and the steering is never much better than wooden.
But it is rewarding to sit at the lights with a zero energy drain, and move away under electric power, just like the earlier Priuses.
The difference with this Prius is the way the engineering team has turned it from a real-world laboratory experiment into a worthwhile compact family car. It’s not as sharp as a Mazda3 or Ford Focus, but feels as good to drive as a Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra.
That could be faint praise, but it is praise for a car that is still focused on everything from low-drag tyres to a slippery body and a powertrain that even uses electric airconditioning to cut any parasitic drag on the engine.
The first-generation Prius was an oddity, the second-generation Prius was effective but unrewarding.
There is a lot to like about Prius III and very little to complain about. Some think the car looks too much like the previous model, the steering column does not have enough adjustment, the press preview cars in Sydney this week had mismatched plastic in the cabin, and the vacuum fluorescent digital gauges look cheap with pixelated graphics, which are sub-standard for the car and class.
But those are only little things in a Prius that is now one to recommend as a car, and not just a green statement machine.