First Drive: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Optional solar roof provides additional power source to extend the EV driving range – a world first

Optional solar roof provides additional power source to extend the EV driving range – a world first

With 283mpg and just 22g/km of CO2 – the new Prius Plug-in promises the best figures yet achieved by any PHEV writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? A plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV)  is essentially a regular hybrid that uses a combination of a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor to increase fuel economy. Unlike a regular hybrid it can be plugged in and recharged when not in use but also can charge up its battery on the go.

With the Prius Plug-in you effectively have an electric car for the city with all the zero emission benefits and a hybrid for motorways and long distance.

First impressions of the new Toyota Prius plug-in?  The new Plug-in is certainly an eye catching car and while it looks almost identical to the regular Prius look closely and you will spot the distinguishing LED adaptive headlights to the front along with a different grille and bumper.  In the back  a reshaped bumper and  horizontal rear light signature are the most striking distinctions.

What about the interior?  Inside it’s all very familiar Prius and feels  modern with a clean and minimalist dash that includes a large, 8” infotainment screen, a head-up display and a rear-view parking camera.  Space is good in the front but due to the larger batter the Plug in is a strictly four seater only plus the boot space is smaller at only 360 litres compared to 500 litres in the regular version.

Engine choice? Powering the Plug-in version is the same 1.8-litre petrol engine from the regular Prius so it can be driven over long distances as a hybrid. There are also two electric motors so you can also drive it in pure electric mode for about 30 miles which for many people means you could get to work or collect the kids from school without using any fuel. If you want to charge it, it takes about two hours with a fast charge connector and a little over 3 hours using a regular household socket.

Toyota Prius plug-in on road?  On the road the new Prius Plug-in certainly rewards  gentle relaxing driving and there is barely a hint of noise inside the cabin as you cruise along gently. There is also very good cabin insulation that keeps you cocooned nicely. The downside is when you accelerate harshly, overtaking for example, there is a very coarse whine to contend with. As you would expect from a hybrid, there are many ways to drive Normal, Eco and Power and regardless of how you drive it and what mode you select it is impressively economical.

How much? The new Prius Plug-in has on-the-road prices of £31,695 for the Business Edition Plus model (£33,195 with the solar roof option) and £33,895 for the Excel. Customers buying a new Prius Plug-in can take advantage of the UK Government’s plug-in car grant, which provides £2,500 towards the vehicle purchase cost.

How safe?  The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid  features a host of active and passive safety  including Full-Speed Adaptive Cruise Control which can detect a change in distance to the car in front and causes the Prius Plug-in Hybrid to either slow, come to a complete standstill or accelerate smoothly back to its pre-selected cruising speed, once traffic speed increases. Other features include automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering control. Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

What are my options? The new Prius Plug-in is available in the UK in two specifications – Business Edition Plus and Excel.The Business Edition Plus specification includes the Toyota Touch 2 with Go touchscreen multimedia and navigation system, heated, auto-dimming door mirrors with an automatic retracting function, rear view camera, dusk-sensing LED headlights, colour head-up display, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio with DAB reception and heated front seats. Upgrade to Excel to adds rain-sensing wipers, Simple Intelligent Park Assist and front and rear parking sensors, a 10-speaker JBL premium audio system, voice recognition control for the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia and navigation system and leather upholstery.

3 words to describe the Toyota Prius plug-in?  Flexible; Economical; Relaxing

 

For more information check out Toyota.co.uk, the Toyota UK Facebook page or follow Toyota Uk on twitter

 

Geraldine Herbert

19th March, 2017

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of goodhousekeeing.co.uk. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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