Fam­ily hol­i­days

Toy­ota Prius £28,255/£28,800

Top Gear (UK) - - GARAGE - OWEN NOR­RIS

Is the Prius just a taxi or does it make a good fam­ily car? Given the re­cent heat on diesel cars, this is a ques­tion I as­sume po­ten­tial buy­ers might be ask­ing right now.

Prac­ti­cally, the low-slung cabin gives a good amount of in­te­rior space, but you do feel low when sat in trafc and that’s not pop­u­lar with her in­doors. In the boot, we’ve got a de­cent space for our buggy and some shop­ping, but it is shal­low, so no big suit­cases for that week­end away.

Hav­ing not yet driven the Prius on the mo­tor­way, I as­sumed econ­omy would sufer on long runs, but to my sur­prise a trip down to Hamp­shire and back on a grey bank hol­i­day re­turned 70mpg with some care­ful throt­tle feath­er­ing and 50mph road­works. That’s up there with the most ef­cient diesels, mak­ing the Prius much more than just ur­ban Uber fod­der for any buy­ers out there.

Put your foot down on the mo­tor­way, though, and you’re met with a loud drone from the poor en­gine, as the CVT gear­box tries to give you all that’s avail­able to it. Com­bined with the roar of the skinny tyres, it’s quite a wear­ing place to be on a long jour­ney.

Back into town, I’ve had a cou­ple of eye-open­ing mo­ments re­cently un­der brak­ing. Not only is the in­con­sis­tent brake feel very un­nerv­ing, you never quite know what you’re go­ing to get de­pend­ing on what the hy­brid sys­tem needs to har­vest, but I’ve locked up brakes a cou­ple of times while be­ing forced to brake over a bump or pot­hole. Not great when some­one slams on their an­chors in front of you at a junc­tion.

The mpg doesn’t come from press ma­te­ri­als, hon­est. Feather­foot Nor­ris is my name

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