By on May 5, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius Track Test

You may have heard about the challenge I laid down to Jalopnik’s Travis Okulski. You’re probably read about brother Bark’s experience at NJMP this past weekend. But if you haven’t, the story goes like so: A team of scrappy Midwesterners fought a bunch of Euro-weenies and high-net-worth individuals on the mean streets straights and curves of New Jersey. They endured fatigue, crippling expense, and hair-raising 100-mph off-track excursions to challenge their inner demons and define themselves.

This is not their story.

This is the story of the Prius they drove. Over 1,600 miles. From Ohio to New York to New Jersey to Philly and back to Ohio.

Plus fifteen laps on a racetrack.

2015 Toyota Prius Track Test

Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the galaxy and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed in advance:

  • I thought the Prius was absolutely brilliant, and I’m going to give you ten reasons why.
  • I also thought the Prius was depressingly cheap and annoyingly outmoded, and I’m going to give you five reasons why.
  • My opinion about the Prius has been changed forever.
  • My opinion about the bulk of Prius owners remains unchanged.

Alright, let’s get to it. This is the TTAC of 2015, so instead of telling you a sordid tale about a bottle-blonde working girl named Natalya who stood next to me and told her date, “I’m worth the money” as I watched Mike Stern, Anthony Jackson, and Lionel Cordrew just kill it at 55 Bar in the Village last Wednesday night, we’re going to have a listicle.

Ten Reasons The 2015 Prius Is Absolutely Brilliant. Number Six Will Blow Your Mind.

1. No tumblehome. The sides of the third-generation Prius are actually concave. The side windows reach straight up from a surprisingly low doorsill to a squared-off meeting with the roof. This car feels hugely roomy and comfortable to me, more so than any other car with its footprint on sale today, and that’s why.

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2. Reasonable driver position. There’s plenty of room to be had between the door card and the floating console. The blank space ahead of you, where the instrument panel would be in, say, a Ferrari F12berlinetta, is grey plastic adorned with a “Synergy” waveform pattern that also appears in every glass divider in the lobby of every mid-price hotel in America. And maybe it’s because I’d driven a ’99 Camaro SS right before getting into the Prius, but the distance to the windshield base was positively reasonable.

3. The vision thing. There’s no “DLO Fail”, as our own Sajeev Mehta would say. The front quarter windows are useful for parking. The rear quarter windows have heating elements on them. Driver vision is clear and nearly unobstructed. And the rear double window in the hatch – holy fuck, man, when was the last time you drove a car that let you see the license plate of the car following you? This is the opposite of the face-down-ass-up thing that most modern sedans have. Love it.

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4. Uninvaded space. The Prius had room for three people, their luggage, their race equipment, and a carbon-fiber Rainsong jumbo on which I played “Ramble On” after practice on Friday. “Jesus,” my brother said, “make that stop.” The packaging just plain works for both people and luggage.

5. You can turn the DRLs off. Every car in the world should offer this feature. Combined with the “EV mode”, to be discussed shortly, this would make the world’s greatest night-time drive-by vehicle ever. Room for a Bulgarian AK-47 clone in the back? Check! The ability to roll silent? Check! No DRLs to alert your rivals? Check!

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6. The hybrid powertrain, as implemented in this car, is beyond reproach. From Columbus to Manhattan, the Prius returned about 51 mpg despite being asked to cruise at 80-90 mph. But it was on the road to Chinatown that I had my own road-to-Damascus moment. Exiting the Holland tunnel, I pressed the “EV mode” button. The engine didn’t turn on until we arrived at the hotel and had to wait for the valet. No fuss. No drama. Half an hour on the battery, stopping, starting, listening to Father John Misty on the crank-up. It would have been two gallons’ worth of gas in anything else.

What Toyota has done with this Prius is simply brilliant. You can watch the energy displays if you like, but you don’t need to. Only once was I caught out by the Synergy Drive; making a left turn onto a crowded four-lane, I pumped the throttle to sneak into a hole between two cars and was unexpectedly braked by the Toyota’s decision to cut the engine. That’s it. That was the only time I didn’t like the system in the space of 1,600 miles. I’m a believer.

7. The quiet aero. True, my current fleet of vehicles, containing two Porsches, two Honda motorcycles, and a car (the Honda Accord) which has been infamous for road noise since 1976, tends to damage my idea of what a quiet car is. Still. This Prius has less wind noise than anything else I’ve ever driven. You can have a reasonable conversation at 90 mph.

CharleyCamera052014 261

8. The handling. Yeah, it’s on those low-roll Avids, which aren’t great. But when I took the Prius around New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning course, the Prius was a capable and friendly partner. It can hit 96 mph on the front straight before recovering sixty watt-hours braking at the “4” mark. You can rotate it – wait, I’m laughing as I type – you can rotate it at turn entry on the Synergy Drive recovery mode of the brake pedal. No, it’s not fast, but it’s not undriveable. More importantly, the Prius ended its tour of the track with a firm brake pedal, no worrying heat smells, and two bars of battery left in reserve. Hey, it’s got two controversial F1 technologies: a CVT (hey, Williams!) and battery energy recovery (hey, every F1 team during KERS development except Williams!) The only caveat: The stability control doesn’t like high-G maneuvers at freeway speeds.

9. The air conditioning. Oh what a feeling, to sit in the Prius on a hot Jersey day and just let the battery run the A/C for you while the engine sleeps. Guilt-free motoring at its finest.

10. The stereo. Best cheap-car stereo I’ve heard in a while. The dynamics of it won’t cause my friends at Stereophile to pen any rapturous tributes but at least it’s loud enough for a 43-year-old man who has been deafened by years of unmuffled club racers and Benelli shotguns operated indoors.

After six days with the Prius, I was ready to buy one without question. Keep in mind that only the existence of my personal fleet would make such an idea palatable; I’m about as likely to buy a Chinese-made dress shirt as I am to make a car that can’t break 100 in the quarter my only vehicle. Still, for ninety-five percent of the driving that I do, the Prius makes more sense than anything else on the road. And trust me, after blasting out to the lead of a forty-one-car pack while the Bimmers behind you bang fenders loud enough for you to feel it in your chest, getting into a car that “turns on” with a beep is oddly comforting.

Of course, the Prius has problems, and here are five of them:

1. The dashboard is garbage. Forget the fact that it’s in the center. The displays themselves are a strange mixture of cheap monochrome LCD and monochrome segment LCD and backlit icons like you’d find on a God-damned ’79 Tercel. Every time you look at the display, you’re reminded of just how they found the money for the Toyota Synergy Drive in a $24,000 car. No Ford made after the Tempo looks this cheap inside.

