Why are people so uber-rude about Prius plug-in?
The problem with driving our long-term Toyota Prius PHV is that you have to endure endless taxi-related jokes. There are so very many, it’s getting harder to take them in good humour. But I try.
Anyway, taxi drivers should be so lucky. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the plug-in Prius was a high-end car when launched in 2012 and it still has some pretty posh stuff.
Putting aside the plug-in powertrain with lithium-ion battery, the Prius G PHV has LED headlights, keyless entry/start, remote operation for the air conditioning, Touch Tracer steering wheel-mounted controls, heated seats and steering wheel . . . you get the point.
The uber-unfunny jokes haven’t been helped by my decision to stick a mobile phone mount on the windscreen. Yes, yes, I know.
But as time goes on I’m finding there’s a lack of clarity around the Bluetooth connection in the car; the Signature Class Prius has a new touch-screen head-unit installed for NZ that also handles phone functions, so whether it’s that, the 2012-vintage speaker tech in the car or a lack of compatibility between the two I don’t know.
It’s fine sometimes, but on others, callers have been complaining they can’t hear me clearly. So it’s been handy to have the windscreen-mounted phone on speaker as backup. Also serves as sat-nav when required (some PHVs have sat-nav head units, but ours doesn’t).
In other news, the car has been employed mainly for commuting since our last report, which has increased the ratio of pure-EV driving we’ve done from 36 to 49 per cent – which was really the point of running it in the first place, to see just how much EVdriving we could do in day-to-day plug-in ownership.
With the help of that electricity, average fuel consumption is currently at 3.33 litres per 100km. As our on-test mileage heads towards 1400km I might have to start thinking about filling up for the first time . . . but only because the PHV has a relatively small 45-litre tank.
So the news is good, but I do find myself constantly having to Base price: $35,000 (ish, depending on mileage and age) Mileage so far: 1400km (49 per cent in EV mode) Powertrain and performance: 1.8-litre four with lithium-ion battery pack and plug-in capability, continuously variable transmission, FWD. Average fuel economy on test: 3.33 litres per 100km. What have we done lately? Parried lots of insulting remarks about Prius PHV’s lack of cool, happily carried on with EV-commuting anyway. Problems so far: Faulty charging cable replaced by Toyota, reversing camera went blank, Bluetooth connectivity not entirely satisfactory. defend our choice of a used-import Prius as a long-termer.
But just to recap: for a buyer wanting to get into plug-in motoring, our $35k Prius PHV (2014) is a genuine alternative to a new car.
It’s still the most advanced Prius you can buy in NZ, and because it’s part of Toyota’s Signature Class programme you get the support of the brand’s massive dealer network and a fiveyear warranty on everything including the battery. That’s better than many brand-new plug-in cars.
Prius and a ferry terminal: let’s talk commuting.