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GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Toyota Prius sedans

silver_priusg.jpg

SPEX
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Years Represented: 1997-2003
Type: Sedan
Class: compact
 
Country: Japan 
Host: GT2, GT4, & GT5
 
Price: $21,500 (GT2)
          $17,100 (GT4 used lot)
          $22,411 (GT5 used lot, 2002 model)

GT5 Mileage: 2,154.1
 
*Specs below for the '97 Prius sedan in GT2 & '02 sedan of GT4 & GT5)

Length: 168.3"-170.0" // Width: 66.7" // Height: 58.7"
Wheelbase: 100.4"
Overhang: @5' 7"
Track: 58.0" [F] 58.3" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.5"
Weight: 2,733 lbs (GT2) 2,689 (GT4) 2,670 (GT5)
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive

F. Suspension: struts / coils / stabilizers / shox
R. Suspension: toe control links / torsion beam / coils / shox
Brakes: vented discs / drums
Tires: 175/65R-14
 
Engine: 1,496 cc DOHC inline 4
Motor: 30kW, 6.5 amp 274 volt (44 hp) magnet-driven

GT2 Tested HP:
64 @ 4,500 // 40 @ 940-2000 (quoted)
GT2 Tsd Torque:
75 @ 4,000 // 225 @ 0-940 rpm (quoted)

GT4 Final HP: 75 @ 4,500 rpm
GT4 Final trq: 84 @ 4,200 rpm

GT5 Final HP: 79 @ 5,000 rpm
GT5 Final trq: 88 @ 4,000 rpm

Lbs. per HP: 42.70 (GT2), 35.85 (GT4), 36.08 (GT5)

Hp per Liter: 42.8 (GT2), 50.1 (GT4),

Credits per HP: $335.93 / $228.00 / $300.85

Aspiration: natural
Fuel System: EFi
Battery Content: nickel-metal hydride
Valves per Cyl: 4
Compression: 13.5:1 ('97), 13.0:1 ('02)
Bore x Stroke: 2.95 x 3.33"

GT2 Redline: 5,000 // RPM Limit: 6,000
GT4 & 5 Idle: 0 (stock CVT gearbox) 1,000 (aftermarket gearbox)
GT4 Redline: 4,750 // RPM Limit: 5,000
GT5 Redline: 4,750 // RPM Limit: N/A

Transmission: CVT

*The GT5 car was given an oil change

0-60 mph
:
GT2: 12.576 seconds
GT4: 15.450 "
GT5: 15.483 "