2. The rest of the car is cheap, too. You can load these things up but my rental-spec “Prius One” lacked basic features such as a three-blink turn signal. It’s equipped like a base Accent despite costing half again as much. There’s no reason for it other than to push you upmarket to the five trim levels above. It’s exploitative and stupid in the best GM practice.

3. It also treats you like an idiot. Yes, we all know the kind of people who buy these things in droves: feckless, mouth-breathing Whole-Foods-shopping asexuals who treat the government like a surrogate parent and use phrases like “I’m not okay with that” and “Here’s why that’s a problem.” Some day it will be legal to cut those people down from horseback like a Dothraki, but in the meantime they have to be coddled by a car that BEEPS INSIDE WHEN YOU’RE BACKING UP. I know I’m backing up, damn it! I also don’t need the car to flash some tacky-ass additional display every time I touch the Volume button. I know I’m touching the Volume button, because I’m a functioning human. What’s worse: the “you’re-touching-a-button” display lights up when you touch the button, but you have to press the button more to get it to do anything.

4. The seats are fairly miserable. Front and back. They’re shaped oddly and made of mouse fur. Toyota knows how to make a great seat – the Lexus RC F that showed up at our race proves that. They just don’t give you one here.

5. It’s really slow. Yes, I know that’s part of the package. But I hate it. I don’t see why there isn’t some KERS-style maximum-discharge mode for when you really want to get up to that open spot in the lane next to you.

And that’s it.

A thousand miles in a Prius will make you a believer, as long as you understand what it is. It’s not a Swiss Army Knife, it’s not a Hellcat, it’s not a Tesla Model S. It’s the most intelligently-executed basic transportation since the Model T. As such, it lacks both surprise and delight. If you don’t like it, get an Accord V6.

The Prius is not brilliant because it’s a hybrid. By and large, hybrids suck and it doesn’t matter if you’re referring to the Highlander Hybrid or the Panamera Hybrid. The hybrid concept only works when you apply it to the Prius, the same way that a double-clutch transmission is racetrack magic in a McLaren 650S but utterly miserable in your commuting Fiesta. The Prius isn’t brilliant because it’s a hybrid. It’s brilliant because it is designed for a single purpose – efficient transportation – and the HS-Drive is a part of that design. A Prius without the battery would be a better commuter than an Elantra with one. But as a single, unified system, the standard Prius is flat fucking wonderful.

If only I didn’t feel dirty after driving it, like I’d been caught reading a Jezebel article about The Top Ten Ways Men Are Stare-Raping You At The Gym or something. I think I can fix that. If you’ll excuse me, I have a superbike that needs some conspicuous wheely-ing.

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156 Comments on “2015 Toyota Prius, Track Tested Review...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    “lacked basic features such as a three-blink turn signal.”

    I would consider that to be a benefit, not a curse. I have the three-blinks-whether-you-want-them-or-not, and I really dislike it.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Agree – I find the three-blink on BMWs & MINIs annoying at times. It works, but requires brain space. Hmm did I push the indicator stalk down far enough or not far enough, is the blinker auto-cancelling or not? Ditto with the double-pull on the doorhandles to get out of the car. All it does is confuse friends – I really don’t get what problem the Germans think they’re solving there.

      Also, FWIF regarding the negative #3: Both the reverse beep and the display mirroring of steering wheel inputs can be switched off. It’s the first thing I did when the wife got a Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        I had the reverse beep disabled, but I like the mirroring of the steering wheel controls, at least at night when it’s harder to see the buttons.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I really don’t get what problem the Germans think they’re solving there.”

        If you are driving in the left lane of the autobahn and wish to indicate your desire to pass, you use your left turn signal. (Flashing high beams is not acceptable.) I would presume that the three-flash option is meant to be used primarily for that purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Just because you don’t understand the feature doesn’t make it useless.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You must be great at cutting people off. (At last, we’ve discovered that you actually do have a talent.)

        I dislike them because three flashes is rarely enough. Don’t start the maneuver until others have a chance to see that you’re going to be doing it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        It has nothing to do with not understanding how they work, they’re a pain, they’re super sensitive to being accidentally hit, and rarely do I need exactly 3 blinks.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I hate the three-blink signal because it makes people think three blinks are enough. They’re not. Even if you change lanes pretty quickly it takes 6-8 blinks to give people a blink or two of notice and then keep blinking until you’re established in the new lane.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Exactly. You usually need the first 2-3 indicators just to alert other drivers that you are about to make a move, then several more to complete the maneuver.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          If you are so close that three blinks is insufficient, you are probably too close anyway. And decent cars let you set the number of autoblinks higher anyway if you wish.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            And Prius drivers are accused of being smug…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Why does not being close require fewer blinks? You blink about twice to let people know your intent, then you keep blinking until you’re established in the lane you’re moving to. That applies whether you’re squeezing into a tiny hole in city traffic or on a wide-open interstate.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The stereotypes of BMW drivers have some truth to them.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Three blinks is usually enough to signal your intentions. I see no reason for the signal to be on throughout the entire lane change – It doesn’t generally take me 5 minutes to move from one lane to another, and I am virtually never squeezing in between other cars. If I need more than that, the option is there to simply turn the signal ON. Or tap the stalk again for another three flashes. Not rocket science.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Three blinks is not enough because you can’t rely on other drivers seeing/noticing immediately, and signaling through completion is necessary because those inattentive drivers need information of what your intentions are while you are between lanes. No, it’s not enough that they see you moving laterally, they need to know that is your intent.

            Since three blinks is not enough, and since mistakes happen (accidental hit of stalk, change of mind) it’s undesirable to have e.g., seven blinks. And since it is also undesirable to have to perform a second action to deactivate the blinks, it is better to simply not have the auto blink feature in the first place.

            In summary:
            – To use turn signals well, you will hold the stalk longer than the auto blink feature. Thus having the feature adds no value to proper use of turn signals.
            – When mistakes occur, the auto feature makes things worse. Thus, having the feature destroys value.
            – The net benefit of auto blinks is negative, and therefore, the feature should not exist.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Now I can see why some people think that a quick use of the turn signal provides them license to cut off other drivers. (“But I signaled!!! Isn’t that enough?!?!?!”)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Three blinks is usually enough to signal your intentions.”

