I don’t admire the Pruis as much for it’s 50+ MPG as I do for it’s 48+ MPG.

Let me explain.

Most people….a lotta’ people….well, I, anyway….jump into a Prius and try to see just how many MPG’s we can rack up.

I mean, that’s the whole point of a hybrid, right? It’s kinda’ like a slow-motion video game….just watchin’ the electronic digits climb above 50.

So….I climbed in….drove conservatively for a day in “ECO” mode and got my 51.2 MGP. There. Got it. Done.

And in ECO mode, the Prius is a fine little car. Room for 5 + a hatch in the rear that can swallow a surprising amount of stuff…and decent acceleration and handling.

But hit “Power” and you get the Prius’ 1.8 4-cylinder gas engine to kick in a bit quicker…giving you what’s actually surprising performance for a hybrid. I mean, even in Power mode we’re not talking about a race car ( altho’ people actually DO race them ) , but punch “Power” and the Prius willingly accelerates…even up ( small ) hills.

And no matter how hard I seemed to drive it, I got 48+ MPG….on the road…in traffic….wherever. That’s hard to beat….especially in a vehicle with real room for five.

Toyota’s first Prius came out in 2001…so they’ve had a lot of practice in getting this “hybrid thing” right….and it appears that they have. Aside from it’s “from-the-future” wedgy-shape, today’s Prius resembles a normal car….just one that has an aversion to gas stations.

Toyota’s Prius comes in three sizes…The Prius C…the baby of the family…which’ll save you 5 to 10 thousand dollars, but doesn’t really save you any more gas than the regular Prius….the original Pius that we tested…and the larger Prius V….the mini-van of the family…that’ll give you more room, will cost only a couple of thousand more…but will give you more like 40 MPG vs. 50 in exchange.

The basic Prius, then, comes in four flavors….plus a new plug-in rated at 95 MPG city and 50 highway. Those four “flavors” are creatively named “Two”, “Three”, “Four” and ”Five”.

All come with the now-famous Prius battery pack + a 1.8 liter four-cylinder connected to a continuously-variable automatic.

The “Two” starts at $24,960 with destination fees and rides on 15” rims with what are admittedly decent-looking wheel covers.

Spring for a $30,765+ “Five” and you’ll have 17” alloys and more.

We had a “Four” with Toyota’s optional $3,820 Deluxe solar roof package.

This got us a moonroof with a solar panel right behind it. The solar panel will help keep the interior cooler when parked in the sun. Very neat feature and one that merits some serious consideration in you live in the South or Southwest and you’re in an out of your vehicle throughout the average day.

This package also included Nav, a bunch of connectivity, a heads-up display, upgraded audio and more….and brought our Prius’ sticker to $33,358.

There are a lot of hybrids out there now. Not too many offer the Prius’ space, versatility, and real-world 50 MPG for around 30K.



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