II, III, IV and V and Toyota is now saying the Prius I isn’t likely to ever see production – not for average consumers anyway.
According to a report on AllAboutPrius, Toyota spokesman Greg Thome said a test of the market with the Prius I resulted in just 177 units sold – all of which were to fleets. As a result, Toyota has no immediate or future plans to offer the entry-level Prius I to consumers.
The move isn’t surprising as it turned out that Honda’s Insight, with its smaller passenger space and less efficient engine, wasn’t much of a competitor to the Prius after all.
Thome did say that the Prius I would have been an incredibly stripped-down version, without items like cruise control, the Touch Tracer Display, Smart Key, EV mode, a rear wiper, heated mirrors, a heat vent for the rear seat, foldable rear headrests or underbody spoilers. And considering the Prius II starts at $22,400, the extra $1,400 seems like a small price to pay.