            Only if you think everyone is staring at you all the time. People can easily be looking away for more than three blinks.

            “I see no reason for the signal to be on throughout the entire lane change.”

            Other than the law?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            If I am so close to another car that whether they see me or not REALLY matters, I will not use the autoblink function, I will turn the signal fully on. I always assume those around me are not paying attention anyway. Or trip the lever for another 3 blinks. Easy.

            There is no requirement to signal throughout a lane change in my state. In fact, if your lane change will not affect other vehicles it is not legally required to signal at all (though I do it even on an empty highway – force of habit). The legal requirement is to signal for at least 100ft prior to your lane change/turn, and at highway speed three blinks more than satisfies that requirement.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Unless you suffer from some sort of odd case of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome that makes turn signal usage difficult for you, there isn’t a good reason to not use turn signals with the objective of making yourself conspicuous to other road users, rather than attempting to beat a completely arbitrary three-flash clock.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Pch,

      BMW drivers are confused. What is this three-blink device you speak of?

      And turn signal?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Judging from what I’ve seen, turn signals are optional equipment under FMVSS.

        Once upon a time, I had a jerk who cut me off in traffic as he failed to signal. Since we were in gridlock and he was in a convertible, I decided to share my displeasure.

        I rolled down my window: “Excuse me, but I think that there’s something wrong with your car… Your turn signals don’t seem to work.”

        He responded with some incoherent profane rant that attempted to blame me for being there, as if it was some kind of shock that a busy roadway would have other cars on it. What a maroon.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      I have a Prius, and a MINI with the option of three blinks. I have the three blinks turned off on the MINI. If I want three blinks, I can do it manually.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      I hate the 3-blink feature too. In my Porsche Cayman S a second press of the signal lever doesn’t stop it, either. If you accidentally activate it you are stuck with all 3 blinks.

      A further problem with the feature, at least here in California, is that it doesn’t blink long enough to fulfill legal obligations. On the “freeways” I believe current law requires signaling for 5 seconds before starting a lane change. On non-freeways you need to signal 60 feet in advance of a turn but also continue signaling throughout the turn. Either way, 3 blinks isn’t nearly long enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Unlike some of those posting above, the state has figured out that turn signals don’t do much good if other drivers on the road don’t see you using them.

        I only find the three-flash feature useful if I’m starting a passing maneuver on a road that is fairly empty and the slower traffic is well ahead of me. In town, it’s pretty useless.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      One of my four cars is a Prius, and yeah, the beeping in the car in reverse is obnoxious. I don’t know why they did that, but the good news is that the dealer can disable in in about 2 minutes, for free.

      Overall, that is a great article, Jack. For the most part, you are right on with the good, and bad of a Prius, and I’ve had one for 5 years.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @kokomokid:

        They did made it beep in reverse because tho position of the shift joystick doesn’t tell you who gear you’re in.

        The spring moves the electronic joystick — or at least it did before our spring broke. Ours is an 11 year old car which han survived my wife’s early 20s and our two kids.

        Every so often, some idiot crashes a car by putting it in forward when they want reverse. One of these people bashed up the wall of my favorite sandwich shop whet I was in college. My guess is that Toyota has annoyed the crap out of millions of Prius owners to prevent those rare accidents from happening, or at least to prevent being sued successfully when it does.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Prius. Then shalt thou blink the Holy Turn Signal to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt blink, and the number of the blinking shall be three. Four shalt thou not blink, neither blink thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then turneth thou thy Holy Prius Steering Wheel towards thy neighboring car in the neighboring lane, who, driving an SUV and therefore being naughty in My sight, shall yieldeth.”

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I was going to post the same thing.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I swear #4 is why most people buy it. Like many Honda’s it looks small from the outside but is actually HUGE on the inside. I bet most CUVs has less useable room. The dash and the slowness are its downsides, but most people don’t track their cars so if you can live with the silly dash graphics the Prius is an excellent, all around, “normal” car. Oh and as a bonus it greats mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      This was the majority reason why we ended up with the Prius V. Drove the Sienna but found it really not nice to drive, it was coarse. Wife liked the Rav 4, but there is precious little space in it for kids and luggage. The fuel economy of the Prius is impressive, but with the amount we drive, the premium we paid to purchase, will never be recouped in savings. All the same, a really good functional vehicle.

      A side note, the EV operation mode has really got me interested in a pure EV for the next purchase. If the Volt PHEV was put into a vehicle with the V’s package(they could make it more attractive too) then it would be a great veehicle for us.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      I just turn off the dash graphics most of the time. I’ve never bothered to learn what they mean.

      I’m wondering about Jack’s gas mileage, though. He said he got 51 on a high speed trip on the interstate, but I get only 44-45 for my trips between Florida and Indiana, going 75-77 when the SUV’s aren’t impeding my progress by blocking the passing lane.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m under the impression that people buy it for the green halo, kept it for the interior space utilization, and maintain it because it has the reliability of a cockroach.

      At least that’s been our experience with it. Oh, and you still can’t beat the MPGs. After 11 years with the thing, my wife won’t let it go when I eventually buy an EV to do the same work. I’m OK with that because it’s a comfy old shoe that’s cheap to own.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    “From Columbus to Manhattan, the Prius returned about 51 mpg despite being asked to cruise at 80-90 mph.”

    That’s quite impressive at that speed to maintain that mileage. Sadly, diesels achieved that mileage status over a decade ago before the govt f*cked them all up. (Although at much lower speeds, as in legitimate freeway speeds,not sustained 90 mph)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Gas MPG and diesel MPG are not directly comparable. Diesel has higher energy density, i.e. more carbon.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        That’s why they’re superior.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          That’s like arguing that a donut is healthier than a carrot because it has more calories.

          MPG is not a measure of energy efficiency. Having more carbon isn’t better or worse, it’s just what it is.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            Higher BTU per gallon = more work per said gallon of fuel. Gasoline engines have made a lot of improvements in recent years and work good in little commuters but put a load on the engine and that efficiency goes right out the tail pipe.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That isn’t a measure of efficiency.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Given we buy both by the gallon and not by the pound or btu, of course they are comparable.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        Diesel costs significantly more per gallon than the regular unleaded that the Prius runs on.

        $/mile is the only measure of efficiency that is objective and easily figurable. Don’t forget to include the maint costs of the diesel car and the Prius in that, btw.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Having been behind enough soot-belching diesel trucks and cars, I’m glad the gubbmint f*cked them up. Hate breathing that exhaust, even the ones that seem to be running properly.

