Roomy and zoomy
With mileage boasting 100km for just four litres of petrol, the new Toyota Prius V is a revelation with seven seats and oodles of room, which suits Wendyl Nissen just fine.
The first thing you learn about driving a Prius, as I have for three years, is to ignore the petrol gauge. The reason for this is that it takes so long to go down that you just don’t bother checking it every day as you might with a non-hybrid car. Instead you wait, and after about six weeks it gives you a gentle “bleep,” you notice the petrol is low and you find the nearest petrol station.
Taxi drivers all over Auckland are changing over to Prius because it really does save about a third of your petrol costs and is an ideal drive-around-town car.
And if you really want to save on the gas you can quite happily cruise around town at 40km on the battery alone. I’ve managed to get an entirely free trip from my house to Ponsonby Rd several times now.
The Prius V is new to the market because it has seven seats and therefore is the ultimate family car. Ideal for ferrying kids to and from sports and family outings it is extremely roomy, yet not a big car which requires the skills of a Top Gear host to park. To drive it feels like an average sedan and certainly not like a four-wheel drive which some people resort to when they need a versatile family car.
When you’re driving kids around it also has a seatbelt indicator on the dash which tells you which of the five kids in the back has forgotten to put their seatbelt on, and the rear windows are tinted and have in-built sun shades which you can pull up to protect babies in car seats from too much sun.
From a woman’s point of view there are a number of gadgets I really appreciate in the Prius V. You can back the car without once having to turn around by using the rear camera which throws up an image of what’s happening behind your car on the screen in front of you. It will also park it for you, if you feel like engaging its auto park facility. It has a USB port so that I can charge my iPhone and when I connected my iPhone via Bluetooth I was delighted to see that no only did it import all my contacts but also all my music from my phone which I can play as I drive around.
One thing you do have to be aware of when you become a Prius driver is that you will need to explain to a variety of older men who grew up with a petrol engine that you don’t have to plug it in at night!
The Prius V is a hybrid which simply means that it runs on petrol and battery power, depending on what the needs of the car are. If you’re zooming up a hill or passing a car then petrol kicks in. If you’re just dilly dallying around the suburbs the battery will have a turn. And you charge the battery as you drive around by going down hills, using the brakes and there is an onboard generator.
As a greenie I feel confident that my Prius V is doing its bit by using less fossil fuels but also reducing carbon emissions.
"If you really want to save on the gas you can quite happily cruise around town at 40km
on the battery alone."