NYT: Why Isn't The Toyota Prius a Star?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nyt why isn t the toyota prius a star

I know: it's been bugging me too. I mean, here we have "the world’s best-selling hybrid," a "must-have accessory for carbon-conscious show business players." A PC-mobile that's "cleaner than a smoking Beetle [and we know what it's been smoking, too]. Quieter than a roaring [where's the caps lock key when you need it] Mini. Able to leap through car pool lanes with a single occupant." And yet and Hollywood's going gaga over a multi-phallic race car from 1967. Sure, Speed Racer features a few vehicles described by The Old Gray Lady's picture captioneers as "post-petroleum cars." But c'mon! The Prius is… God! Well, it was/is His chariot. "God drove one, briefly, in 'Evan Almighty,' a [Bruce Almighty come lately] comedy that struggled at the box office when Universal released it last summer." Must've been the Prius. I'm not saying Michael Cieply's article reads like a press release for Toyota, but, as regular readers will know, I am. Why else would he include this little ditty (a.k.a. apologia)? "According to a Toyota spokeswoman the Prius goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 10.1 seconds, but could go faster if, like the Lexus hybrid, it were tuned for performance rather than efficiency." And now, back to blogging real news.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Cudlecub Cudlecub on May 09, 2008

    With attentive driving, I'm stretching around 30 mpg out of my 2002 Subaru Legacy sedan. I'm in the market for a new car and am highly considering a Prius. I think it's one of the least visually appealing vehicles out there, next to the new accords. But every day I drive by the gas stations and see another price jump, the Prius becomes more and more appealing to my eyes. I'm holding out for a 2009 model that I've read may get over 70 mpg. For that fuel economy, I'd even drive one in Mary Kay pink. What I don't understand is why it doesn't get better fuel economy. Back in the days, the Geo Metro got well over 50 mpg with a 3 cylinder and so did the Honda Civic CRX HF.

  • RedStapler RedStapler on May 09, 2008

    The batteries in all of the current crop of hybrids are Nickel-Metal Hydride. Given current and likely future commodity prices its safe to assume they will be recycled into new batteries. Automotive and industrial batteries already have a recycle rate > 90%. I enjoyed the South Park Episode "Smug Alert!" that makes fun of the holier-than thou nature of some Hybrid Drivers. They call the Toyota the Pious.

  • IronEagle IronEagle on May 09, 2008
    menno Well with mostly highway to the office this week was at 15.3mpg but when doing some city driving today it is down to 14.3mpg. :)
  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on May 09, 2008
    What I don’t understand is why it doesn’t get better fuel economy. Back in the days, the Geo Metro got well over 50 mpg with a 3 cylinder and so did the Honda Civic CRX HF. http://money.cnn.com/2007/12/17/autos/honda_civic_hf/index.htm It's still doable if you don't mind driving around a car with no power steering, power brakes, or air-conditioning, and are willing to live with a car that has a two- or one- star crash rating.