Part of me is still a bit disappointed by technology. The Sci-Fi writers of the 1950’s led me to believe we’d all be flying around in spaceships that run on empty crisp packets by now. The fact I have to actually dress myself and brush my teeth every morning without some sort of automated assistant is a reminder of no matter how brilliant technology is, the best is always just around the corner.
That brings me nicely to the Toyota Prius Plug-in, a car with all the right intentions, but a continual work in progress. Toyota, as we all know have been instrumental in the development of electric cars and hybrid technologies, for that alone they should be supremely congratulated.
I’ve just spent a week in the company of a Prius Plug-in, the main difference between this car and a regular Prius Hybrid is the Lithium-ion battery. Chargeable from home in an hour and a half, it’s now possible to drive up to 15.5 miles on electric charge only. That gives you a lot more options, especially if you have short commuting distance to work, or a lot of your journeys are relatively close to home. Don’t forget; in electric mode it produces zero emissions, so the environmental benefits are easy to realise.
Should you need to go further afield the 1.8 hybrid engine will tick along nicely producing a combined CO2 emmissions of just 49(g/km) and according to Toyota’s figures a whopping-ly jaw-dropping-ly 95mpg.
The car is surprisingly decent enough to drive, the automatic transmission is smooth and its conscientious target audience will appreciate the green credentials a lot more they will its ability to go from 0-62 (100kmh) in a slightly pedestrian 10.7 seconds. Talking of which, the top speed is 112mph and in electric (EV) mode the maximum speed is 62mph (100kmh).
The interior of the Prius is futuristic in its ambience and although the trim finish doesn’t match others in its price range for luxury it feels durable, hard-wearing and family proof. The dashboard is similarly futuristic but the next upgrade will surely benefit from touch screen capabilities. You can monitor the car charging status remotely through an App on your phone, which is a useful thing to have in your back pocket.
There is plenty of room in the back for 3 adults and there is 21.6 cubic feet boot space (the same as the regular Prius) and among a range of standard specs are heated front seats and a really decent stereo.
Price-wise it’s cheaper than the more stylish BMWi3, but upwards of £8,000 more than the standard Prius. Weighing up the pro’s and con’s of leasing options etc can be a bit of a headache, but there are discounts and incentive schemes including a government grant of up to £5,000, so being green is do-able with the Plug-in.
I like the progress Toyota is making and the benefits the Plugin has over an all electric (or hybrid car) are definitely worth taking a look it. Personally, I found the driving experience a bit too detached to really get excited about the car from a petrol-heads perspective, but if they make it fly one day, the journey will all be worthwhile.
Toyota Prius Plugin From £28,395 after the Government Incentive Scheme, for more info visit