Toyota Prius 4K 2016 review - Hybrid cars have come some what of a normality over the past twenty years, with many new hybrids now indistinguishable from conventionally powered cars. But one car that's retained its radical and futuristic appearance throughout its lifespan and is now the fourth-generation, is the Toyota Prius, the original kingpin of hybrid, the first mass-produced hybrid car in fact. But with a growing hybrid market, can it retain its appeal and its relevance? Unlike its exterior design that remains rooted in reminding people that yes, this is indeed a glimpse of future automation, Toyota has actually made the Toyota Prius drive, well more like a regular hatchback.
And the latest generation model, which has a lowered centre of gravity by 29mm, is actually the most familiar hatchback-like experience ever in a Prius. You’ve now got more control in the corners and what has always felt like a big car, feels less so and easier to drive. Yeah the ride is a bit stiffer than previous models, but it is still very comfortable. But the Prius isn’t exactly what you would call fun to drive, it still leans in the corners, the steering still lacks a bit of feel – but "oh I want a really sporty car to drive, one that corners really well, I think I'll get a Prius" said no one ever.
|Toyota Prius 4K 2016 review (Image Source : youtube)|
But let’s talk about its all-important hybrid personality. So, the Prius is an automatic and is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, the latter being powered by a battery, and together they produce 121bhp and up to 165Nm of pulling power. And the relationship between the engine and the motor ultimately allows for pure electric driving where possible, be it slowly moving through traffic or if you actively press this EV mode button. And the transition between the engine and the motor is incredibly seamless. Battery power isn’t unlimited though, and you will need to be replenished through regenerative breaking.
Now, Toyota claims that this Excel model emits just 76g/km of CO2 and can return up to 85mpg. Now you are unlikely get that, but we found from a mixture of town and motorway roads, we’ve been getting between 60 -70mpg depending on traffic of course. And to help you achieve these efficient figures you can actually activate Eco mode, and that reigns in the throttle sensitivity a bit. Alternatively you can activate Power mode, which gives you all the cars power at once and is ideal for getting ahead at the lights and getting into lane.
The interior of the Prius has definitely moved with the times as well. Gone are those microwave-esque displays, in place of a detailed, colourful instrument cluster and you also get this window-like touchscreen, along with some softer to the touch materials – certainly an improvement over the older model. And you also get some design quirks that remind you that this isn’t just a regular hatchback, like these white highlights in the centre, these funky doors and these really comfortable seats. And these leather seats are actually added as part of the flagship Excel trim, as is the reversing camera, the wireless charging, the heated seats and the traffic sign recognition.
From a comfort and convenience point of view, I've not really got any complaints with the Prius, I mean there are a few little things, like the awkward position of the heated seats button, the split rear wing which hinders visibility a bit, kind of reminds me of the Honda Civic actually – and speaking of the Civic, this bulky dashboard kind of reminds of the Civic as well and it does take a while to get used to. The Prius has always been impressive with rear passenger space and this model is no different, there’s tons of leg room and well there's not an abundance of headroom but there is enough to get comfortable. And you need to bear in mind as well that the battery has actually been moved under these rear seats.
And there's still plenty of space on offer. A middle passenger though may be a bit of a squeeze especially when it comes to elbow room The boots impressive as well and thanks to the battery being shifted to those back seats there is more space than ever with 502 litres available with the seats up and 1,633 litres with the seats down. But what I like most about this boot is the wide opening, I mean it's huge! If you have a typical hatchback budget then the Prius may be slightly out of reach, with prices starting from £23,500, or £28,000 if you go for this Excel model – so you're looking at more of a saloon segment kind of price or other hybrid hatchbacks like the Lexus CT. It is still one of the leaders of the pack for running costs though and warranty, with a five-year 100,000 mile package, and other incentives as well like 3-year paintwork cover.
In my opinion, you either get the Prius, or you don’t. You see for those who are caught up in the wave of newer hybrid additions, the Prius may just seem like an oddball and you may be thinking why sacrifice looks when I simply don’t have to. And that's fair enough but i think if you’ve previously owned a Prius or if you're living with one for a while, you will definitely start to see the appeal. The comfy ride, the impressive efficiency and the plentiful practicality. I’ve certainly got a soft spot for the Prius anyway. But what do you think of Prius? Would it still be your go-to hybrid if you were in the market for one? Let us know in the comments section below