Technology: It's Easy Being Green

The hybrid Prius just got roomier for families who want to save at the pump

It's a funny feeling to tool around town in a $20,000 family car and get noticed as though you were driving a Ferrari. But that's exactly what happened when I took the futuristic-looking 2004 Toyota Prius for a spin around New York City. The new, improved hybrid car goes on sale in mid-October, but it's already getting plenty of buzz.

Toyota introduced the Prius in the U.S. in 2000, and Honda's Civic hybrid came out last year. Both cars save gas by drawing power from an electric motor that automatically recharges as you drive--no plugging in required. But the completely redesigned...

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