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Awards

The 2024 Toyota Prius is MotorTrend’s Car of the Year

For the first time in two decades, the Toyota Prius has been named MotorTrend’s Car of the Year. Toyota claims the coveted Golden Calipers award for the first time since the 2007 Toyota Camry, and 20 years after the trailblazing 2004 Toyota Prius earned the title. 

The magazine has a set of six specific criteria it uses to judge its Car of the Year finalists, so it speaks to the complete, well-rounded nature of the 2024 Prius that it was able to take home this year’s top honors. It also does so in a year that marks the 75th anniversary of Cadillac claiming MotorTrend’s inaugural Car of the Year award in 1949. 

To commemorate the moment, Lithia Toyota of Abilene looks back at 2004’s winner and where the Prius stands today.

2004 

When Toyota initially developed the Prius, their vision was to create the “car of the 21st century.” The fully realized version of the Prius arrived four years after the turn of the century, ready to claim that mantle. The 2004 Prius was a complete redesign of the previous generations of Kia, replacing the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) with the superior Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD). 

The 2004 Prius became the first hybrid vehicle to claim MotorTrend’s year-end award – a bold choice at the time, and the magazine knew it. Then-editor-in-chief, Kevin Smith, wrote in 2004, “We realize the selection of a hybrid vehicle is going to stir controversy, but we believe the performance, engineering advancements, and overall significance of the Toyota Prius merits the distinction of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.” 

In presenting the 2023 award, MotorTrend notes, “It’s remarkable how much we wrote about that game-changing 2004 Prius that still applies to its Car of the Year-winning successor two decades later.” They’re not wrong; just as it was in 2004, the Prius remains the gold standard for the combination of fuel efficiency, ultra-low emissions, safety, and riveting performance. 

2024

MotorTrend is quick to point out that it in winning Car of the Year, the 2024 Prius “has made a cultural impact far greater than its carbon footprint.” As we enter 2024, Prius drivers have certainly become associated with more than Toyota’s green-first initiatives: nerds, ride-hail drivers, virtue-signalers… even music snobs celebrated when the hybrid car got a shout-out in a certified Charli XCX banger from 2019. 

But if your primary criticism of the hybrid is that it’s an entryway to chique hipsterdom, that means the vehicle itself is probably doing a lot of things right. MotorTrend praises the 2024 Prius for its design, boosted efficiency, and perhaps most importantly, the way it’s helped advance “the automotive state of the art without forcing drivers to change their deeply ingrained habits.” 

It was the 2024 model’s newfound mesh of style and performance, however, that may have separated it from all-electric competitors like the Hyundai Ioniq 6 and the Tesla Model 3 Highland. For the first time since the 2004 model, Toyota designers and engineers had total freedom to completely reimagine the Prius, which led to a modern 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, larger motors and batteries, and all-wheel drive available at launch. 

In claiming top honors, the 2024 Prius emerged from a competitive group of finalists: the 2023 BMW 7 Series, the 2023 BMW M2, the 2024 Lucid Air, and the aforementioned 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 and 2024 Tesla Model 3. 

Get Behind the Wheel of a Prius Today 

Clearly, there’s never been a better time to be a Prius owner. Lithia Toyota is Abilene’s number one dealership when you’re making the switch to hybrid or all-electric. Check out more info on the 2023 Toyota Prius and other hybrid/plug-in/electric vehicles, as well as our entire inventory of new and used Toyotas.

The Prius could very well take home its third pair of Golden Calipers 20 years from now, but for the time being, it’s established itself as the model of consistency in the automotive world. The only question remaining is how high the Prius’s ceiling can possibly rise. This New Year’s, make it your resolution to roll into 2024 with the best car on the market, the Toyota Prius. 

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New Toyota Vehicle

The Definitive Guide to EV Charging

The Definitive Guide to EV Charging

There are Levels to This

Ever since the first car was produced in 1886, internal combustion engines have been the driving force of vehicles. However, the search for an alternative has been underway for just as long and finally, we have an answer. Electric vehicles with electric motors.

Now, when most folks think of electric vehicles they imagine some futuristic-looking vehicle that will leave them stranded on the side of the highway with dead batteries — this couldn’t be more of a myth!

Electric vehicles, or EVs, have come a long way since the 1870s. They’re stylish, powerful, exciting to drive and most of all — reliable. Despite advances in EV technology, many people still doubt their practicality and cite range anxiety and lack of charging infrastructure.

This definitive guide to EV charging will teach you everything you need to know about EV charging, including how simple it is. Give this a quick read and then make sure to pay a visit to Toyota of Abilene to check out the electrifying bZ4X.

Level 1 Charging

The most accessible level of charging, Level 1 charging stations allow you to charge your EV by plugging it into your household 120V outlet. This means you’ll be able to use your vehicle’s charger on any outlet in your residence, making charging a breeze.

Commonly referred to as “trickle charging”, level 1 is the slowest charging method available for EVs albeit one of the most convenient. You will see around four miles of range added to the vehicle each hour when using level 1 charging.

With a slow charging time, Level 1 is best utilized when you’re able to let your EV charge up overnight. That being said, there are a few other methods of charging that are faster if you’re in a rush, keep Abilene to find out what they are.

Level 2 Charging

One of the most common forms of EV charging, Level 2 charging can be found in both residential and public areas. It provides a much quicker charge than Level 1 chargers, adding up to 12-30 miles of range per hour. A full charge can be completed in 6-12 hours — depending on battery size — when using a Level 2 charger.

If you want a Level 2 charger at your home, it is plenty doable as long as you have an available 240V outlet. In the event you don’t have a 240V outlet, you must have one professionally installed before you are able to take advantage of Level 2 charging.

While most electric vehicles come with a Level 1 charging cable included, Level 2 chargers come at an extra cost. Simply ask your sales professional for pricing on a Level 2 charging cable and they should be able to provide you with one at delivery.

Looking to have a Level 2 charger installed at your house? Companies like ChargePoint and QMerit can help! Having a Level 2 charger installed at home will not only save you time but some money as well. In some cases, you may even be able to claim tax benefits for owning an EV and investing in a charger, refer to your local tax code for more info.

Level 3 Charging

Often referred to as DC Fast Charging, high-powered Level 3 chargers are only found at public charging stations across the country. They are the fastest and most-efficient way to charge your EV, as they add around 3-15 miles every minute!

Level 3 charging uses powerful direct current (DC) power, which is not found in residential areas as they use alternating current (AC). This means you won’t be able to have a Level 3 charging station at home, but if you do some Googling you may find one nearby.

The best benefit of Level 3 charging stations is their ability to charge your EV battery up to 80% capacity in a matter of minutes. This makes charging up during lunch break or while running errands a breeze and allows you to live a range-anxiety-free life.

As the popularity of EV’s continues to grow, you’ll start to see more and more Level 3 public charging stations popping up across the country. If you already own an EV, chances are you know all of your local charging stations — but if you don’t — check out Plugshare.

Stations Near You

Looking for somewhere to charge near you? No sweat, we took the time and did the research for you. If you’re in the Abilene area and need to charge your EV, we’ve put together a shortlist of available public charging stations. Check out what we found:

While this list doesn’t have every charging station in Abilene on it, it’s a great starting point for EV owners in Abilene. As time goes on and more people adopt electric vehicles, charging infrastructure should start to increase — so keep an eye out!

Charged Up and Ready to Go

Now that you know all there is to know about charging an EV, making the switch doesn’t seem so scary now, does it? Despite what your octane-loving, mechanic cousin may say, electric vehicles truly are the future. With more home-charging options available and increasing public charging infrastructure, range anxiety is nothing more than a myth.

Whether you opt for a home charging station or you rely on public infrastructure, switching to an EV is the best option for the planet and your wallet. Owning an EV not only saves you at the pump it also saves you on repair bills too, as they require less maintenance than traditional cars.

Are you ready to make the switch to an electric vehicle? Then Toyota of Abilene can help! At Toyota of Abilene, we have Abilene’s best selection of Toyota vehicles, including the new bZ4X. Whether you’re switching to an EV or sticking with a traditional engine — if you want the best prices on Toyota vehicles — shop at Toyota of Abilene.