0-100mph:
GT2: 34.769 seconds
GT4: 39.283 "
GT5: 46.850 "

````````````````````GT2```````````````````````````````GT4```````
400 M:    19.313 @ 77 mph          20.824 @ 72 mph
1 Kilom:
34.233 @ 99 mph        36.557 @ 97 mph
 
Test Track: 2:18.463                    not tested
100-zero: no test                      3.800 seconds

 
Top Speed:
GT2: 115.55 mph (4,200 rpm)

GT4: 106.49 mph
(RPM not available) 

GT5: 105.xx mph @ 4,500 rpm

 
 

----------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY-----------------

Gran Turismo 2 is full of surprises. I've had this game almost a year now, yet had no idea a hybrid gas/electric car sat lurking at the Toyota dealership all this time. Go figure.

The first-generation Prius makes its quiet appearance (literally...) in this game as a sedan. The original Toyota Prius sedan I'm focusing on for this review is based on the Echo, which is the Prius's fully gas-powered twin. This car (the Echo) is not in GT2 or any other GT, not that I'm complaining. 

By the time GT4 was released in 2004, the Prius had become a model in its own right, with distinctive styling not shared by any gasoline-powered cars Toyota makes, but the earlier Prius G sedan is still featured in this game (and in GT5) as a used car. Some may find the Prius (1st generation or 2nd) odd, some may find it fugly, but the fact of the matter is they're selling like hotcakes in real-life. So they must be important, right?
 
The hybrid seems to be the wave of the future, or at least one of its waves. Many who are touting this "green" car nowadays have no idea that hybrids are not a new concept. Matter of fact, the Woods Motor Vehicle company was first to put the hybrid in production, long before Toyota. Never heard of Woods? It's because its hybrid (the Dual Power) was produced way back in 1915! It cost about $2,700, which must have been a fortune in those days. In comparison, Ford's Model T cost something like $400. But Woods (obviously) did not last long.

Even though its hybrid cars were innovative, they were also heavy, since they had to carry a huge battery as well a gas tank, and let's not forget those two power sources. The Dual Power was produced during a time when cars with just one power source had enough problems. This was a time when starting a gas-engine vehicle could possibly dislocate your shoulder, and tires typically had to be changed every thousand miles, if not sooner. 

Woods went out of business quickly, as the public was not ready for the Dual Power (and other models produced by Woods which were simply gas-powered). They apparently tanked around the time World War I ended.
 
 
Woods was not the first to make a hybrid, though. There were a few show (concept) and racing hybrids, which appeared over a decade before the Dual Power showed up. Woods was merely the first to try to mass-produce their cars, although I'm not sure how many of them were actually on the road by the time the company went bye-bye. 

What exactly is a hybrid, then? 
 
Hybrid cars feature two or more power sources. In the Prius, one power source is an electric battery that drives a typical magnetized motor, and the other source is a 1.5 liter gasoline-powered 4-cylinder. Both of these powerplants drive this unusual vehicle by working in tandem with one another, shutting on and off when the situation calls. And the major bonus? These cars can make up to 60 mpg in the city, 51 mpg on the highway. Some estimates say 52/45 with a range of 614 miles in the city and 531 on the highway. Either way, this is phenomenol.
 
In GT4 and 5 (where fuel is used), we'll never get a chance to make this awesome mileage while we're racing, since we'll never be doing any slower city or highway driving, but the Prius still manages to conserve fuel better than any other car in these games. It's possible to do an entire lap around Nurburgring, for instance, and use less than .050 of a gallon. This assumes the driver really drives ultra-conservatively, though. 

To make sure we can calculate this accurately, PD has actually included a heads-up display (HUD), which constantly shows us moment-to-moment how little fuel the car sips.

Real-life Prius drivers may find themselves distracted by their HUD monitors, which display (in high detail) how fuel is being saved, and how much of it is being saved. This goes for the game, too. The colorful HUD in GT4/5 also looks great, and can be quite distracting. I can't help staring at it occasionally, even as I'm about to back-end a MINI Cooper.
 
Like Gran Turismo 5, the Prius is in such high demand IRL, people have been putting themselves on waiting lists, which can last several months, just to get one. The Prius is one of the few cars in some parts of my country that has a higher resale value if you turn around and sell it right away. People are buying them, as Toyota struggles to keep making them.

Because of this unexpected surge of hybrid sales, a slew of automakers are currently jumping on the hybrid bandwagon, including: Ford, Chevy, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. Even Cadillac and some truck-makers have shown interest. The new mayor of my city is a total liberal (oddly, he used to be the chief of the city police department, too), and when he's not biking to work, he's driving a Prius hybrid. The Prius has become more than just a car--it's somewhat of a statement. Yes, I care about the world, it says to the rest.
 
