The Gen 2 Toyota Prius
My dad bought one, we have had it 11 months, and it’s time to consolidate some thoughts
I have loved cars since I was able to tilt my head to see the screen showing BBC’s top gear. My dad about this time last year was looking at a new car, mainly he wanted an automatic, and since we are in London, I don’t blame him. After checking out a questionable Subaru and realizing the interior looked like it was made from scraps out the back of BIC, we kept looking. And after a while we landed on this, thing. I said go for it if it had low miles. 140,000miles. Yet we bought it, and here are my thoughts. (from the passenger seat)
The good, the bad and the ugly
This car’s front end is hideous, I don’t care about different tastes, if you don’t like the Multipla you have no legal right to call this thing good looking. Its ugly. Moving along the shape is bulbus effect tapering to the rear fastback (Yes, the irony). The rear is the only part of this car I don’t hate visually, mainly because if you look at it you can’t see the awful front end.
It looks ok for a car of this era and the shape they were working around for drag reasons. I honestly don’t hate the wheels, id even say they may look good on maybe a scarlet or something, although they are too narrow to be put on anything with more then 100hp safely, which is fine, because moving to the powerplant, we have 75hp.
Miles over smiles
The engine from a performance standpoint is useless, it is completely and utterly useless, its ok for city driving thanks to the little instant torque the little electric motor gives, but on the motor way the throttle pedal becomes a noise pedal as the engine makes a lot of noise and you pull out your calendar waiting for it to get to 80. It is uninspiring and slow, and at low speed vibrates the car like the engine mounts are going out, (which in fairness they probably are). However, unlike a conventional car, when in London traffic it still uses its energy wisely because it would charge the battery. It also has regenerative braking, which is all very clever for 4 figures. However, cleverness doesn’t mean good, the Sinclair c5 was clever, but it was miserable, so does all this make it any more efficient?
My dad said last time he doesn’t notice the difference, which means a 1.6 N/A with 100hp from the same timeframe is in the ballpark of this sacrificing for everything car. Now my dad drove both cars in the same way, I’m sure if you hyper-mile the Prius, it would do better, but who would want to hyper-mile every trip for the rest of their life? So, for about the same efficiency, you can either have a peppy for what it is 1.6, or a sluggish 1.4 with some RC bits bolted to it. However, you do save on tax, the Prius making a comedic 80p per month.
Its good. Although it does scrape the muffler unless you are careful with speedhumps, due to it being relocated when an LPG tank was fitted.
The Pleasant Surprise
The interior is phenomenal for the type of car and price point. OK so a new anything would blow this out the way, and we probably could have had an old jag with a nicer interior, but it’s a Toyota, its Toyota reliability, and its nice. Anything that was leather or gloss was put together with a quality that would scare a lot of higher up marks, everything from these materials feels solid, barring the centre cubie lid, which when open feels a bit flimsy.
. The issue is the cheap plastics you would find in other economical cars, when contrasting to the quality bits of the interior it looks out of place, and on the rare occasion you do have to touch these parts, they feel terrible, especially the rear cup holders, which at one point when fully loaded and under acceleration just unclipped itself and fell. Its still an improvement over our old car however, 4 cup holders are a lot better than 1. Also got a nice JBL sound system, though could use more bass. The rear legroom is good, but the center flip down armrest is useless and there are no door cubies in the rear, which means everything you bring rolls around on the seat.
It’s a toyota
No reliability issues to report, just oil top up and front tyres, although there is a low speed vibration to be attended too.
Conclusion 1: a regular car
As a normal person car it works, if you don’t live in a city, spend £800 and buy a manual 1.6 Vauxhall Astra H manual, but in London, it is probably more efficient, although you may not notice it on the short hops around town, and in a city its good enough to get around, if you think of it as a city car that is somewhat comfortable on the motorway, its brilliant, but if you want a motorway cruiser you would probably prefer something that can do an overtake a bit easier.
Conclusion 2: Why us enthusiast hate it
we hate it because it proved if car manufacturers invest in making a car cheaper to run and less of an experience it will work, it partially killed driver focus in normal cars, it showed that modern drivers don’t care about a driving experience, the current evolution being the tesla model 3, a car being bought so people don’t have to drive at all. it was the final nail in the coffin for "wins on Sunday, sells on Monday". it is, the end of