The Toyota Prius is a four-door compact hybrid hatchback that has become the gold standard of the gasoline / electric segment. The Toyota Prius is an extremely fuel efficient vehicle, offering 51-mpg in city driving 48-mpg on the highway from its Hybrid Synergy Drive system which includes a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine working in tandem with two electric motors to produce 138 horsepower in total. The Prius also comes with seating for five passengers as well as 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

The Toyota Prius is offered in five different trim levels, although the barebones Prius One (MSRP $23,015) is not advertised by the brand on its website. The Prius Two (MSRP $24,000) comes with automatic climate control, cruise control, a trip computer, keyless entry and ignition, heated mirrors and a touchscreen vehicle interface that also controls the CD player, Bluetooth, and iPod integration features. Stepping up to the Prius Three (MSRP $25,565) brings a navigation system with a rearview camera to the table, along with the Entune multimedia and infotainment system. The Toyota Prius Four (MSRP $28,235) comes with highlights that include heated imitation leather seats (with power adjustments for the driver), and the JBL GreenEdge stereo system that is designed to be eco-friendly as well as lightweight. The top of the line Prius Five (MSRP $29.805) is loaded, featuring all of the above along with bigger wheels (17-inch versus 15 for the base model), LED headlights and fog lights.

A number of different options packages can be combined with the Toyota Prius. The Solar Roof package includes a sunroof and the ability to keep the car cooled down via a ventilation system that is powered by the sun, while the Deluxe Solar Roof package adds to this with a head-up display, a better nav package as well as the Safety Connect telematics system. The Advanced Technology package also includes Safety Connect and a head-up display while throwing in additional gear like the improved navigation screen, a lane departure warning system and adaptive cruise control with collision detection. One of the more unusual packages offered with the Toyota Prius is the Plus Performance package, which stiffens up the hybrid's suspension system and includes an aggressive body kit and 17-inch alloy rims. Those interested in merely looking the part without sacrificing a cushy ride can instead opt for the Plus Appearance package.

A list of cars similar to the Prius includes the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, 2012 Honda Insight and 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

See more details about the 2012 Toyota Prius.