Toyota have lent us a new Prius for the week. Regular readers may remember that the last time we were in LA, we rented Toyota's ubiquitous hybrid for a few days, and came away somewhat unimpressed. We ended that piece by saying this:
"The final irony? For all its technical wonder, at the end of our trip the Prius came out with an average of around 45.5mpg. Which is 5 mpg short of the diesel Fiat Punto I use on the clogged streets of London."
But now there's a new Prius on the block. Toyota have moved the styling away from the dumpy, but highly identifiable shape of the second generation car, to something that is more crisply styled, and for want of a better word, 'dynamic' looking. The new car also agressively attempts to shut up those of us who've never been great hybrid fans, and who've long thought a good turbo diesel would be its fuel economy equal. The headline figure is 89g/km of Co2, and 72.4 mpg.
We'll run a regular blog/update over the week with our views on the car, but for now, first impressions are very favourable. The Prius is incredibly quiet - its new three way EV, Eco and PWR modes meaning you can switch the car's character quite decisively. In EV it will run electrically, up to 30mph for a couple of miles. Which means in stop start London traffic you barely have the motor kick in at all. In PWR, it's actually quite sprightly and responsive. Most impressive is that in 15 miles of chock-a-block London traffic, and without 'trying', we're getting 65.5mpg so far.
Wonder if we can keep that up over a week...Check back for more soon. Right now, I have to dash and pick up my fiance, who demanded to be picked up in it from work once she heard I was in central London with it. A self proclaimed hybrid-hater, it'll be interesting to see if she's impressed as I am on first acquaintences. Oh and if you've any questions or things you'd like us to test, leave a comment or drop us a line.
Posted by Joseph Simpson on the 13th October 2009