Searches don't equal purchases, but there's a lot of interest in the Toyota Prius out there – if not quite so much as for iconic muscle cars with horses on them. Hybrid Cars notes that the Prius was the second-most-searched-for model on Autoweek this year, trailing only the Ford Mustang and coming in ahead of the Chevrolet Corvette.

While Autoweek readers tend to put more of an emphasis on speed and performance that green credentials, Hybrid Cars says the lofty ranking of the Prius reflects a car that's reached "cult status" in the US. With Toyota being the first to mass-market a hybrid, the Prius has become as much a personal statement as it is a way to combat both rising gas prices and auto emissions.

That said, US Prius sales, which have surged 81 percent this year, have dwarfed those of the Mustang. The hybrid was the best-selling car in California and through November, Toyota sold almost 217,000 Prius variants, including almost 135,000 of the standard hatchback and more than 32,000 each of the Prius V wagon and Prius C compact. By comparison, Mustang sales through November totaled 77,458 units, up 18 percent from a year earlier.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is the #1 selling car in California. And we've had some pretty high gas prices. It is nice that some other automakers are FINALLY starting to challenge them though with the Volt, C-Max, Fusion, etc.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a prius driver I don't often pass people on two lane roads, but when I do I put it in power mode.
      Eideard
      • 1 Year Ago
      At a local Ford dealer, this weekend, picking up my wife's shiny new Fiesta - fits our budget - and there was a pretty new Prius V on the lot. I asked how that walked in - and our salesman just pointed to a new C-Max on the showroom floor. I have to admit just side-by-side I'd take the Ford hybrid.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eideard
        My local car rental has started getting in C-Max Hybrids. Knowing that the rate for a Prius was almost 4x the rate for a intermediate rental (destroying the value of saving $$ on gas), I hesitantly asked what the C-Max would be rented as. My friend explained they were just considered a mid-size; there was no "pious-tax" like there was on the Prius! We both agreed that his company (a major national chain) would do quite well to keep that pricing, and that they should put as many C-Maxes int their fleet as possible. Next road trip, I look forward to taking the C-Max over the mountains. The 2012 Sky-Activ Mazda 3 was nearly flawless - I seriously can't find anything worth complaining about. Average speeds of 80-85 (kept pace throughout the day with a 911 Turbo, an old GMC Typhoon, and oo la la, a Tesla Model S), and an average fuel economy of 34ish mpg, slightly harmed by three hours of idling gridlock in congestion...
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eideard
        A local Ford dealer is advertising to come in to test drive the C-Max AND the Prius V that they keep on lot to allow people to do side-by-side comparisons. That is a pretty strong indication of their confidence in the C-Max. Of course, the fall-out from the MPG numbers issue may knock them down a peg.