Much has been writing about the Prius, so what more can be said about it?
The gist is the iconic Toyota Prius revolutionized the world in more ways than we can write about. Toyota’s bold move into the hybrid segment, along with Honda was striking, while not earth shattering at the time, it ushered the way forward. In hindsight, the move was gutsy since gas prices weren’t motivating many car makers that route. Somehow, the little Prius hybrid project took a life of its own and soon enough, Hollywood’s whose who had one. Was it lucky timing or did Toyota foresee the future? One thing is for sure, the Prius is an icon.
How Does It Feel Driving It? 0 to 60? Who cares! Handling? Please, let’s be serious. This car is a people mover and it does it from location A to B, period. And herein lies the gist, the Prius does what it’s supposed to do, well. No more, no less, just well. It doesn’t handle particularly well. In fact, it doesn’t handle well at all. I found myself on more than one occasion brake more than I would coming into a curve. The uncomfortable sensation was that I didn’t know how the car would react, should something unexpected happen. While the nose knows how to follow where you steer, it doesn’t communicate well with the rest of the car, leaving a floating sensation in the back. In an odd kind of way, the Prius tries to be bigger than it is. Blame on the SUV/Pick Up truck fad but the driving position is high, and I didn’t feel I was in a small car.
I achieved great mileage around town as expected but where the Prius took me by surprise was that it managed some impressive highway numbers. I was able with little work to keep the consumption at around 55mpg at 75 miles per hour, peaking at 75 with a feather foot and a lot of hypermiling.
Technically Speaking. The electric motor comes on whenever and at the strangest times when cruising, especially on highways. As you should know by now, under 20 miles per hour and with a feather foot, it’s all electric but press harder and the Atkinson cycle gas engine comes on with little to no perception.
Truth be told, the urge to drive a Prius was never compelling to ask for one. When the opporturnity was presented, I decided it might be a good time to have a second look at this car that defied the industry. After spending a day behind the wheels of a second generation Prius, my feelings are mixed. It was enjoyable in a strange, almost compulsive way. Fighting the MPG sensor to stay as high as possible was fun and makes the car interesting to drive. However, the driving dynamics are nothing to be exited about. In many ways, it’s the typical modern car that aims to please all but will leave many hungering for more. I look forward to the much anticipated plug-in hybrid version, due out soon.
One last though. With Honda trying to revive the CRZ with a hybrid drivetrain, why wouldn’t Toyota bring a more sporty version of the Prius? One thing is for certain, it is clear why the Prius hasn’t made much dent in European sales where small engines and highly tuned turbo-diesel rules. The future is interesting and where the Prius will go, we can only imagine.