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Toyota Prius 2 Review

The first thing that strikes the driver on approaching a Toyota Prius 2 is its quirky styling. The bonnet is relatively small and the lines make a single gracious curve ending in the split level hatch.

You might think of an Audi A2 that been given a good stretch. It's very distinctive and although it divided opinion at the start of the week, its image really grew on us.


On entering the car there are some obvious differences to a "normal hatch". This vehicle doesn't have a key but a credit card size ignition key and the start-up procedure requires you to place the card in the ignition slot, press down on the brake and hold the starter button in for 3 seconds.

There is an arm rest to the left of the driver with various handy storage spaces .. but no handbrake.

Toyota Prius 2 The handbrake is located where the clutch would normally be on a manual car although tucked up slightly higher in the floor well to avoid any problems with drivers not used to driving an automatic.

There is then a rest plate below for that idle left foot.

CVT clutchless gearbox

There is no manual transmission Prius option but the Toyota CVT clutchless gearbox is very smooth and made the driving experience very relaxing. The cabin felt spacious and there is a lot of room in front of the driver due to the short bonnet.

The LED speedo is in line of site and there is a touch sensitive screen on the dash showing which engine is in use, battery state and MPG figures. Initially it's a bit tempting to stare at this too much whilst driving with the obvious potential repercussions.

Hybrid Synergy Drive

The electric motor will function at speeds up to 28 mph and above this the petrol engine cuts in. The clever aspect to the Hybrid Synergy Drive is the way the two propulsion units interact with each other depending on the driving conditions.

For example during heavy acceleration the two engines will combine even if the speed is less than 28 mph. It can be a little unnerving when the petrol engine cuts out at traffic lights with a barely discernable shudder leaving a deafening silence. We did wonder if we'd get going again but the Prius never let us down.

Prius Road Test

During the week the car was used in most everyday situations. Local roads, A roads, and Motorways. The M25 roadwork's between junction 12 and 14 showed the car at its best with the CVT automatic gearbox ridding us of constant gear changes and the car spending most of the time in electric mode and so boosting the efficiency.

At the end of the week the average fuel consumption figure was an amazing 59 MPG. That's not to say that the Prius is for eco-warriors only. The car is willing throughout the whole rev band and we found ourselves going at "surprising" speed with very little effort.

Running Costs

Although the Prius is relatively expensive to buy the running costs are very low when you take into account its efficiency, insurance group of 7, low emissions and road tax and no London congestion charge. In our opinion the pros of this vehicle definitely outweighed the cons by long a way.

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Prius 3