As regular readers would know, we’ve had a wide spectrum of cars in our long-term garage over the years. From large premium SUVs and luxury saloons to the smallest of hatchbacks and crossovers, and high-end supercars to basic old school sportscars, we’ve covered the entire gamut. But there is one particular category of cars that we do not feature as a long-termer as often. That is the hybrid vehicle.
Well, this is very much a reflection of the industry itself, with hybrids still accounting for a miniscule percentage of the market share here. So the last time we tested a hybrid long-term was way back in 2014 — a petrol-electric variant of the Infiniti Q50. While that Infiniti was a great car, neither that nor any other vehicle of its ilk can hold a candle to the Toyota Prius when it comes to hybrid brand value.
Thanks to an early start and association with Hollywood A-listers like Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bullock, the Prius has established itself as the synonym for the hybrid vehicle. It is by far the bestselling in the world, and starting this week, it is our long-term car.
Although this is the fourth-generation of the Prius, this is the first model that has officially gone on sale in the UAE. Those who have been following the Prius over the previous iterations would see that the current one represents a major stylistic departure. While the older models were more rounded and curvy, the new Prius is decidedly sharp and strident. The cabin is also fittingly modern, with our tester boasting an eye-catching white and blue theme. Everything from the screens to controls, knobs and levers are all appropriately unique.
But the whole point of a hybrid is saving fuel and cutting down on emissions. It’s too early for us to make any judgement, but in the few days we’ve had the Prius with us, it returned fuel economy figures averaging 4.6 litres per 100km, which is quite impressive. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you more comprehensive reports on this and other aspects of the Prius. Watch this space.