Toyota Prius Review

>> Wednesday, December 31, 2008

 The Toyota Prius is a technological tour-de-force. At low speeds, its 28hp nickel metal hydride battery provides propulsion. Put the hammer down, and a 1.5 litre, 76hp internal combustion engine takes over. The transition between the two systems is relatively seamless. You don't even need an extension cord; the gas engine and energy from the braking system recharge the battery. What's more, the new look gas-electric Prius hybrid exceeds California's Super Ultra Low Vehicle (SULEV) exhaust standards. Driven sensibly it gets around 45mpg (US Gallons).

Terrific! If you're a money-conscious motorist who believes SUVs and their ilk pollute the planet and pervert the course of American foreign policy, the $20K Prius is a godsend. But if you're a petrolhead who regularly sacrifices social responsibility on the altar of adrenal release, Toyota's clean, green mileage machine is a far less attractive proposition. For one thing, the design is spectacularly dull. Quite how Toyota managed to blend so many ill-conceived details (slab-sides, gruesome headlights, hideous rear hatch, etc.) into such a narcoleptic shape is a mystery almost as impenetrable Chris Bangle's justification for his "flame-surfaced" BMWs. In fact, the Prius is so unintentionally stealthy it gives drivers automotive Alzheimer's; I "lost" the car in a supermarket parking lot whilst standing directly in front of it.

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