When the Gen 2 Prius was introduced in the 2004 model year, Toyota addressed many issues experienced with earlier Gen 1 models, notably battery packs. The new Gen 2 was bigger, more high tech, offered better fuel economy and its battery pack delivered much improved performance and reliability. The Gen 2 delivers 46 mpg combined (48 cities and 45 highways). While the engine remains the same as the Gen 1 with 70-hp (33 kW) and 82 ft.-lb. of torque), the Gen 2 features a redesigned battery system that employs a smaller 201-volt battery pack that delivers better output derived from an all-new transformer (called a boost converter), which can boost voltage up to 500-volts to deliver 67-hp (50 kW) and 295 ft.-lb. of torque. Of note, the Gen 2 also saw the introduction of Toyota’s exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive. Simply put, the Gen 2 is quieter, faster, more powerful and more economical to drive. Available in different trim levels, the higher end Gen 2s use a Toyota Smart Key; ensure you know how to use it properly. To improve starting and operation in cold weather climates, the Gen 2 features an innovative solution that uses a new sturdy stainless steel thermos tank that store can reintroduce hot coolant into the powerplant days after the vehicle’s last use. In addition, the Gen 2 Prius was the first hybrid to utilize an all-electric A/C compressor for cooling. One minor annoyance is that the center-mounted gauges are not immediately intuitive. Overall, technicians who have worked on both say that the Gen 2 will be around for years. The vehicle is well worth considering if buying an older Prius.