Toyota Prius T Spirit Hybrid 1.8 14 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Fancy saving the planet? This is the car for you


    The self-righteous Hollywood celebs who have embraced the ultra-green Toyota Prius as one of their own got their sequins in quite a stooshie when questions were raised about the brakes on their inverted snobbery status symbols. “I want to save the world … but I don’t want to take any risks with my personal well-being,” could have been their collective cry.

    In the end the whole brake performance issue of the Prius appears to have been little more than a sensationalised storm in a safety-obsessed society. How much damage it has done to the Prius’ reputation, and indeed Toyota in the long term, remains to be seen. The third generation of the innovative hybrid is without doubt an interesting car and continues the theme of offering a clear conscience to environmentalists who still want the convenience of a car.

    It feels more secure on the road than the outgoing model

    On the road

    The latest version has tidied up some minor design issues and interior features but most dramatically it has introduced changes in the power system which, without going into technical details, means it is even more efficient and economical with more than 70mpg on the combined cycle. Its low CO2 of 92 means there’s no road tax, or if you’re driving it in London, Congestion Charge either. It is however, far from being a cheap runaround to buy. The 1.8 litre T Spirit test model costs £22,600 and it will be interesting to see the long term running costs of such a complex piece of kit.

    It feels more secure on the road than the outgoing model with better balance, a result of the improved weight distribution around the car. Pulling away from start and at speeds up to 44mph, it uses just its silent electric motor, unless extra power is needed in which case the petrol engine kicks in. It takes a little getting used to. I’d had the car for a couple of days and spent several minutes each time waiting for the engine to start only to realise that all I had to do was select drive and the electric motor would send me on my way.

    Comfort & Safety

    It is comfortable and stylish inside with lots of dials and moving images to show where the power is coming from at any one time. It’s clearer than the previous model and surprisingly it does make you drive more economically; or at least it makes more aware of how you are driving and the effect on consumption. On the safety front, Toyota say there have been none of the reported braking problems in the UK or Europe and certainly I found no evidence of anything other than first class technical performance on every front … which is what we’ve come to expect from Toyotas over many years.

    Should I buy one?

    If you’re worried about the planet then this is the car for you. But if you’re that worried, stop driving altogether and buy a new bike.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £22,610 / £22,610
    Engine / Power: 1798cc 16v hybrid / 98bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 10.4secs, Max 110mph
    How big/heavy?: H1490mm  W1745mm  L4460mm / 1420kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 70.6mpg / CO2 92g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 7 / Band A, £0
    Alternatives: Honda Insight

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder