Prime time for plug-in Toy­ota Prius

Hamilton News - - DRIVEN.CO.NZ - Road Test: Colin Smith Pic­tures: John Bor­ren .. ..

Plug-in hy­brid tech­nol­ogy that de­liv­ers an ex­tended elec­tric driv­ing range and co­in­cides with ris­ing fuel prices and Toy­ota’s new Drive Happy pric­ing regime make it prime time for this Toy­ota Prius.

The Prius Prime is the first new ve­hi­cle Toy­ota has sold in New Zealand to of­fer plug-in hy­brid ef­fi­ciency — although the mar­que sold pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Prius plug-ins as part of its Sig­na­ture Class used car op­er­a­tion. The Prius Prime — based on the gen-four Prius — ar­rived in New Zealand ear­lier this year. With a new dual mo­tor hy­brid drive sys­tem and dou­bled 8.8kwh ca­pac­ity lithi­u­mion bat­tery it of­fers a claimed elec­tric driv­ing range of 63km and com­bined cy­cle fuel con­sump­tion rated at 1.0L/100km.

Con­nect up the Type 2 charger ca­ble to charge the bat­tery from a 230-volt/8-amp house­hold sup­ply — the slow­est so­lu­tion — takes an es­ti­mated 4 hours and 30 min­utes

My ex­pe­ri­ence with the Prius Prime didn’t vary too much from those num­bers. A com­bi­na­tion of daily city driv­ing and overnight charg­ing meant my first four days of Prius Prime Time ex­pe­ri­ence was com­pleted with­out us­ing a drop of petrol. Some­thing in the re­gion of 50-55km of driv­ing seems like the “real world” range from a fully charged bat­tery — and with a small amount of charge re­main­ing the plug-in at home 270-minute charge time matched the Toy­ota claims.

With its in­creased elec­tric range — I had man­aged about 22km for a full charge dur­ing a Sig­na­ture Class Gen-3 Prius PHEV drive — and with pump prices at record lev­els the Prius Prime has a lot of timely ap­peal. And that’s en­hanced fur­ther by Toy­ota’s Drive Happy drive-away pric­ing which puts the Prius Prime at $48,490 in stan­dard trim and $49,990 with op­tional leather up­hol­stery.

With about 150km of emis­sions­free and quiet city driv­ing com­pleted I pointed the Prius Prime at the open road and made a Tau­ranga-auck­land re­turn run. Start­ing out with a fully charged bat­tery and adding a fur­ther 450km to my drive brought the con­sump­tion av­er­age to 3.0L/100km. The av­er­age con­sump­tion claim of 1.0L/100km seems achiev­able if you can com­bine short city jour­neys with reg­u­lar recharg­ing while mak­ing an oc­ca­sional longer run.

But the main ap­peal of the plugin ex­pe­ri­ence is when­ever a longer trip is re­quired the range anx­i­ety can be parked be­cause the Prius Prime has a 43-litre fuel tank and op­er­ates like a Prius hy­brid with re­gen­er­a­tive charg­ing that keeps enough charge in the bat­tery for a per­for­mance boost from the com­bined hy­brid sys­tem.

The Prius Prime isn’t a per­for­mance car but it drives in a 1798cc, 16-valve four-cylin­der in-line, fuel in­jected petrol and plug-in hy­brid elec­tric drive 72kw at 5200pm (90kw hy­brid com­bined) 142Nm at 3600rpm 4645mm 1760mm 1470m 2700mm 1550kg 43 litres Al­loy, 6.5 x 15-inch Bridge­stone Ecopia 195/65 R15 ra­dial

re­laxed style and has an elec­tric torque boost that helps it up the Kaimai Range and for over­tak­ing re­sponse. There’s no­tice­ably more urge avail­able when the Power drive mode is se­lected.

Low rolling re­sis­tance Bridge­stone Ecopia tyres in a rel­a­tively nar­row 195/65 R15 size for a 1550kg car are the lim­it­ing fac­tor to the Prime’s dy­nam­ics. There’s more chas­sis rigid­ity than pre­vi­ous mod­els but you don’t need to carry very much cor­ner speed be­fore it seems like you are ex­plor­ing the nar­row tyre grip lim­its and the steer­ing has a light and life­less feel.

Per­haps the main lim­it­ing fac­tor in the ap­peal of the Prius Prime is its four-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion. There’s no cen­tre rear seat belt and the rear seat is di­vided by a stor­age and cup holder unit. I think it re­stricts the

prac­ti­cal­ity of what could be one of the most fuel-ef­fi­cient fam­ily trans­port so­lu­tions.

Stow­ing the bat­tery pack means there’s no spare wheel aboard the Prime and there’s a shal­low load area with a roll-out lug­gage cover where some space is taken up by the charger unit and ca­ble which is sup­plied in a zip­per bag.

The stan­dard Prius Prime spec­i­fi­ca­tion in­cludes heated front seats, In­tel­li­gent Park As­sist par­al­lel and per­pen­dic­u­lar auto park­ing, a 10-speaker JBL au­dio, Qi wire­less charger, 7.0-inch touch­screen dis­play with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and SUNA traf­fic up­dates, rain sen­sor wipers, power fold mir­rors, an alarm and im­mo­biliser se­cu­rity sys­tem, Head-up dis­play and Smart en­try and push but­ton start.

The Prius Prime is well equipped for the city en­vi­ron­ment with the full Toy­ota Safety Sense tech pack­age. The Pre-crash Safety Sys­tem with Au­tonomous Emer­gency Brak­ing in­cludes pedes­trian pro­tec­tion and there is Lane De­par­ture Alert with steer­ing as­sist and all-speed Dy­namic Radar Cruise Con­trol with au­to­matic brake con­trol.

There’s also adap­tive high beam as­sist for the LED head­lights and Road Sign As­sist which dis­plays the cur­rent speed limit although I have doubts about its ac­cu­racy when it ad­vised a 110km/h limit ap­plied on Cameron Rd near the Tau­ranga race­course.

Blind Spot As­sist and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert are also part of the Prius Prime pack­age along with a re­verse cam­era with guide­lines.

In a car packed with so much elec­tronic tech­nol­ogy the foot­op­er­ated park brake seems clumsy and a push but­ton elec­tronic so­lu­tion would be more ap­pro­pri­ate. Hill-start As­sist Con­trol is also stan­dard.

The op­por­tu­nity for close-tozero fuel con­sump­tion ur­ban op­er­a­tion with­out range anx­i­ety when a longer jour­ney beck­ons makes the Prius Prime a timely and in­ter­est­ing so­lu­tion as fuel prices in­crease. But lim­it­ing a de­cent size five-door hatch­back to only four oc­cu­pants means a sig­nif­i­cant com­pro­mise to the fam­ily car .




Max­i­mum out­put Max­i­mum torque Length .. .. Width .. .. Height .. .. Wheel­base .. Kerb weight .. Fuel tank ca­pac­ity Wheels .. .. Tyres .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. .. .. ..


En­gine .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.