Toyota Prius: Premium, Popular, Pricey

The world's most fuel-efficient car is in wild demand. It's good for the environment, but does the Prius make sense for your pocketbook?

Editor's Rating:

The Good: No. 1 in fuel efficiency, distinctive looks

The Bad: Premium price vs. conventional compacts, no federal tax credit, tight supplies

The Bottom Line: Its economics are problematic, but just try to get your hands on one!

Up Front

With Americans suddenly reacting strongly to soaring gasoline prices, four Japanese cars outsold Ford's (F) fuel-thirsty F-Series pickup truck for the first time ever in May: the Toyota Camry and new 2009 Corolla, and Honda's (HMC) Civic and recently redesigned Accord. Yet, oddly, the most fuel-efficient model on the market, the hybrid-powered Toyota Prius, saw its sales plunge 39.8% in May, to just 15,011 units. Prius sales are up a mere 2.2%, to 79,675, so far this year.

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