      The mpg advantage of the Prius grows greatly over diesel in city use.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Sorry, that’s a biased comment with more opinion than fact. No properly tuned diesel belches black smoke excluding the dim witted idiots that intentionally tune them to run hot (more fuel than air) and 20 year old semis loaded to the hilt.

        • 0 avatar

          This. When I see people rolling coal in their heavy-duty F-350s and Rams, it makes me want to kick all their teeth out. And I’m not a violent person…

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Sorry, that’s a biased comment with more opinion than fact. No properly tuned diesel belches black smoke excluding the dim witted idiots that intentionally tune them to run hot (more fuel than air) and 20 year old semis loaded to the hilt”

          Diesel produce more particulates an more oxides of nitrogen & sulphur then gas engines do. The Prius produces less yet.

          Diesels, of course, used to be _even worse_ when it came to emissions until, as you say, the government f*cked them up by requiring them to be not as filthy.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            The OEMs were doing quite well improving the efficiency and cleanliness of diesel engines on their own. HPCR technology was several years old before the mandated DPF and over extensive use of EGR which plugs the internals full of soot was required to meet the target emission levels (which only improved incrementally by the way.) AND they were all getting substantially better fuel mileage with longer OCI before the lovely mandate. So in trade off for MARGINALLY better air quality each truck that runs OTR on a daily basis does so at the cost of several extra oil changes per year at 6-7 gallons a pop and sacrificed 1-2 mpg which equates to thousands of gallons of fuel burned per year PER truck. How many trucks do you see on the road everyday? How many thousands of gallons a day do you suppose we are burning for MARGINALLY better air? Were not even at the break even point when all factors are considered. Yes, the government f*cked diesel technology up royally, but all the right people are benefiting from it so all is well, right? Nothing but a big smoke show.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            OEMs only reduce emissions to the extent that they have to.

            The fact that they would build separate systems for Europe that produce more pollution than permitted by California or the EPA, and that they otherwise use fewer controls outside of Europe and the US whenever they can get away with it are good indications that these reductions in NOx, particulates, etc. are not strictly voluntary.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            Comparing Europe to the US is like arguing a donut is healthier than a carrot because…oh wait someone already used that one.

            Europe and the US have very little in common, mainly vehicle models and a crooked EPA. They build cars to their local requirements. A Ford built in Australia or Asia wouldnt be built to US “standards” so why should Europe? Comparing them to each other is just not comparable.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Are particulates healthier in Europe? Do they build better lungs?

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            I suggest you look at the NOX threshold now vs 2007 before you side with the crimanals. I’m all for cleaner engines and lower pollution. I’m not all for trading one pollution for another,which is all we’ve done, while lining the pockets of some and stripping the pockets of others. As I said,its nothing but a big smoke screen.

            Furthermore, if a truck now has to burn 200 gallons of fuel vs the 175 gallons of fuel that used to be required to travel the same route and haul the same load, how much cleaner are your lungs really going to be? They won’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Japanese Buick

            Saying the govt f*cked up diesel by making it become cleaner is like saying the govt f*cked up paint by banning lead in it.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            You need to find a better comparison. They didn’t replace a toxin (lead) with another which is essentially what they did to diesel. Read my last paragraph above your reply and tell me our atmosphere is for the better. Nobody that knows anything about diesel technology can say with a straight face that diesel didn’t take a huge hit in fuel mileage when the all knowing EPA stepped in with their latest round of emissions. They like to take credit for cleaner air but the truth is simply switching from 500PPM LSD to 15PPM ULSD (which happened concurrently) did more for air quality than forcing the use of DOC and DPF which coincidentally increased the fueling requirements.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      jrmason says his mileage comparison was “at much lower speeds, as in legitimate freeway speeds, not sustained 90 mph.” If that’s the case, then the comparison is pretty much worthless anyway, as there is a huge difference in mileage at 55-60 and mileage at 80-90. I’ve had cars that can get 30+ at 60 but drop down to the low 20’s at 85.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Do you drive 55mph on the freeway? I sure hope not.

        Freeway speed limits here are between 70 and 75mph and I drive about 5mph over given the conditions are safe. Yes there is a big difference between 75-80 and 90 which is why I mentioned it. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Good review!

    More power is definitely a must. I really wish they would throw the Camry’s 2.5L hybrid setup into the Prius, with some real tires and an IRS. Hell, sell it as a Lexus, but don’t touch that god damn perfect kammback (and ruin it like with the CT/HS). I think a lot of folks would gladly trade a couple of MPGs for base Honda Accord performance. And with the Prius’ lowish curb weight the combo of 200HP and legit tires could make for a legit low key driver’s car. CVT and all….

    Still waiting on that dual Chrysler 200 review by the way…….

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Derek never turned in his side! You’re going to get a single 200 review :)

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Prius buyers don’t want more HP. They want more efficiency.

      Ford will happily sell you a C-Max with 188 HP, but it isn’t as efficient as a Pruis. As a result, people don’t really buy it.

      • 0 avatar

        I happen to think the Prius looks better than the C-Max.

        No, really.

        The Prius has a nice, smooth profile, while the C-Max just looks like a half-arsed minivan/wagon mash-up. Truthfully, the C-Max is more a competitor to the Prius V than the regular Prius hatchback, but maybe I’m just bitter that we didn’t get the better-looking Grand C-Max like we were *supposed* to.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I don’t like the look of the Prius at all.

          I like the look of the C-Max besides the grille. It has the Fusiony grille, plus the Escape grille. Why does it need two grilles, Ford?

          Either way, I bought the C-Max for function, not looks. I would have bought the C-Max with or without the hybrid powertrain. It’s a good powertrain that will prove to be reliable, but I would have bought a gas or diesel powered version if we had it.

          Ford was smart not to bring over the Grand C-Max or S-Max. As much as I like both, they would be too expensive here and end up as showroom poison. The Grand C-Max would get killed by the cheap FCA vans and other 6-7 passenger vehicles on the Ford lot.

          • 0 avatar

            The Prius is really ugly.

            all the current Fords are really ugly. Fish-faced with slitty eyes, and a downer of an expression.

            That’s not saying much, though, because most current cars are really ugly.

            I’m surprised the Prius has such good visibility. It doesn’t look like it would have good visibility.

            And, yes, 51mpg at 80-90 is amazing.

            Great review, Jack!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hey also I’ve seen two brand new Escapes, and they really catch the eye from the back. The resurgence of the full-width tail lamp goes on!

