My Mom has been wanting a Prius since they first came out. The car is efficient, spacious, reliable, and fairly affordable considering the improvements in range and energy use offered by the hybrid system. All of these things are great, but there has been one thing holding her back all this time… The seats! My Mother (like many women out there) is not very tall. She doesn’t let this vertical disability get her down however, she just requires seats that can be adjusted vertically to help make up for it. It doesn’t hurt to have a four way adjustable steering wheel either, which the new Prius does.
Considering that Prius owner demographics tend to skew female, I’m surprised Toyota has waited this long to roll out the vertical seat adjustment feature. Even my sister’s ’97 Subaru has it built in, albiet in the form of a mechanical pump lever. The 2010 Prius has stepped up its adjustability but it’s still all mechanical, the only electrical ergonomic adjustment is the driver side lumbar support. So get this, on the new Prius you can move the steering wheel up, down, closer and further from the driver and the driver seat can be moved forward, backward, tilt up and down, and now vertically up an down.
The picture below show the drivers seat in its its lowest vertical position and its highest vertical position (not including forward or back adjustments, just up and down). Just below that is a shot of the pump lever that moves the seat up and down.
The picture below shows the steering wheel all the way in (towards the dash) and all the way out (towards the driver). When this feature is combined with the forward/back sliding of the seat and the up/down vertical positioning described above virtually anyone will fit comfortably in the car and have visibility over the dash board. Aside from being short person friendly, the new Prius also has more leg and head room as the car was built on a longer frame. Well, that’s about it… We’ve also done a complete 2010 generation III Prius review with more details so click on over and check it out! It’s also worth noting that the new Prius is quieter than the old one.