- Photo image by Raivis Razgals on Unsplash

Are we being unfair on the Prius?

Can we call it an eco-friendly milk-float or are we looking at it in the wrong light?

7w ago

When the word Toyota Prius is used it immediately conjures up images of a dull-looking hybrid that's mostly hated amongst petrolheads. Yet it brings up an important question, is it a good car?

The immediate answer would usually be no.

Is that truly the case? Can it be labeled so easily by the majority of car-lovers? Or does another angle need to be taken to see its true colors? Time to find out.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

In order to answer the questions above, we need to take a quick trip through time. Now, it's often believed that the Prius was the first ever hybrid built. That statement is completely false. There were many hybrid cars before the Prius but none ever successfully launched off. The first ever hybrid was actually the Porsche-Lohner Mixte and it started off good with over 300 models being produced.

Well, that was until Henry Ford started the first automobile assembly line and the demands for hybrid cars died out with petrol taking the wheel for several decades. It wasn't until the 1960's when they started up again but most attempts either ended in failure or went the same way as the Porsche-Lohner Mixte - just becoming apart of lost history.

That was until October 1997 when the Toyota Prius was first ever launched and where it all began for the hybrid.

Now, when it was first released the Toyota Prius didn't exactly have one of the most sophisticated designs out there. Nor was it very powerful with the engine producing around 58 horsepower while the batteries only provided another 40.

Despite these slight disadvantages, the Prius still managed to win many sales across Japan and that earned it Japan’s Car of the Year award for 1998. That came as no surprise after all considering over 37, 425 models were produced in its first two years.

This was three years prior to the release of the second generation of the Toyota Prius and when it started to take off where it made its true impact on the world. Not just in 'saving the Polar Bears' way.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It paved a solid road not just for future hybrids but electric cars as well. Over the last two decades since its release, the Prius had inspired and been adapted into many other cars. Family sedans such as the Accord or Camry were changed along with new supercars such as the BMW i8. Those weren't only ones affected because along with bringing back the Honda NSX to life once more.

Let's also not forget the Holy Trinity - the Porsche 928, Mclaren P1 and Ferrari Laferrari can all trace it's roots back to the Toyota Prius.

While the Toyota Prius can't take credit for being the first ever hybrid, it can take credit for being one of the most important major leaps in technology with millions of evs and hybrid cars of this century.

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Comments (18)

  • I agree we have been harsh on that thing but trust me Toyota can make a sexy prius, I guess they don't do it on purpose xD

      1 month ago
  • The Prius is actually a really nice car. It’s not fast or fun to drive however, it has plenty of cargo room and technology. It’s cheap to drive and is pretty reliable. I wouldn’t buy one because it cost $3500 to replace that battery. Even a refurbished one is $1300 and will only last a few years. Nonetheless, you get what it advertises and that’s more than most vehicles.

      1 month ago
  • It's a decent car, just soooooo boring

      1 month ago
    • just buy the new corolla has the same hybrid system but better looking body

        1 month ago
  • The early Prius's were a bit ugly to look at but the new ones don't look too bad. Plus the technology of the hybrid system may be old to some people, but its still efficient. If anyone has access to Toyota UK's website they actually show how many times the hybrid vehicles in the range use the battery rather than internal combustion engine as they have certain cars at dealerships with monitors fitted to them to show the battery and internal combustion engine use.

      1 month ago
  • The Prius was an important car for many reasons, it showed that electronification was viable and opened the door for other manufactures to improve or innovate even with their own products (not all were good but still) But now after two decades almost, it's a vehicle that (along with every Toyota product still using its old tech) has become dated and ultimately a gimmick since it's "self charging" rebrand.

    It never deserved the hate it got as a daily driver around a city, it was ideal for that because it would only use fuel if you left the city or had to commute long distance, but my experience has been of people not realising how the tech worked and discovering they don't work as good as the unrealistic expectations they had.

    The reason why many people give them a bad name, is a lack of knowledge by some dealerships that led to people buying them for things they weren't suited for and as a result vowed never to buy an electric ever again. Have to agree with Clarkson on the old point that (for long distance commuting at least) a TDi Golf was better at the first. A bit of clarity at the start would've avoided a lot of ill will towards this car. But rest assured there are no doubt plenty of people out there who bought these cars, knowing the limitations, that cannot fault them because they never exceed the vehicles limits.

    So I feel personally it's not the Prius that should get undeserved hate for something it was never intended to actually do (much like using Marmite & sawdust instead of Bovril & flour to make gravy) but whomever is responsible at Toyota HQ for letting the old horse limp as long as it has.

    This is a car that deserves to be respectfully put to bed, remembered for the pioneer is was and replaced with the pure EV they are more than capable of making (there's a pure EV C-HR in China, why not a pure EV for the rest of the world yet)


      1 month ago