            (I also really like the razor-thin brake lamp lines on the Challenger currently.)

        • 0 avatar
          nguyenvuminh

          Kyree, it seems as though you’re reading my mind. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I do think the Prius is brilliant in its technology, and it looks much better than the criticism that is laid on it. I do think the C-Max that I test drove felt better in terms of handling. And I am still pissed that Ford changed their mind about bringing the Grand C-Max to the US. Without SkyActiv in the Mazda5, I bought the Mazda5 but without the enthusiasm that I would have had with the SkyActiv (or with the Grand C-Max had it been available).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Even my sister, who does not notice ANY cars except for very high end stuff, noticed the C-Max. She said, “Wow, that’s really ugly!”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s because it has two faces. Is it supposed to look like the Escape or Fusion? Ford says both! Add it’s stumpy proportions, and it looks like an off brand Aston Martin supository.

            I still like mine, but that’s the cross I’ll have the bear.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is there a dark or black grille replacement in bars or hexagon mesh available? If it was painted a dark color that might help. Sort of like a grille delete for the lower portion.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Bumping the Prius’s power wouldn’t be consistent with its mission, which is low TCO and reliability.

      But for a Prius-based car that makes some claim to enthusiasm it would be perfect. The Lexus CT200h should have become the Lexus CT300h years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        A CT300h would be a fascinating car. The CT’s interior makes a BMW 550i’s look like a Checker Marathon’s, and the drivetrain that takes a Camry Hybrid from 0-60 faster than a Fusion Ecoboost would have made it the best hatchback in the world.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The seats take it out of contention for me. They are miserable for any drive over 15 minutes, whereas I can drive all day in a Saab.

    I don’t know what it is about Japanese cars and knees-in-the-air driving positions. My old Impreza was the same (and that’s the man reason I sold it). It’s much much worse than the stereotypical Italian driving position.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I agree. This is the worst thing about the Prius for me. I understand the lack of power or enthusiasm — both are serving goals which are more important to Prius owners. But comfortably shaped seats wouldn’t make the Prius any less efficient or reliable. And it’s not all Japanese cars; the Camry isn’t affected, and I find the Accord exceedingly comfortable.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The interior is lightweight.

        It’s probably not a coincidence that, after 10 years of being out in the elements, our Prius is starting to give off some of the same smells as a Cessna interior. I’m starting to think Toyota used some of the same lightweight plastics that Cessna chose.

        That’s a positive association for me, though — I love flying around in Cessnas, even if a Prius with Jack driving it can beat a me in Cessna 152.

        • 0 avatar
          W.Minter

          @Luke42: The smell comes from the rubber hoses used to vent the HV battery (http://techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/batbox/). Toyota seemed to use 2 suppliers for the hoses, one of them used stinky stuff. Solutions: a) Change the hoses (OEM; smell before you buy), b) Change the hoses (DIY; build your own set of hoses and connectors), c) Seal the vent channel in the trunk with duct tape.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I sat in a local hybrid Camry taxi and became a believer too. Test driving one, however, is another matter.

    Local taxi drivers seem to have changed religion, because the whole fleet is moving toward hybrid Camrys.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Quadrupling your fuel mileage and reducing maintenance costs at the same time will do that. There’s no better application for a hybrid powertrain than a city taxicab.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Thanks Jack, you hit all the nails squarely on the head regarding all aspects of this car. My experience with it has only been as a rental, and if you hit the “sport” button or whatever they call it, this car can be amazingly energetic and athletic.

    There are many of these on the roads here in LA, and their owners seem to be able to drive them in our crazy traffic like a bat out of hell without any problems. Better they should do this in a car like this than a gas-guzzler, I guess.

    When my current ride finally wears out, I will consider one of these. With a little luck, the overall package will be a little nicer by that time.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Prius interior sound deadening at this level of auto and price is brilliant. And there is also the increasing amount of Gen III Prius’s with 200k trouble free miles. If someone is looking for an auto that is not trying to hard to be the go fast racer, or wanna be BMW or MB. Ex: Infiniti, Lexus. The Prius is the car. More room then any sedan, Accord, Camry, etc. And they can be had for under $20k

    • 0 avatar
      EMedPA

      Gen II’s, too. My mother has a 2005 with 130K, and my cousin’s is well north of 200K and he hasn’t even replaced the original service brakes yet. These cars aren’t perfect, but someone looking for a reliable commuter/family sedan requiring minimal upkeep could do a whole lot worse.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Jack, it happens again and again, where your thoughts and experiences totally mirror my own with a particular car, and you put into words so eloquently exactly what I am thinking.

    I think that at this point, the Prius is thankfully mainstream enough that the ‘asexual mouthbreathers’ are definitely not a majority of owners. Like you and me, most people driving them appreciate it for what it is: a brilliant transportation device. Doesn’t hurt that they are insanely reliable and are incredibly easy on wear parts (brakes, oil, no more accessory belts to change).

    When I got a rental 2013, I expected the floating center console to get in the way of my knee and make things feel claustrophobic compared to the minimalist 2nd gen car (I’ve driven my gf’s dad’s 2009 a fair amount). But it totally doesn’t get in the way, I completely forgot about it after getting in the car. It is indeed a very roomy and airy environment, a must for me. The classic ‘5 door hatchback’ shape ala Saab is also very useful, more so than ‘chopped butt’ hatchbacks IMO.

    I’d very seriously consider trading up from my Civic into one, but I think I’d miss having a stick shift vehicle in my fleet too much.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      I had a rental Prius and was also pretty impressed. I, like you, would sorely miss rowing my own gears. But in the Prius, at least the CVT nature of the transmission is completely predictable, unlike the shift algorithms in a conventional automatic transmission. I think the worst automatics are the “learning” ones–you never know what bad habits the transmission has recently learned!

      I found the cornering a lot of fun. With modest speeds that won’t spill the coffee you can have tire-squeezing fun around every bend! I like to put a positive “spin” on the low rolling resistance tires by borrowing a complementary term from frying pan technology: non-stick tires!

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        A “learning” transmission is a ridiculous concept. The transmission should simply behave in a consistent and predictable manner relative to the inputs, and the user should adjust to that.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I sigh every time I see one. So brilliant, efficient and well built, but I can’t abide a greenhouse that makes the upper half of my field of view left to right: roof upholstery, A-pillar, roof upholstery, RVM, roof upholstery, A-pillar, roof upholstery.

