Bob Flavin 09 June 2011
Toyota have sold more than two million Prius models worldwide so there must be something special to this car. I had to find out what this could be, it can’t be marketing alone. Does anyone really buy a car because some American mega star drives one?
Answers on a postcard to that one folks. The model I’ve been driving is the generation 3 1.8ltr petrol hybrid, that means you get a real petrol engine that puts out 130bhp, it’s backed up by a stack of batteries that help the car get around, the engines works in a seamless way through a generator and a touch of witchcraft to make the driving experience effortless. There is a part of me that likes a bit of competition, now the Prius is no race car so I had to think of something else to keep me going, economy.
Toyota say that you can get about 71mpg from the lump under the bonnet, while in real world driving I got over 60mpg which is brilliant for a petrol engine. There is another mode on the car, EV. Effectively turning the car into a full time electric vehicle, Toyota say that the car can cover about 2kms at 45kph (the max speed in EV mode). That’s my test, beat the 2kms range, you see the car charges when you decelerate or brake, so my task is to get unlimited mpg by just running on batteries.
Very early one Sunday morning I set off from Baggot Street heading to Dollymount Strand on the other side of the city centre, a full 10kms! While the first part was easy enough as there’s a lot of downhill sections, the last part was a struggle because around the docks it’s mostly flat. I can’t say I enjoyed the drive, I had to concentrate so hard on trying to keep an even speed while all the time trying to keep the batteries charged but still I made it. The Prius is a technological marvel wrapped up in a 5 door hatch, it’s not going to appeal to the petrol head in me but there’s still a side of me that wants to get the best mpg possible, and this is the car for that, with enough downhills you’d get unlimited mpg!