Looking at Toyota’s new-for-’17 iconic mileage champ, I couldn’t help but wonder why Toyota chose to make it so….ahh…..distinctive with their latest re-do.
But then I remembered that the Prius is more than just an economy car. It’s a “statement” vehicle…..and a workhorse, too.
Let’s start with the economy part. 70 MPG. Yes….while I don’t completely trust the indicated mileage shown on most vehicles’ computer screens, I did get an indicated 70+ on one commute. Now, I had to use the “Eco” setting and really “feather-foot” my way along to get that 70, but I got it.
And most Prius drivers will play the same games with themselves…at least at first. It’s human nature. You just want to see if you can beat your old mileage record. And then you’ll probably switch to the “Power” setting and see what you can get running your Prius a bit harder. 67 MPG in my case. Hardly any difference. In fact, no matter how agresively I drove the Prius, I always got more than their EPA rated 54 city and 50 HWY MPG.
As for the “workhorse” part, while Toyota warrants their Hybrid battery for 100,000 miles, it seemed that virtually every taxi cab I saw in LA on a recent trip was an older model Prius with over 200K on the odometer.
But as I said, the Prius is also a “statement” vehicle. Folks who could easily spend far more for their ride happily line up at their Toyota stores to buy something that exerts a bit smaller footprint on Mother Earth. There’s not all that many places where you can spend $25 – $30K on a vehicle and still have cachet and instant identity. The Prius is one.
The Prius comes as a “Two”, “Three”, or “Four”….with various trim levels in each range. There’s even a “hyper-miler “Two Eco” that squeezes out a few extra MPG’s.
Pricing starts in the mid-$20’s…..and can run up into the low $30’s if you packed on every available option.
Our test Prius was a Three with a $1,350 Tech Package….giving us a $28,950 sticker. This combination had the average drivers’ most popular options like moonroof, lane departure warnings, pre-collision alert, auto high-beams, and Toyota’s Entune. Leather is not an option on the Prius. Toyota, instead, uses their “Sof-Tex”, which does a pretty good imitation of leather in the higher-trim models.
But on our test Three series Prius, my wife and I found the fabric seats to be an attractive and comfortable change from the usual Sof-Tex. And in keeping with the overall car, the seats were rather “futuristic” looking, too.
Performance and handling have both been kicked up a couple of notches from earlier Prius models, and in “performance” mode, the Prius will actually run away from quite a few other vehicles at the stoplight….and still apparently get 50 – 60 MPG. What’s not to like about that?