    It’s a visceral response… I literally can’t drive my brother’s for claustrophobia. So economical, so Toyota and I can’t have one.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      I get the claustrophobic feel of cars. Try sitting in a MB GLA c-class, Chevy Camaro, or Nissan/Infiniti Q50. Not very pleasing, like you are sitting on the ground and the windows start just above shoulder level and I am over 6 foot tall. But, I didn’t find the Prius with these issues. Test drive a Outback or Forester, very pleasing for those with claustrophobia.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      That’s interesting because I had quite the opposite reaction. For reference, what cars do you own that you feel aren’t claustrophobic?

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        ’08 CRV, ’11 CRV, ’06 Aztek (inherited… hey, wasn’t that bad), numerous Chevy half-tons through the years (latest an ’04) and ’86 and ’97 Ford E-vans through work. Prior to/along with these I had ’80s and ’90s J-cars for when I wasn’t working, hauling or on a motorcycle. Mostly Hondas but one really sweet Nissan Stanza 5-door and a Metro in belated grad school.

        Come the ’90s, sedans and I pretty much parted ways. The airy greenhouses of the ’80s J-cars forever spoiled me to where I couldn’t stand the ever encroaching slant of windshields, lower rooflines and fattened-up pillars for air bags.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Hmm yeah in that context I agree. Still, within the realm of most modern CUVs and sedans I’d say the Prius is far from the worst offender. I maintain that my 1990 Civic Wagon had the best visibility of any car, ever. Typical double wishbone Honda low hood and dash, with seats that were up higher than in just about any other Honda, and a more upright windshield than other Civics. It was a total fishbowl, the 2007 Fit that replaced it was a big regression. Funny, given that the 2007 Fit in the context of new cars has a low belt line and large windows. The 2015 Fit is an abomination in this regard.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            ” The 2015 Fit is an abomination in this regard.”

            SO agree with this. My wife has a ’13 Fit and will never give it up. After sitting in it once she literally refused to even visit other dealerships on our short list when we were shopping.

            But the hotly awaited ’15s when they finally arrived were a complete meh to me. Taking away rear cargo space for the sake of a roomier back seat makes zero sense for a couple our age.

            Also, I *love* the extreme cab-forward moon buggy look of the earlier Fits. It’s what gave the driving environment its airiness. But of course Honda had to make the 2015’s styling more conventionally aggressive overall. Fail.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Taking away rear cargo space for the sake of a roomier back seat makes zero sense for a couple our age.”

            The base 5spd 2007 that my empty nester parents have spends 99% of the time with the rear seats folded down and a tarp in the back, hauling plants, soil, implements, and even bee hives to their homestead. it’s their little 35 mpg trucklet. Like you, they would not benefit from the increased rear passenger room (which is already usable for average sized people btw), at the cost of rear and total cargo room.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Heh, yeah.. we tarp the back and take a 55 gal. Rubbermaid container full of gardeny stuff to the yard waste place. We’ve had several hatches and always used them like trucklets or microvans.

            We could use the CRV or my truck that’s at my brother’s place (parked in shed) but it’s way more fun to roll up amidst all the pickups and giant SUVs in her Fit. Plus, she won’t drive anything else o_O

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’m waiting with bated breath for an OEM to recognize the legion of older folks that buy these sorts of cars (Soul, Element, Fit, etc) and use them as ‘microvans’ for gardening and landscaping. We rented a really neat Corolla wagon in Russia once, a worn out old JDM variant. It was in a super basic ‘courier/delivery van’ spec which included: leaf sprung rear beam axle (rated to carry 800 kilos judging by the sticker), steel bars across the rear hatch side glass to protect it from cargo, vinyl interior, basic 4spd manual transmission. That would be perfect for my folks.

            Some sort of ‘green-thumb special’ that was marketed to this seemingly growing sector of empty nesters who love working outside with their newfound spare time (hobby farms, gardens, etc).

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Yeah… same wavelength here. The iron is hot now for the manufacturers to strike with all us home-owning oldsters. I’m encouraged by the recent rise of vehicles like the Transit Connect. Whatever my next purchase, the TC is on the short list, windows or no. I love that thing.

      • 0 avatar

        cars are generally claustrophobic these days, making you long for one of the ’70s-90s Volvos.

        But the Camaro flaunts the claustrophobic look the way Donald Trump flaunts his hair.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Is there anyway you can test the Camry SE Hybrid?

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I think it would be interesting if Toyota made a performance-oriented hybrid version of the FR-S. Skip the turbo, just adapt HSD to the flat 4 engine. Maybe that’s what they are doing with BMW on the new joint-developed sports car.

    Honda tried it with the CR-Z and hopefully they decide to try it again and make it better.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    My wife drives a Prius and to be honest I have a love hate relationship with it. It is damn boring to drive in just about every way from controls, road feel and instruments (hate hate hate the digital dash). And yes it does have an interior that screams cost cutting. On the other hand is it incredibly quiet and efficient. I drove across the state of Pennsylvania and averaged close to 55mpg – my motorcycle can’t do that. And given the number of miles my wife puts on that efficiency is well appreciated. If, like a lot of Americans, your driving consists of traffic of one kind or another and dull-ass commuting then the Prius is pretty much a perfect car. Is it fun? Hell no, but few of us would have much fun driving an M3 on our commutes either.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I enjoyed our Prius v. If it had AWD, I’d have kept it instead of swapping it for a CUV. Tons of space, easy to drive, easy on gas. The upcoming Rav4 Hybrid could be very good. It is lighter than the NX300h, more powerful than the 4 cyl Rav4, and should be more efficient than both.

    • 0 avatar
      joeveto3

      I’ve had two Prius’s, a 10 and an 11. Both with the solar roof. Both I traded for BMW’s. Not because they are bad cars, they are very good. But I get bored easily.

      At any rate, I ran snows on my Prius’s, and they never got stuck once. With snow tires, they are fantastic in even deep snow.

  • avatar
    GT_Fan

    I inherited an ’05 Prius with 114k on the clock, and had to choose between that and my ’04 Passat 1.8 AWD manual with 2/3’s the miles. On paper, any gearhead would stick with the VW, but the damn Toyota won me over with its sheer ease, utility and ridiculously low cost of ownership. My commute is a straight shot of highly patrolled interstate, leaving no room for fun anyway, so I found the Prius to be the perfect tool for the job. My Porsche-driving friends gave me some grief about it, but the ‘dub got the For Sale sign and the Prius has 180k now with zero issues.