Priuses started appearing in the late '90s, even though the concept of hybrid cars has been promised by various carmakers since the '70s. Popular Science magazine has been touting the benefits of the hybrid for years, and finally Honda and Toyota have stepped up to the plate. In fact, the original Prius was actually based on a 1974 patent from TRW, although Toyota heavily re-worked the original design to suit their own needs.
 
Typically, hybrids aren't that exciting in their appearance. Some of them don't look much different than their sedate, gasoline-powered twins. Honda's Insight is an exception; a cute little city car (which also happens to appear in GT a couple games to date). The Insight is something straight out of science fiction.

In the past few years, there have been hybrid trucks, SUVs, and even some luxury cars... all flooding the market. To be honest, the original vision pioneered by Toyota and Honda is getting lost; a lot of newer hybrid cars get only marginally better gas-mileage. Sadly most folks in America don't care for saving the planet (hence our stupid war) and the newer hybrids (Ford Escape, Chevy Silverado, etc) only get useful mileage if you drive them like you're grandma off to save some pennies at CostCo, but do not approach the stellar 60 miles per gallon (city) of a Prius.
 
All this being said...excellent gas mileage, the saving of the planet...all that stuff....let's be honest...

THE PRIUS HAS ALMOST ZERO USE AS A RACING CAR!!!

 
I don't mean to spoil the surprise! As much of a groundbreaker that the Prius is in real life, it's totally out of place in our racing game. Well, to be fair, the Priuses in GT4 and 5 can get some modifications under their hoods, and power actually can be raised. But in GT2, it's almost as if Toyota snuck the Prius into Gran Turismo's dealership just to advertize it, don't you think? Like they knew they had a chance to get their brand-new model seen by gamers when GT2 was released in 1999, and went for it. It's got the power of a Kei car, yet you can barely modify it! Yikes!

Well like I said, the cars of GT4 and 5 can dominate some lower-speed events like the Sunday Cup and FF Challenge, but unfortunately the Prius is too large to enter any of GT4's Compact Car races (Pro League or Japanese) which kinda sucks. In GT5, we can add the World Compact Car Series along with the Sunday and FF races, and sadly these are the last races I've been able to complete in a Prius in GT5's A-spec mode. It can make a comeback during a few Seasonal events, though.   

But it's not as bad as the Prius of GT2. The Prius found in GT2 is about as useful as a submarine with screen doors. You can barely modify this car. When I just said you "can barely modify it", I was not joking. That's exactly what I meant. You CANNOT modify its power at all, not without a GameShark, anyways. If you don't have a Shark, this means NO weight reductions! NO engine mods either. No tranny upgrades. You can't even mod the brakes (not that you'll need to). Only tires can be changed. And traction / stability controls can also be purchased. 

The Prius of GT2 can safely win just one race: the famous Sunday Cup at Tahiti. You can try to conquer the Kei-car races, but since the Prius is a bulky sedan almost 60" tall, it'll be a real challenge.

 

  

-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN---------------------

Well, that seems kinda odd. Other than tires and traction controls, we can't modify a Prius in GT2. And in GT4 or 5, power always remains on the low side, which means it's a bit limited as to which events a Prius can enter. So the big question: why is it in our racing games at all???!!

If you think the Prius has never been raced in real life, you'd be wrong. Here and there on the 'net I've found a few accounts of Priuses being professionally raced. Toyota recently built 3 Prius sprint cars specifically just to show that they could, it seems. And in 2002, a couple of fellows entered one in the ‘Midnite Sun to Red Sea rally’...an 8,000 km event that runs from Sweden to Jordan. They didn't necessarily want to win--they just wanted to enter the car in an attempt to finish and show that it could be done. In both these cases, the emphasis is more on the car's gasoline engine instead of its battery power. Apparently, if you run these hybrids in full-on, they'll use up all their battery power a lot faster than they'll empty their gas tanks. That rally car I just mentioned had a slightly-tweaked 115 hp engine, too.

Running out of battery power never happens in GT2, but in the 4th or 5th game it is possible to completely drain it. It'll take several (or many) laps around any typical track, but it's possible, and we get to watch all the action as it happens on the HUD. When power gets totally drained, we really notice the loss of power, too. All a sudden, the Prius can't climb hills or accelerate like it did a few moments ago.

The Prius is really all about stop and go traffic, basically; here it's at its best. City traffic keeps the car's engine off for significant periods. And if it's running, it'll be near-idle, which means very little fuel is used while the engine lends a hand at recharging the battery. In real life, this car is one of the few to receive a SULEV rating (Super Low Emissions Vehicle). There are currently a handful of other cars which have attained this level of greendom, surely there will be more and more in the years to come. 

