The Prius's 52 mpg overall is a phenomenal achievement. It's a significant improvement over the previous generation's 44 mpg overall.
There's more going on with the fourth-generation Prius than just fuel sipping, though. It still packs the traits Prius owners have come to love, such as hatchback versatility and just enough quirks. The improved handling and more sculpted styling are meant to inject a younger persona to the Prius.
Improvements to the hybrid' s powertrain allow the gas engine to shut down earlier and more often when it's not needed. Aerodynamic styling augmented by active grille shutters also helps. The car can run on electric power more often -- especially helpful in city driving. This enabled the Prius to achieve 43 mpg in our city cycle and 59 mpg on the highway. An all-wheel-drive version is also available and slightly sacrifices fuel economy.