- Photo source: Toyota

Lay off the Toyota Prius

4w ago


I am writing this because I have noticed that approximately 99.9% of people on Drivetribe (and most car enthusiasts in general, but on Drivetribe it seems accentuated by the presence of one J. Clarkson) really hate the Toyota Prius. And I do mean really hate it. They regard it the same way they do cars like the Yugo, or the Pontiac Aztek. I am here to say enough is enough. I don't like the Prius either, but the indignant hatred for this car among my fellow car enthusiasts is completely uncalled for. And today, I will explain why.

Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it is bad.

I don't much like the Bugatti Veyron. I know it's very fast, but I think it's too heavy, and I don't like the way it looks. But that does not mean it isn't one of the most incredible technological achievements in recent automotive history.

I don't like modern pickup trucks. I think they are way too big, and I hate how their front fascias always make them look like they are about to run you over and then eat you off the road. But that doesn't mean they are bad. In fact, even I admit that the way modern pickup trucks combine better-than-ever payload and towing capacities with luxury car comfort is nothing short of astonishing.

And so it goes with the Prius. I don't like the Prius. I think the current one looks like it was chopped to pieces with a machete and then artlessly reassembled by a hyperactive 3-year old. I also think it is incredibly boring. But here's the thing: The Prius also has several good points.

Chief among those is how unbelievably refined and comfortable it is. I have ridden in the previous 3 generations of Prius (I am not old enough to drive them). I have also ridden in a brand new, top-of-the-line Cadillac CT6, and although the Cadillac had more luxury features, the Prius was practically as comfortable simply through the virtue of its pillowy ride quality and total absence of noise beyond a faint hum from the electric motor and the engine. I know many hardcore track-day fans won't believe me, but there are times when these things are good.

More of interest to car enthusiasts is the engineering that goes into this car. Whether you truly love the Prius, or despise it with every fiber of your being, you have to admit it is an impressive feat of engineering. To get a gas-electric hybrid to be so unobtrusive and refined is not easy to do; just ask Honda, who have tried (and failed) at least three times already to make a credible Prius rival.

And then there is the most obvious Prius high point: Miniscule carbon emissions.

Look, you can complain about this last point all you want. But I don't care what Clarkson or Our Orange Overlord say. Climate change is proven scientific fact, and if you deny it, you are not in touch with reality. There are now many green cars coming out that are cool and interesting and in general the sort of things that car enthusiasts would love. None of this is possible without the Toyota Prius. It eliminated most of the obstacles to green car ownership, and in doing so, might literally have saved the world.

So, my point is this. You don't have to like the Toyota Prius. But try not to hate it quite so much.