In our game (well, in later games), the engine recharges the battery whenever we find ourselves coasting or braking thru a corner. Another interesting experiment happens if you accelerate a Prius to any speed in this game, and then maintain that speed (via a small input of throttle), the Prius will now run totally on battery power. In other words, if you accelerate a Prius to (let's say) 60 mph, and then hold the X button or Accel mushroom on the DS2 so that 60 mph is maintained, the engine will totally shut off.

Kinda cool..problem is, there is never a situation while we're actually racing that we can run completely under electricity. We'll all just have to wait till GT5 comes out. Perhaps PD will have included the Tesla Roadster in this game.
 
So I went to test drive this sucker. When you go to drive a Prius virtually, you'll notice that you don't get to choose a manual transmission. That's because there is none!

The Prius features ECVT, which stands for Electrically Continuous Variable Transmission. This means there's only ONE speed. This applies in GT4 as well. The only difference is: if you install a close, super-close, or full-custom transmission, it now becomes possible to use either A/T or M/T settings. Problem is, using any of these transmission also kills the car's electric side. The battery (apparently) is no longer displayed. Instead, the car now has your typical speedometer and tachometer dials, is possibly just another gas-powered front-drive, and is no longer interesting to drive around.

GT5's Priuses cannot be equipped with any aftermarket transmissions at all. Lots of people complain about all sorts of things in GT5. One thing they don't complain about is a lack of aftermarket trannies for the Toyota Prius. [/sarcasm] 

When we're waiting for the clock to count down at a race, let's also notice that we can't rev the engine! No, the game isn't defective, what's happening is: the Prius's gasoline engine is off when the car isn't moving! It only turns on once we're accelerating; and it won't rev higher than 4,200 to 4,500 rpms, depending on the game. Strange. When using brakes before a turn, engine revs will die almost completely, because the engine is now acting as a recharger for the battery.

In GT4 and 5, we have a nifty set of meters which display the various directions power is going as we brake, accelerate, and coast. This is that heads-up display thing I was talking of earlier. Unfortunately, one can't see a tachometer in later games like we could in GT2. Not that we'll ever need one--the Prius never redlines. It's never possible to cook its 1.5 liter engine to the limit! In real-life the electronic continuous variable transmission's job is to keep revs where they're doing the most efficient job, but in the game it'll keep them at their peak, never straying too high or too low under full-throttle.
 
Anyways, it is totally eerie racing this car. Agreed? It's so quiet...when I drove this car in GT2, the vibration motors in my worn-out Mad Katz dual shock controller were making more noise than the car on my TV!

In later games, the Prius's 1.5 liter deathbanger tends to make a lot more noise, so that the car is only quiet when it's really slowing down, its engine finally shutting off. The mixture of sounds (loud engine, squealing tires, CVT gearbox, and those motors going weeeeeee underneath it all) add up to an somewhat evil-sounding car! Try having one of your friends who knows nothing about cars listen to a Prius replay. Bet they'll have no idea what car they're listening to. :-)
 
Like I said earlier; we can't upgrade this car's power at all in GT2. What we get is what we get, and the Prius also has perhaps the highest pound to power ratio in the game; as well as the lowest hp per liter. We can't do anything more here. No computer, no turbos...we can't even bolt a new muffler on!

GT4 and 5 offer more options, but overall the Prius is still something of a money-trap.
Well look at it this way. At least we're not polluting the crystal blue Gran Turismo atmosphere. Ralph Nader might just parachute into Tahiti one day to give us a medal.
 

 

--------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING---------------------

Let's discuss this car from game to game.

GT2
The '97 Prius sedan isn't fast, as we can't modify its engine or motor, so the lack of available suspension parts aren't missed. About the only thing to do is get better tires to kill occasional understeer...and really, tires aren't full-on necessary.

The funniest thing in GT2 is that you can't buy suspension parts, you can't buy transmission or engine parts. You can't buy brakes for a Prius, but you CAN buy the 50,000 credit traction and stability controls! Ha!..like you'll really need them! Who pockets all this money? Somebody must be getting rich here!
 

GT4
The Prius appears as two different models in this game. The '02 sedan is the only one I've driven so far.  

This is one of those cars that (on Sport tires) hasn't got enough speed to really merit any difficult understeer concerns under power. The car's CVT transmission seems to limit the amount of power being forced to pavement, so wheelspin is also a rarity. Entry-corner understeer only applies if the driver brakes too late.

