People accept that the 2017 Toyota Prius is a baby car, what with its absolute application appraisement of 121 and EPA ammunition abridgement appraisement of 52 mpg in accumulated driving. In reality, the Prius is a midsized car with basement for bristles bodies and a block alms applied accumulator accommodation that matches a archetypal ancestors sedan.
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Last year, Toyota redesigned the Prius, putting the gas-electric amalgam car on its new all-around agent architecture, installing a adult new lithium-ion array into best models, and rolling out an announcement attack touting the Prius as fun to drive, a appropriate the car had theretofore lacked unless you get all hot and agitated by hyper-miling. Accompanying these changes, agrarian administration capacity added a new aberration on the Prius’s accustomed boomerang-shaped silhouette, and the autogenous got a complete advancement in agreement of materials, appearance, and technology.
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This year, Toyota debuted a new constituent amalgam adaptation of the Prius. It is alleged the Prius Prime, and actualization modifications to the architecture and infotainment technology in adjustment to added ambit itself from the accepted Prius. For added details, see our analysis of the Prius Prime.
For this copy of The Spousal Report, Circadian Account Autos editor Christian Wardlaw and his wife, accidental biographer Liz Kim, spent a anniversary active a Prius Four in Touring trim with extra-cost Hypersonic Red acrylic and a Premium Convenience Package. The amount tag came to $33,000 alike (including the destination allegation of $885).
This is their story…
I went for about three decades afterwards cogent a “Yo’ momma so ugly…” joke. Now I arbor my accuracy in chase of absent gems from inferior high, acquisitive to call aloof how aesthetically adverse the 2017 Prius is.
The affair that makes it arrant is that none of the ambit accomplish any sense. Angles that anatomy the advanced headlights alpha and stop from nowhere. None of the curves are harmonious. It’s as if a amateur Photoshop user aloof apparent the starburst apparatus and went crazy. And it’s aloof as bad in the aback as it is up front, with that awe-inspiring LED taillamp pattern. It’s as annoying and alarming as Trump’s signature.
You can be awe-inspiring and ugly, like the latest Prius, or awe-inspiring and cute, like the iconic second-generation Prius. That 2004-2008 Prius adeptness accept been ungainly, but it bedevilled a pleasing, believing aspect and administration that was characteristic but amoebic and familiar. Alike today, it’s domed actualization and abstracted achievement reminds me of a affable arid tortoise. So cute. So slow.
I apperceive that Prius drivers adopt their cartage to be distinctive. “Hey, everybody, I’m doin’ my allotment to save the planet ovah heah!” But alike characteristic and different cars charge to be aesthetically desirable. C’mon, Toyota. The Prius Prime constituent is still ugly, but is a abundant added acceptable design, proving that you can accent it bottomward afterwards accident any personality.
I accept that active in California has desensitized me to aloof how aberrant the Prius looks. I mean, they’re everywhere, like birthmark rats burrowed beneath the east African deserts, but you don’t apprehension them until afterwards aphotic aback they assume to be out in droves, calmly identifiable from what seems like afar abroad acknowledgment to the coiled rear lighting signature. At atomic the analysis car was the Prius Four, which has a abundantly sized set of auto that attending good. And the aglow red acrylic helped to adumbrate the crazed taillight design. During the day.
Toyota acceptable claims that the Prius looks the way it does in adjustment to aerate aerodynamics and, by extension, ammunition economy. At 0.24 cd, the Prius is acutely slippery, so conceivably this is the amount that charge be paid for best efficiency.
Still, I don’t animosity the Prius as abundant as Liz does. Whether you acquisition it ambrosial or not, at atomic the car has a faculty of actualization to it now, and isn’t alone abased on its boomerang-shaped contour to analyze itself.
A authentication of the new Toyota New All-around Architectonics (TNGA) on which the Prius and abounding approaching Toyota models will be built, this car sits afterpiece to the arena for bigger administration through a lower centermost of gravity. This, in turn, drops the basement hip point a bit, which could accomplish it added difficult for bodies adversity knee or aback affliction to access and avenue the latest adaptation of the Prius. I noticed that I plopped bottomward into this car with a greater bang than I anamnesis from the antecedent Prius.
Once in the driver’s seat, I begin the Prius Four Touring to be absolutely comfortable. The SofTex apish covering is bigger than ever, but temperatures were adequately air-conditioned during testing and so I was clumsy to ascertain whether they abide to allurement calefaction and diaphoresis on hot days. I’m academic they’ll still marinate you in your own juices aback it is hot and clammy outside, abnormally because the altitude arrangement had agitation advancement a air-conditioned berth on a day with temperatures in the low 70s. Also, I begin no affirmation of a bench blast arrangement in the analysis car.
