I've spent most of today with the folks at Toyota checking out their new 3rd-Gen Prius. And if you think this is just a car for hippies and smug environmentalists, you're very wrong – this is a gadget fan's dream.
There's way too much tech built into the Prius for a single post here on Giz. There are over 1000 new patents for this generation of the hybrid vehicle alone. But here are some of the cooler features anyway:
* Keyless entry with a touch sensitive handle that locks and unlocks your car. The key fob (which ironically doesn't have any keys) uses radio frequency to let you start the car. If you try and lock the car with the keys still inside, the car will beep at you like roadrunner.
* The HUD. That's right, there's a HUD which makes monitoring your speed simple. It also lets you monitor how economically you're driving, and if you happen to be in the i-Tech model, will also indicate where to turn when you're using the satnav. Awesome.
* Auto reverse parking. Press a button when you want to park, and the car will use its sensors to park the car for you. There's something really frickin' freaky about watching the steering wheel turn by itself as the car reverses into a parking space.
* The solar panels on the roof of the car automatically control a fan in the car which maintains an optimal internal temperature. So you can leave your car in the sun in the middle of the Simpson desert, but when you hop in, it will be a pleasant ambient temperature (or at least cooler than outside). You can even start the AC from the remote if you want to cool the car down.
I'll be getting a car to drive around for a few days next week, so stay tuned for further in-depth coverage of the tech inside the car. In the meantime, the new Prius is set to launch next week for a starting price of $39,900, which is actually cheaper than the original starting price for the 1st gen Prius.