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Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

Model/Engine size: 1.8 VVT-I T3
Fuel: Petrol Electric Hybrid
Fuel economy combined: 72.4 mpg

The Toyota Prius has super-low emissions of just 89 g/km CO2 thanks to its petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain.

The third generation Toyota Prius is a highly impressive car, and it is only pipped to the two top spots because the BMW 320d and Golf BlueMotion are more direct driver’s cars compared to the Prius. The Prius’s CVT transmission is a key factor in its slightly dulled responses, however this can also be a plus point for people who are happy to waft along efficiently rather than wanting a sharper driver’s tool.

Toyota has dominated the hybrid market with the Prius for over a decade; they’ve now got to the stage where they know how to make the hybrid bits work and they’re now able to refine everything else. The third generation Prius promises to be more rounded, but does it deliver?

Whilst we are in the business of promoting green cars, and the Prius has become the poster child for not just hybrids but the whole green car market, it has never been a driver’s car. The Prius is a technical marvel but the 2nd generation model was certainly devoid of driver engagement.

The 3rd generation is much more engaging and whilst it hasn’t mutated into a hot hatch the dynamics are no longer a reason not to buy it.

Whilst the styling is very evolutionary there are some big changes under the skin. The engine size increases to 1.8 litres to deliver better high speed fuel consumption and better performance. The electric motor is also 20% more powerful, 90% of the hybrid components have been optimised, and the
drag coefficient is down to 0.25.

The 3rd generation delivers more performance, more fun, more space, and outstanding CO2 emissions. The emissions that are so bad for local air quality, such as NOx, are also much lower than diesels. It is a very persuasive package. The only downside is that it isn’t any cheaper.

Fuel economy extra urban: 76.4 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 72.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 89 g/km
Green rating: VED band A – first year £0
Weight: 1370 Kg
Company car tax liability (2010/11): 10%
Price: £19,505 (From £19,505 to £22,610)
Insurance group: 6
Power: 98 bhp (petrol) 80 bhp (electric) system
134 bhp system 134 bhp
Max speed: 112 mph
0-62mph: 10.4 seconds