Some little while ago I expressed my interest in possibly moving into a Toyota Prius when my car came up for renewal – that time has now come, so I have been trying out a Prius for the last two days to see if it fitted the bill for my new motor!
I had quite high expectations for the car; recent reviews said it was much better than the previous versions, and much more ‘main stream’. Also it appealed to me as an Energy Assessor, being a ‘green car’. The car was delivered to me by Inchcape Toyota of Derby and was a T4 version (mid range, but missing some of the better gadgets (Sat Nav, rear parking camera etc).
So once the basic controls were mastered it was off to my first appointment in Wollaton! First impressions were that it is a very clever car – the change between electric running and petrol is almost imperceptible. The display showing what the car is doing is good, and the head up display on the windscreen is actually useable!
The trip to Wollaton is therefore fun-filled trying to keep the ‘ecometer’ in the green section and running on battery as much as possible – it does over 70 to the gallon according to the read out. Time for the first annoying thing to be discovered – the reversing beeper! This beeps constantly while you are in reverse. It also beeps whether you are moving or not and is only audible in the car! Great, I always used to forget I was in reverse in all my other cars!
Next job involves some fast dual carriageway work – we now start to find more issues. The car is very noisy on roads over 50 miles per hour, the road noise is far greater than it should be and this is a real negative for me. The Prius is a gadget on wheels – no doubt about that. But, I couldn’t live with it for 3 years.
Add to this the appalling quality of the inside trim (it reminds me of poor 80’s car trim), the poor stereo (unforgivable on a car of this price) and the total lack of any feel in the steering (forgot to mention that earlier). This is not a car I enjoyed!
Just to add to the ‘fun’ I was coming back into Nottingham and floored the throttle to see what it would go like – in reality it does go reasonably well, but revs crazily doing it (it’s a CVT gearbox – think rubber bands and you are not far off!). However I took my foot off the accelerator expecting it to slow down (as you do) only to find it stayed flat to the floor! I cannot explain the thoughts that went through my mind – it is fair to say that it was a rather ‘tense’ moment though! Having read all the recent bad press about the Toyota Accelerator issue I was aware of the possibility that it might be the mat catching – but there is a fix which involves fitting the mats properly using the locking pegs in the floor. Surely a main dealer with this as a demonstrator would have fixed them correctly – right? Wrong! Luckily I slid the mat back and we started to slow – handy seeing as the traffic lights at the next junction were looming!
This was the final straw for me – The Prius is not for me. It’s very, very clever, but not built as it could (or should) be. Also why does it have a pedal that is so easily trapped by the floor mats (the Toyota official mats as well!). Come on Toyota get your act together!
Driving home tonight in my Citroen was a pleasure – quiet, comfortable, and its does what I expect!
Tomorrow its off to try two ‘proper’ cars!