The Toyota Prius has set the standard for what is expected from a gas/electric hybrid powered automobile since its introduction. The Prius continues to refine the performance and comfort of driving an ecologically friendly vehicle. Our test car was the 2017 Prius Four touring, the top of the line of 7 models offered in the basic Prius lineup. In addition to the standard Prius lineup there are also the Prius Prime, a plugin, the Prius V and the Prius C. Each target a slightly different segment of the economy or ecology conscious market.
The base Prius models range
from the Prius one, through the Four, with variants for touring or Eco editions. All offer an overall fuel economy of 52 mpg or better and use the same 1.8 liter power plant with a 2 motor electric drive system. This Synergy Drive has been the mainstay of the Prius, and all other Toyota hybrid models since the beginning. It has proven to be trouble free and dependable over the long haul with many owners well over the 100,000 mile mark with no problems.
Total horsepower is a disappointing 121, however with the electric motors assisting on the initial takeoff the car scoots around town quite well. You may get a bit apprehensive merging onto a freeway, or passing cars at higher speeds unless you allow a lot of room to safely get it done.
Ride quality is surprisingly good with a quiet cabin and smooth, if sluggish, performance on most surfaces. The interior trim level improves with the higher number models, and our Prius Four had the faux leather with contrasting stiches, soft touch surfaces and high gloss accents.
The accents around the center stack and console were almost porcelain in appearance and gave a stark contrast in the otherwise subdued cabin.
The Toyota Prius underwent a major restyle in 2016 and the consensus seems to be that people either love it, or hate it. The sharp lines
and bold rear finish give the car a futuristic profile that makes the Prius stand out in any parking lot. This out of the norm approach continues inside the cabin where the traditional dash board is moved the center of the panel. There is also an optional color heads up display that projects on the windshield directly in front of the driver if you don’t want to turn your head to read the speedometer.
Safety Sense Included!
As with all of the Toyota passenger car lineup the Prius includes the Toyota Safety Sense system that includes active cruise control to keep a set distance from the car ahead of you, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and automatic high beam headlamps. Standard and optional safety equipment includes a high resolution back up camera with Toyota’s enhanced parking assist that shows predictive lines to indicate the path of the front edges of the car as you back up, blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alerts.
Other state of the art options come with each progressively higher trim level. QI wireless phone charging, Toyota’s Entune infotainment with Toyota’s app center, power operated and heated seats, Smart Key entry and starting and rain sensing wipers all come with the top of the line Four Touring.
The Prius is highly maneuverable and easy to park, especially with the enhanced parking aids. In traffic performance is very good. Twenty five cubic feet of storage space and seating for 5 make the Prius a very functional small family or business car.
Pricing for the Toyota Prius begins at only $23,475 and moves up to the mid 30’s for the higher trims. Inner city drivers or those who do a lot of low speed urban trips will find the reward of moderate entry price and the high fuel mileage offsets the lack of high speed performance.
The 2017 Toyota Prius is not for everyone, but if you are looking for great fuel economy, Toyota dependability and industry leading safety technology the Prius may be for you. Learn more about the entire Prius lineup here
This review was done live on air July 22, 2017, listen to the full review here