Test drive 2012 Toyota Prius Plugin Phoenix Auto Review Examiner com

12 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Test drive 2012 Toyota Prius Plugin Phoenix Auto Review Examiner com отключены
Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

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We tested a sparkling new Clearwater Blue Metallic 2012 Prius PHV this week to see what all the hubbub was about. We plugged it in for a charge each night and drove it in our daily slog around town and on the highway, finishing up with a tidy 61.5 mpg average for the week. Not bad.

The concept is simple. You plug it in for a 3 hour charge on your 120V outlet which gives you about 12 miles of electric-vehicle (EV) range at speeds up to 62 mph. Once that range is depleted the PHV goes back in to a normal Toyota Prius hybrid driving mode.

If it happens your daily round about fits into the 12 mile range, then you can conceivably drive the PHV as an EV almost infinitely provided you keep it plugged in when parked. The EPA rates it at 95 mpge on all-electric mode and 50 mpg combined city/highway in hybrid only mode. Depending on your mix of both modes you can see actual mpg easily up into the 80’s and 90’s.

The most expensive Prius, the PHV starts out at $32,000. Our Prius PHV Advanced model is the top of the line, loaded with every imaginable option which brought the sticker price to a stratospheric $40,285 including destination.


Before you stop reading due to sticker shock, keep in mind that the Advanced trim grade comes with the top end navigation and audio system from the JBL Greenline which includes Toyota’s Entune infotainment interface for your smart phone. Included also is a rich SofTex synthetic leather interior with heated seats, high tech auto leveling LED headlamps with cleaning nozzles, and a futuristic head-up display in the dash.

Also part of the Advanced trim package are fog lights and an auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink. A key feature we liked was a very helpful dynamic radar cruise control system that automatically speed compensates when you get stuck in traffic. We loved it on the 101 freeway at rush hour, every car should come with this.

The monotone charcoal interior was a richly inviting place to be with the SofTex synthetic leather. While we would have liked the genuine article in a car costing $40,000, it only lacked the aroma that cowhide gives. The heated seats were comfortable and power adjustable for the driver which was a welcome feature.

In day to day driving the PHV drives very much like any Toyota Prius. In EV mode the car is smooth and quiet with a reasonable amount of power on tap. The gasoline engine still fires up occasionally in cases where you have a lot of accessories on or you mash the accelerator hard.

As it’s already in the 100 degree range here in Phoenix in April, our air-conditioning was on at all times, sometimes prompting the gas engine to run while we were stopped.

The 12 mile EV range does vary depending on your driving situations. In town it lasts longer because you gain power back through regenerative braking. On the highway it burns off quickly as faster speed takes more power.

Additionally, the more accessories you use like the air-conditioning, headlights or the stereo you lose range too.

We did seem to think the regenerative braking sounds were a bit louder than in standard Prius model’s we’ve rested in the past. In hybrid mode the PHV exhibits the same engine noise and roughness you get during power transitions that come with the standard hybrid model.

Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

The ride and handling character of the Prius has never been called sporting or fun to drive. With the PHV the same applies with slow steering and a chassis that doesn’t reward you for trying to drive spiritedly. While the ride is solid and generally predictable, this car isn’t designed to satisfy your enthusiastic driving senses.

Unlike the regular Prius which offers a plus one tire and wheel upgrade, the PHV comes only with 15” alloy wheels and low rolling resistance P195/65R15 tires.

The question still remains. Is it worth it? The answer of course depends on what’s important to you. Does it feel like a $40,000 car should? Not really.

For this kind of money your choices range well into the German car realm and even to the Lexus CT-200h hybrid which gives you close to the same efficiency in a much more luxurious package.

If you’re measuring its worth as a financial argument you have to do the math on how its efficiency saves you money versus what kind of car you would have otherwise purchased. Spread sheeting this out against a $14,115 Toyota Yaris won’t likely make it win the financially prudent argument unless you plan to own it for 10 years.

You can also compare the Toyota Prius PHV with the Chevrolet Volt which while comes from a different engineering direction, arrives in nearly the same place. Pricing is similar and they both plug-in, run on electricity, then onto gasoline power.

If you want a bold statement about your lifestyle is any price too dear? The bottom line is that the 2012 Prius PHV is a car that will have a strong value to a certain buyer out there, a buyer to which many of its superficial drawbacks won’t be of issue to.

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