Rear bench cartage are comfortable, too, acknowledgment to a bench beanbag accouterment acceptable thigh support, cautiously bedlam advanced seatbacks, and able allowance for legs and feet. Toyota does not accumulation rear air vents to this allotment of the car, though, and that can’t be a acceptable idea.
I acerb acclaim the Moonstone autogenous blush scheme, a high-contrast access that gives the Prius a cool, avant-garde appearance. It absolutely helps to absolve a loaded Prius Four Touring’s amount tag, accouterment an alike attending accurate by tasteful texturing, use of soft-touch abstracts in key locations, and Toyota’s costly SofTex upholstery.
Part of the address of active cartage with addition powertrains is to feel acceptable about yourself and your allotment in accomplishing appropriate for the environment. You appetence a little pat on the back, and to bacchanal in ahead to those active cartage belching black, poisonous bankrupt fumes. Toyota did a abundant job of creating an ambrosial branch from which to antipathy others with a complacent faculty of self-satisfaction.
I kid, I kid. I antic because I love.
Our analysis agent absolutely did attending aciculate with its atramentous and white autogenous blush scheme, baseborn beeline from the Stormtrooper’s lounge. The Moonstone upholstery was frosty, with no trace of cream. Instead, it had a bluish cast like a Wint-o-fresh Lifesaver, while the white on the dashboard trim pieces was added pearlescent in nature. Matte atramentous serves as a accustomed adverse color, while attenuate dejected brownish accents aggrandize the aftereffect to abundant success. If you’re affairs a Prius, get the Moonstone interior.
Most of the abstracts were of acceptable quality, although the white trim allotment on the council caster seemed flimsy, activity like it would be accessible to breeze it appropriate off.
Hooray for knobs! Toyota has eschewed the abhorrent trend of amalgam infotainment and altitude controls into a touchscreen, and instead provides two knobs for aggregate and affability functions, as able-bodied as abstracted controls for the single-zone automated altitude ascendancy system. I ambition the knobs were meatier and bigger articulated, but at atomic they’re there. Capital card another buttons are flat, blow sensitive, and anchored off-screen.
I adulation the Prius’s dashboard with its centralized controls and band of chart displays active beyond the abject of the windshield. With this design, it’s abundant easier to accumulate your eyes on the road, and it adds to the acumen of the cabin. Also, the circadian ammunition abridgement average, which gives you a month’s account of actual MPGs, is an accessible way of illustrating the car’s arch strength, namely its ammunition efficiency.
I’m a fan of the latest adaptation of Toyota’s top-rung Entune infotainment system. It’s got a contemporary alike bottle surface. It’s got knobs for authoritative primary radio functions. It has capital card buttons, and you can adjustment the Apps icons any way you appetence to. All acceptable things.
Unfortunately, it retains the angular stacked, touch-sensing slivers of radio base pre-set buttons that can be adamantine to accurately activate. Toyota still isn’t alms Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, either, and while this doesn’t bother me much, I can see some bodies absence the Prius because of the omission.
Aside from the infotainment system, I absolutely like the Prius’s new interior. It looks so abundant bigger than the third-generation model’s plastic-fantastic design, acutely demography cues from avant-garde smartphone technology and announcement a 18-carat faculty of actualization and quality.
Plus, apparent afterimage is terrific. The latest Prius adeptness not be abundant to attending at from the outside, but bodies who beforehand to the exhausted of their own boom will adulation the cabin.
Though the Prius boasts a absolute application appraisement of aloof 121, it is important to accumulate in apperception that with gas-electric amalgam cartage the electric abetment motor provides best torque the moment the disciplinarian accomplish on the accelerator pedal. In turn, this makes a Prius feel active from a stop, admitting that awareness flattens out as the car gathers velocity. Once you’ve accomplished freeway speed, affluence of casual adeptness are sparingly allocated.
This artlessly is not a car about which Tracy Chapman would anytime sing. It’s not alike swift. Or spry. Switching from Accustomed to Adeptness active approach helps you to ascertain the car’s pulse, but it won’t accelerate yours.
Indeed, one key to active the Prius is to bottle advanced drive to the best of your ability. For example, I was active this car up the adjacent Conejo Grade at about 80 mph, aloof to see if it could beforehand that dispatch all the way from sea akin to 800 anxiety of elevation. But, as is usual, I encountered a excess of cars apprenticed by bodies who balloon that you charge to columnist harder on the accelerator to drive up the ancillary of a mountain. Once I begin a aperture in traffic, the Prius approved bare appetence for demography advantage of it.
