The Toyota Prius is quite possibly the most well-known hybrid car in the world. In the USA, the Prius is almost synonymous with an environmentally conscious car for people who care about the environment. Much has changed since the first model was released in 1997.
Here we take a look at the most important factors.
Running costs and MPG
For many people, the number one reason for purchasing a Prius is to save money on running costs. First of all, there is no car tax applicable to this model, meaning a potential saving of around £240 a year is available. Looking at the fuel consumption of the Prius, the manufacturer states that running on petrol alone a driver should be able to achieve 78.5mpg. Of course, this is a hybrid car, and so by combining the electrical battery power, and conventional fuel, the mpg should rise closer to 95mpg. Having said that, many users report that they cannot achieve anywhere near these figures, and new buyers should probably brace themselves for a less impressive return.
The Prius makes use of a pretty standard automatic gearbox and is really very simple to drive. There is also no key required and all the information you should need is presented on the display screen built into the dashboard (more on that later). The car runs very quietly to begin with as it will only use the electric mode up until 31mph has been achieved. This is the key reason why it can perform so well driving around town; the fact that most of the time you will only be using the battery. Apart from that, if you’re used to driving an automatic, you will really not experience too much of a difference in a Prius.
The centrepiece of the interior of the vehicle is the touch screen display. This display takes care of many things inside the vehicle, so much so that there is not even an additional display in front of the steering wheel as you would find in most cars. As well as giving you information on battery power, speed, lights etc, it is also here you will control your sat nav, stereo and various driving modes.
Although perhaps the initial target audience for the Prius was not so concerned with fancy features and good looks, Toyota has had to move with the times and introduce smarter generations of the model. All of the design features of the Prius are really quite well thought out and present a very tidy and roomy hatchback. 17 inch alloys come as standard on the T Spirit model, although lower spec versions do come with less attractive 15 inch wheels. All of the lights are really quite stylish and there is also the option of a photo-voltaic glass roof which even helps power the air-con.
The Toyota Prius achieves all of the main objectives it sets out to. What has perhaps changed recently is that the vehicle is now such a good all-round product, that it is not simply the domain of those who wish to take a more active role in protecting the environment. The Toyota Prius is now a genuine option for anyone looking for a well put together model which offers affordability, practicality and half decent looks.