During its time at wheels HQ, the Prius brought out a competitive edge from the team. As you all know, the Toyota’s focus is on efficiency and so Sony, Kinan and I had been battling each other for the title of hypermiling champion (yawn...) and, we have a winner...
Before he’s revealed, it must be noted that the Prius did not put a foot wrong in the six weeks that it was with us and considering all of the wizbangery it packs (from the complex drivetrain to the multi-information display and so much more in between) this is an impressive feat. It’s coped exceptionally well under these extreme climes too (the AC always blew an ice-storm) but the warning light did come on... only because the pressure in one of the tyres was low! A pat on the back then for being utterly reliable — and when you chuck in its good road manners and its ever so supple ride, you could easily travel huge distances in total comfort in this car, and that’s just what I did last week.
With Eco mode engaged, cruise control set at a blistering, er, 80kph and at least a gram in weight lost having starved myself the night before I was convinced I’d record the best fuel efficiency and managed a pretty decent 5.1 litres per 100km. It turned out to be the worst of the three averages. Kinan did marginally better at 4.8 litres per 100km when he had the car a month into our long-term test but it was editor Sony’s scarcely believable 4.6 litres per 100km, set in the very first week, that gave him bragging rights.
The Prius is regarded as the king of the hybrids but that may have to do with the fact that it doesn’t really have that much competition in its segment here in the UAE yet. More will undoubtedly follow — that’s just the direction the automotive industry is going — but with the headstart that it has had over other brands, it is highly likely the Toyota will continue refining itself as it’s done with this generation and be deserving of the crown for some time.
It isn’t my cuppa tea (the CVT and polarising styling put paid to that) but it’s ideal for those who care about the environment (if they ignore the small issue of pollution created during the manufacturing process...) and are ready to accept that cars of this ilk are the future.
I’m not and so I’m off to fill my 6.6-litre V8 1980 Firebird with a tank of super and happily cruise all night. Its fuel efficiency is measured in smiles to the gallon, not miles. That’s the way I like it...
There is no doubt that the Corolla is a firm favourite with customers all over the world but I bet the Prius will eventually overtake it in the popularity stakes thanks to its futuristic aesthetics and technology. So, if you’re the sort of person that pines for the future right now, then one way to go about that is to buy this hybrid.
Highs: A good alternative to the Corolla
Lows: Too futuristic for traditional customers?
It won’t blow you away or pin you back in your seat and saying it is dynamic or sporty would be wide of the mark too, but, when you switch it to Power mode it feels a lot livelier and is more fun to drive than when it’s in Eco mode — but it still feels rather softly sprung and has some body roll to contend with.
Highs: Smooth ride
Lows: Soft suspension — don’t push it hard in the corners