    I actually LIKE the placement of the instrument panel. I’m farsighted, so the fact that the readout is so far away means that I can still bring it into focus uncorrected.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My xB1 had center-mounted gauges, and I really liked it that way.

      They are demonstrably safer because your eyes leave the road for less time. And as a tall driver, it’s nice to see the entire speedometer for a change, rather than have it blocked by the steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        You’re still pulling your fovea off the road — I doubt the reduced travel distance makes that much difference. (Though perhaps the reduced time to refocus does.) I still prefer my HUD, though.

        I’ve heard it said that the trend towards center-mounted gauges and double dashes is to get ahead (so to speak) of hyperopic drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “it’s nice to see the entire speedometer for a change”

        God, yes! No matter which hand(s) grip the wheel, where, or how the wheel is tilted, center-mounter gauges are still completely visible.

        And manufacturers: I exclusively drive automatics and I drive like stoner grandpa… why must there be a tach in every blessed vehicle *exactly where a speedo should be for right-handed drivers to get an unobstructed view*?

        The sam hill does the average driver need a tach for?!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        When I drive a Prius, I don’t find that my eyes leave the road for less time at all, probably because I always look down at the blank panel in front of me, and then have to swivel my head right. I think it was just an attempt to reduce the cost of building RHD and LHD variants.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I could drive a Prius. An 05 was a candidate until I got my former xB1 back then. Now, I really like the “v”, in bright blue.

    But now that we own an Optima Hybrid, I like the compromise of more power and lower (36-40) mpg, in a package that draws compliments instead of glares.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    If I had a little more time, I’d pen a listicle about the seven ways that this here item was the best listicle ever!

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Yeah. The wife and I had pretty much decided to make our next car a Prius if we can ever wear out the Nissan Cube we have now. My high mileage 4runner has made me a believer in the durability of Toyota and the two daughters who drive Prius now have convinced me of the versatility and economy. This list from someone who I would have assumed would consider Toyota drivers soulless was the icing on the cake.

      Thanks Jack.

  • avatar
    gasser

    As an L.A. Traffic driver, I have been long attracted to the Prius. The rave reviews by owners whom I know is the biggest plus. I am more attracted this year to the Camry SE hybrid, but real world mileage for this model is mid 30’s. What I am really waiting for is the pending shift to the new platform, supposedly for 2016. Rumored is also the shift from Ni-hydride to Li-hydride batteries, which will allow more storage in a smaller footprint and allow reprogramming the drive for even better mileage. Since rain is non-existent here, I guess I could live with the LRR tires.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I disagreed with Jack’s Camry review, but I agree with pretty much every word of this one. The Prius has clear goals and accomplishes them extremely well, and it’s a brilliantly engineered product. I won’t own a Prius because of the seats, the lack of power, and the boring interior, but I love the concept of the HSD system and the car has my respect. I’ve always had a crush on the GS450h, which is the same idea but with luxury and speed, and would buy a lightly used 2013+ one in a heartbeat if the resale value weren’t “cheaper to buy new” high.

    Here on the West Coast, there isn’t so much of a problem with the drivers, because people of every stripe drive Priuses, and they’re so ubiquitous. They’re just normal economy cars.

    • 0 avatar
      KrohmDohm

      I recently had this kind of revelation with the Camry. We’ve had an SE model as a rental for the past week after a minor accident. What a great car! I love my hot hatches and cars that growl at passersby or are more engaging to drive. But this thing is quiet, comfortable(for me and the family), efficient and will even take a freeway ramp at a good clip. Much as I hate to do it I think my manual tran hatch is on its way out of my garage!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “and will even take a freeway ramp at a good clip”

        Most definitely. With the reasonably wide and somewhat sporty tires that come on it, along with the stiffened up ride, I run out of guts before I run out of grip in my gf’s SE when driving on public roads. I’ve always been a Honda guy and thought for sure an Accord Sport 6spd would be in my future, but I’d seriously contemplate a 2015+ Camry for a daily driver, there’s something to be said about Toyota’s very competent NVH tuning, and managing to do so while keeping the car’s weight rather low (within its class).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        People keep praising the SE’s chassis. I really need to go drive one. I’ve only driven LE and XLE rentals of the current generation, and they were the worst kind of mushy and dead-feeling.

        At least Toyota makes the XSE V6. Honda really needs an Accord V6 sedan with some real tires and a bit less “retired guy in Arizona” look.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          If you haven’t driven the SE, how can you disagree with Jack’s review of it? As I recall, soon after the SE track review he posted an LE track review and came to the conclusion that the SE was a far better driver. So maybe you don’t disagree with his review after all.

  • avatar
    night driver

    “But as a single, unified system, the standard Prius is flat f*cking wonderful.”

    Fantastic review. Jack nailed the reasons why, after twelve years and 300K miles in a 240HP Accord V6, I just bought a 2015 Prius Four.

    The Four has an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, which is *much* more comfortable for me and takes away the biggest negative in Jack’s list, plus the upgraded JBL audio. And they are discounting the Prius in a big way – I was able to get it for $5K under sticker (including $2K rebate plus 0% for 60)…

    ps – the dealer can (and will) easily change the reverse beeping to a single beep if you ask
    pss – I’m getting over 50 MPG (for real – calculated by hand) in all sorts of real-world driving conditions

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Baruth: “Benelli shotguns operated indoors.”

    “The shotguns,” my mother said, firmly, and with more than a touch of exasperation in her voice, “are *outdoor* toys. And wear your ear protectors. Do you want to end up like your father?”

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Ah, you bought a VFR. I do like that paint scheme the best. The kick you get at 6800rpm is fun, but the low speed fueling may just drive you nuts. It is not as if Honda can’t do FI, just try a late model CBR1000 for spot on perfection in that regards. But it will do 135 on lonely roads in southern Idaho, so you got that. When I was still in my fifties I could do 800 mile days on it, so it is comfy. Oh, was this a review of the Prius? Still can’t be in the HOV lane all be yourself in Seattle, so probably not for me.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    We’re very satisfied with ours. It has been to the East Coast a couple of times and the fuel economy is astonishing.

    Mostly, I agree with Baruth’s assessments, except:

    7 – “The Quiet Aero.” There’s not much wind noise but we hear a lot of road noise. Our is a 2012 and different tires or the newer model may have improved this. We “upgraded” from a much noisier car into the Prius and the noise isn’t a problem, per se, but I’ll be looking for a quieter successor when we’re done with this one (which will probably be in about 10 years).