With power hopped-up, things aren't really that much different. Plenty of traction, there's a mild fear of entry-corner understeer (as well as plenty of leaning), but there just isn't enough power to cause wheelspin or understeer on-exit. Once the transmission is changed to an aftermarket unit, the Prius behaves more like a typical front-drive, although there still isn't enough power to really cause any major catastrophies.

GT5
In this game, there are a surprising number of Priuses, so many, I've already lost count of them all. I've already got four of these cars, and haven't even left the Beginner's Hall yet.

Several Priuses are given as prizes, you see, but I've also bought a couple as used cars. So far I've got an '02 G Sedan and an '03 Touring model. This Touring Model is from the 2nd generation, though, the one with the funny shape. There are standard models and Premium models, new and used. But what do they all have in common? They all share the same driving qualities, more or less, which makes our job easy.

Understeer is still our main concern. All models also suffer a bit from leaning, which tends to pull these tall cars about if they're entering a turn too fast, and this can cause some racing-line dilemmas.

Both of these issues are much more pronounced than they were in GT2 or GT4. This is mainly since the Prius's stock Medium Comfort radials in GT5 offer a lot less grip than the Normal tires of GT2, or the Medium Sports of GT4. One can equip lesser tires in these earlier games, of course. I never drove the Prius on simulation tires (GT2), nor did I record my experience with N tires (GT4) when I tested the G Sedan. You can go ahead and do this, of course, if you've got some burning desire to really get to "know" these cars on all levels.  

But it's not just tires, it's also the fact that in GT5 the Prius accepts some small power mods, bringing power up to 127 hp. Eventually (amazingly) the driver WILL need to spend some money on Sport tires in this game if they manage to find some arena where the Prius can safely compete at a higher level. I'm not even sure such an arena actually exists, yet. Hmmm.. Perhaps during some Seasonals it occasionally will.  

There's not much to tune here, otherwise, even though all the pertinent parts are offered. Clutch upgrades, flywheel upgrades, full-tuned suspensions, and (why?) a limited-slip are all available. So are chassis reinforcements, chassis and engine rebuilds, and weight reductions. The lowly Prius can also be shod with any grade of tire in this game.

With all these upgrades, I'll be honest; I did start wishing there were more power available. Yea, go ahead and laugh, but after zapping my way thru the three Beginner-level events the Prius Sedan feels comfortable with, I wanted to tackle the Clubman. But there just isn't enough power. Damn.   

Summary
Overall, Priuses haven't got much use as racing vehicles, but some enthusiasts (such as myself) can't help but sink a bit of money into them anyways. Curiosity and all that.


prius_tsukuba.jpg




PROS--------------------------------------------------

1). We're saving the planet of environmental pollutants...in a make-believe simulation game in which there ARE no pollutants!
 
2). GT2: It's the QUIETEST car in the game! 

3). ECVT gearbox keeps those revs locked at the car's best power zone. So even though Priuses haven't got much power, at least there are no power fluctuations a standard gearbox would create.

4). Decent beginner's car, simply because it's so damn slow.
 
5). Not too pricey, either.

6). A few small power upgrades and other part & tuning options keep the Prius active for a short while in GT4 and GT5.

 

CONS---------------------------------------------------

1). Oh God, where do we start?
 
2). No upgrades (GT2). No really, I mean it! No upgrades!

3). GT4 & 5 Priuses can take most any sort of upgrade a gasoline-powered car can accept, but they can't accept turbos. And power (at best) is limited to about 132 horses. And that's after spending over $70,000 on a Stage 3 NA kit + all other typical goodies.

4). I lied earlier when I said we can't mod a Prius in GT2. We can buy tires, as well as *snicker* TRACTION CONTROLS!! BUH HAA HAAA HAAA HAAA
 
5). President Bush is gonna get mad 'cause we're not using up all that precious oil he's been kind enough to raid other countries for.

6). Understeer and other typical front-drive concerns aren't really much of a prob for Priuses, but this is because they haven't got much power to create it in the first place.

8). The HUD in GT4/5 displays both gas and electric action, but it doesn't display revs if the stock CVT gearbox is used.
 
9). Some may get annoyed (or too zoned-out) by the constant hum from the engine, which never changes gears.

10). GT4 allows us to install close, super-close, and full-custom gearboxes, but why would anybody want to?

11). GT4 & 5: battery power eventually dies if you find yourself in a situation where the Prius actually does enough laps to kill it. Once the battery is dead, overall power-delivery gets sapped as well, and you'll need to drive "conservatively" so the engine can recharge its electrical helper.  
 
12). Odd looks.
 

Published: January 12, 2005
Edited for GT4 content: November 20, 2008
Re-edited for GT5 content: May 23, 2011

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