As the world’s most loved and best selling hybrid car with a legacy that is well into its second decade, the Toyota Prius has become the benchmark for affordable green technology in the automotive space. This is one vehicle that may be driven like any other, it cant be judged like one.
At the very outset, the car has many positives going for it. Its looks, however, is not one of them. From the front, there is nothing revolutionary compounded by the fact it is only available in standard colours. The rear, though is anything but boring with its notchback style design and LED tail lamps, giving it a sportscar-like look.
With the Prius, the company has broken some new ground giving the car a commanding cockpit-like feel without being too overwhelming. By far, it is the driver’s seat that is the place to be in though there is no apparent dearth of luxury or comfort in the rear seats as well. The stick-shift gear lever almost gives the feel of a spacecraft. On the flip side, the quality of plastic and dull choice of colours spoil the mood somewhat.
The car’s strong point, given the fact that with a 1.8 litre engine, it seeks to compete with bigger siblings powered by 2.4-2.5 litre power trains. The Prius gets out of the block without even a groan, and courtesy the nickel metal hydride battery at work, boasts of minimal noise or vibration. Unless revved hard, you will not notice that the engine is working. The car will go as fast as you can go, which in India means no more than 200 kmph.
The car returned 15 kmpl in city driving conditions with the air conditioning at full blast. Worth the bait, as it fulfils the promise of a small car frugality for an executive class luxury.
With over 1.5 million satisfied customers the world over, this car needs no referrals anymore. At Rs 27 lakh, it does not come cheap but while the policy makers ought to do their bit in making it more affordable, Toyota may look at upping its style quotient to befit the price tag.