    4 – “The seats are fairly miserable.” I don’t find this to be the case and I’ve spent 12 and 13 hour days in them. Maybe, compared to Baruth, my backside is protected by additional layers of flab.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    What’s wrong with a Chinese made dress shirt?! Chinese clothing manufacturers are actually good at dress shirt manufacturing, having been driven out of most cheaper clothing by lower cost manufacturers in places like Bangladesh/Vietnam/Thailand. There are also a lot of very skilled tailors in cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong who make truly top notch dress shirts using top notch fabrics. I own plenty of Italian made dress shirts but I actually prefer to wear the Chinese stuff because while the Italian stuff is usually made with slightly better fabrics the actual manufacturing quality on the Chinese shirts is top notch and if you’re looking for a basic noniron work shirt the Chinese have managed to get it down now to where non-iron fabrics actually feel like good quality fabric. My family used to be in the clothing manufacturing business ourselves so we know clothing quality quite well.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    I saw the words “Prius track tested” and stopped – the article would have been a letdown after that joke.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’ll take my 8000 RPM tach in front of me over the blank piece of plastic, thank you very much.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    “…so instead of telling you a sordid tale about a bottle-blonde working girl named Natalya who stood next to me and told her date, “I’m worth the money” as I watched Mike Stern, Anthony Jackson, and Lionel Cordrew just kill it at 55 Bar in the Village last Wednesday night, we’re going to have a listicle.”

    Jack, I expect a full review of the jam at 55 Bar. A little more detail on Natalya as well- this can also be a listicle.

    Same cats, same place, 2009 (as a comparison-contrast):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri1PV0nghVo

    I’ll be checking in for this at Have You Heard as I expect this to be delightfully NSFW. And NSFTTAC.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I like the Prius, there’s not a better urban scooter.
    That said, the seats are an issue. And they’re not good in snow for a front driver – there are better buys for harsh winter climes.

    • 0 avatar
      EMedPA

      They’re horrible in the snow. One of the two main reasons I didn’t buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Just curious… did either of you try snow tires? Where I live the abysmal lack of ground clearance would rule it out a lot of days, particularly after the bro-dozers rutted the snow and before the plows came.

      • 0 avatar
        W.Minter

        @RideHeight: Driving in snow with snow tires works great. You can safely drive faster than (and pass) RWD sedan drivers, the ride is quite neutral. Sure, you will always know that you’re driving on snow; a feeling you don’t have while driving a good AWD car.
        But accelerating from a standstill on an icy road works truly bad with Gen II. It’s even worse when there’s some incline, because the always-on traction control won’t allow any wheelspin. That’s what makes the Prius Gen II one of the least capable winter cars around.
        Ground clearance (6 – 5 1/2 in) seems to be an interwebz-only problem. It’s comparable to a 328i (5 1/2 in) or a Civic Sedan (6 in).

        But with Gen III, Toyota has improved winter driving behavior a lot, owners say.

      • 0 avatar
        EMedPA

        Short answer is yes: I had my mother put a set of Michelin XIce 2’s on her Prius. The biggest problem in the Gen II Priuses is that the traction control is way too aggressive. On an icy grade, it will completely shut down any forward momentum.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    Whenever I drive a Prius, I pretend I’m flying a Jetsons car.

    It’s hard to pass up something this practical, something that gets 45+ mpg no matter how it’s driven and has a very agreeable cost.

    Hybrids often do suck, except for this car…much like how every 3D movie sucked as a 3D movie except for Avatar.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Amen!!!!

    I just sold my Prius after 50,000 wonderful miles. I would happily buy another. It is just a great car.

    It is quite often the #1 car I recommend to people of all backgrounds.

    Biggest virtues:

    – smooth out on the highway
    – quiet
    – spacious
    – amazing fuel efficiency
    – very reliable
    – low key so blends in to the sea of cars well
    – people tend to look down at you which is deeply amusing to me.
    – did I mention the fuel efficiency? It’s like not having a fuel bill. $20 goes and goes goes

    Great car people. Jack is spot on here.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      Did I mention I also had a H2 Hummer at the same time as the Prius?

      Hilarious.

      Just think about it. Whatever car I picked in the morning, I would be judged instantaneously by other drivers.
      – tree hugging eco weenie OR
      – fossil fuel wasting douche

      Brought me such joy I must say.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Sounds like one subsidized the other’s fuel bill.

        • 0 avatar
          suspekt

          The Prius did a majority of the miles.

          The H2 was with me briefly and I sold it for a nominal profit after less than 10,000 miles of use.

          The H2 ought to have been sold with a Duramax. I think given its MSRP and weight, it’s insane GM didn’t sell it as a diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            Gm would have had to build a small diesel to power it, the current DMax is too big and heavy to even think about dropping in a light duty vehicle like an H2/H3.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I am currently driving a ’12 Prius Four that was handed down from my wife. Some impressions to share:

    1. there is more room in the cockpit than in my 1998 LS400. I was shocked at how tight the LS400 feels after a week in the Prius (for now the LS400 is relegated to Sunday cruiser duty). Despite myself I found myself driving the Prius more and and more and the LS400 less and less.

    2. The dorkiest thing about the Prius is the wheelcovers. Just take them off and throw them away. What’s under them is surprisingly attractive black alloys. I don’t understand why Toyota did that, maybe they feel like the dorky look is part of the appeal to the hard core green audience.

    3. The seat in my Prius Four is very comfortable. The Prius One is the stripper penalty box model. Yeah the interior plastics are still TEH CHEEP but the Four is quite comfy. It’;s also very easy to get into and out of, with a low floor and wide door. We initially got it help my wife’s bad knees, after she got her knees fixed she went back to an SUV so now I’m driving it.

    4. I’ve found that the biggest influences on the MPG I get on a specific drive are not how I drive or even the type of road and traffic. They are: Weather, warmer is better (I guess the gas engine has to run less to maintain operating temp?), and net elevation change of the trip. Only 150 feet over 30 miles makes as much as 3-5 mpg difference. Btw the car’s trip computer is about 2.5 – 3.5 mpg optimistic when compared to my fuel pump calculations.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The Ford C-max just seems like a huge improvement over this vehicle in nearly every way. Although if I were going for fuel efficiency I would jump all over a new golf TDI wagen. What these are missing (along with nearly every hybrid with a small battery) is a super-capacitor for rapid charge/discharge for when that extra oomph! is needed. It will also help to better capture more of the braking energy as smaller batteries can only take so much instantaneous charge.


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