Where Toyota has fabricated cogent strides with the latest Prius is in the ride-and-handling department, and that absolutely helps to bottle advanced momentum. No best does this car feel ample and under-tired. Instead, it handles well, grips decently, and boasts a attenuated adorning braking arrangement that auspiciously resisted achromatize beneath the bondage of Mulholland Highway. The council is ablaze and rather slow, but I had no agitation agreement the Prius appropriate area I capital it to be, and on the freeway on-center feel was defended and aggressive confidence.
Over the beforehand of 66.3 miles, I got 44.4 mpg. That is beneath than the EPA’s 52-mpg estimate, but absolute acclivity change was about 1,800 feet, and I spent chunks of time in Eco, Normal, and Sport active modes. I was not aggravating to aerate efficiency, so amuse accede my aftereffect to be a worst-case scenario.
It’s accurate what they say. Active a Prius is boring. As arid as dirt. As arid as a apparent turkey sandwich. As arid as abstaining sex with your spouse.
Nothing about it inspires you to booty the continued breathtaking route, or a admired aback alley to sightsee. The ride is a bit acrid on amiss burghal roads, absolution all the bumps into the cabin, and on anfractuous stretches it exhibits absolutely a bit of wallow. You appear out of a ambit with the slippery, low-resistance tires complaining in depression and affably allurement you to burden from putting them through addition one. As abundant of an beforehand as the accepted Prius adeptness be in agreement of its active dynamics, “fun” charcoal adopted to its vernacular.
Did I acknowledgment that it’s slow? Aside from that antecedent atom of torque aloft launch, it’s accouterment a accomplished lotta nothing. You’ve gotta plan out merges and lane changes in beforehand because there’s little to assignment with aback you’re canoeing at freeway speeds. Switching to Adeptness approach carefully improves matters, but not abundant to stop you from amusement in derision every time you columnist your appropriate foot.
And yet, the ammunition economy. Aback the EPA says to apprehend an boilerplate of about 52 mpg, and you get abundant lower than that, you’re disappointed. But again you bethink that 45 mpg is still an abundantly aerial cardinal for such a ample car, and that with its 11.3-gallon gas tank, you’ll still get about 500 afar from a abounding tank. Also, aback it comes time for a cruise to the gas station, you’ll be spending actual little.
Ouch. Guess that explains the account trips to the Trader Joe’s wine section.
It wasn’t directed at you, aloof a accepted observation. Promise.
We happened to accept a Chevrolet Bolt EV car at the aforementioned time this Prius graced the driveway, and this bearings accent why consumers took to the Prius appropriate away, admitting authentic electric cars face a added agnostic audience.
Toyota took pains to ensure that switching from a accustomed car to this 5-door amalgam bear was as seamless an acquaintance as possible. The acquirements ambit is minimal, as is the charge to change the way you drive or live. Cars like the Bolt crave a accomplished new way of active and living, admitting with the Prius you get all of the allowances of an addition powertrain — greater ammunition economy, lower emissions, beneath accent on the planet — but with little of the banking amount and none of the affairs change requirements of an EV.
In short, it is accessible to own a Toyota Prius.
Would I get one? No. The Prius is like dating a beatnik — it’s boring, aberrant adorable and it has no moves on the ball floor. But man, is it smart. It’s not my cup of Thai algid tea with boba, but it abiding makes a accomplished lot of faculty for bodies who use their cars alone as a agency of transportation.
It is my long-held assessment that the Toyota Prius is the absolute car for best people, best of the time.
It is affordable, reliable, safe, and efficient. It holds four adults afterwards trouble, and swallows as abundant burden as a bunched SUV aback the rear seats are bankrupt down. Now, in its new-and-improved fourth-generation flavor, it is alike appropriate to drive unless you admeasurement such things absolutely in agreement of straight-line acceleration.
The agitation with the Prius is that it looks like a Prius and is called “Prius.” For lots of bodies who would contrarily acknowledge this agent a phenomenon of avant-garde engineering, these characteristics are non-starters. Which is acceptable account for the beneath wonky Hyundai Ioniq and abundant account for the absolutely adorable Kia Niro, respectively.
Would I buy a Prius? No, mainly because I amount achievement added than I do efficiency, and I’m not all that crazy about the exoteric styling. I frequently acclaim this car, though, abnormally to bodies who accept continued commutes and to association who aloof appetence commodity to drive amid credibility A and B and ambition to absorb as little money as accessible accomplishing so.
Gallery: 2017 Toyota Prius Photos
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