Auto Express


Our man now fully appreciate­s why Uber drivers love eco hatch.

- Otis Clay

THE rise of ride hailing app Uber has also seen more and more Toyota Prius land in the UK. Auto Express went behind the scenes to see exactly what it takes to be an Uber driver recently (Issue 1,460), but one thing is for sure: you need a Prius.

I mean that in a positive way, because our long-term Toyota has proven a brilliant companion recently, and I’ve experience­d exactly what it’s like to drive a Prius around London over the last few weeks.

First of all, it took me a while to work out why people were waving their iphones at me whenever I was waiting at a major junction or a set of traffic lights. It only then dawned on me as they wandered over to the Prius and yanked at the door handles that they thought I was their cab.

However, when it comes to ferrying friends around, the Toyota is brilliant. If I was to become an Uber driver for real, there’s no doubt my taxi of choice would be a Prius. There’s loads of space inside across the rear bench, and the 343-litre boot ensures it can carry everyone’s luggage, too – or in my case, a load of camera gear.

The tall sidewalls of the tyres help the Prius’s already forgiving damping, so the ride is cushioned and controlled. It makes for relaxed progress on the road, which is why the din you get from the rear of the cabin on the move is a little frustratin­g. However, this is only really highlighte­d by the refined powertrain, as around town I find myself cruising on electric power alone more than I thought I would. Hence the car’s impressive 56.5mpg so far.

It’s a shame, then, that in stop-start traffic the brakes are a little grabby. Presumably it’s the switch between the electric motor acting in reverse to slow the car and the discs and calipers fully bringing it to a halt. It smooths out at higher speeds though, so you just have to be a little more careful with how you apply the pedal at lower speeds.

Back in the cabin, the big central bin between the front seats gives a very useful storage area for odds and ends, but it’s at an awkward height.

It means my left arm has to hover above the armrest in an unnatural position, rather than leaning on it, which would be more comfortabl­e. This is one of the very few complaints I’ve had with the Prius so far, though. It’s not hard to see why it won our Best Green Car award last year and has dominated in road tests against its eco-focused rivals.

Grey wouldn’t be my colour choice, though, as it further forges the impression I’m an Uber driver. But that’s not necessaril­y the Prius’s fault – it’s a sign that it can carry people in comfort around urban environmen­ts better than anything else.

“Grey wouldn’t be my choice, as it does give the impression of being an Uber driver”

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