The College Driver Road Test 2013 Toyota Prius PlugIn Hybrid

14 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The College Driver Road Test 2013 Toyota Prius PlugIn Hybrid отключены
TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Road Test: 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Toyota has been the hybrid king for the past decade, hitting the 3 million mark in global sales earlier recently. In order to continue that momentum and attract those who want more electric miles in their commute, they developed a plug-in version of the popular Prius.

Our week with the 2013 Prius Plug-In proved no different than most any other. It consisted of a 32 mile round-trip commute to work, a stop at the grocery store some days on the way home and 12 miles of local driving to and from the gym in the evening. We wanted to find out just how much electric range we could squeeze out of this plug-in and how it compares to the original Prius.

First and foremost, the big question everyone wants to know: how many EV miles can the Prius Plug-In travel?

The EPA rates it at 11 miles of all electric range, a number we had no trouble achieving. In fact, we were able to squeeze 14 miles out of the lithium-ion battery mounted under the cargo floor.

Now 14 miles is on the low end compared to other plug-in hybrids, but remember that the Prius Plug-In Hybrid is cheaper than any other EV with a range extender (gas engine) currently on the market. Some electric vehicles can be cheaper with a federal tax credit, but EVs are limited to local driving due to their limited range.

So it comes down to your lifestyle. If you live in an urban environment, the plug-in hybrid would make total sense. Even if you commute a longer distance like I do, you’ll still achieve impressive fuel economy numbers thanks to Toyota’a brilliant Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system.

And impressive numbers we achieved indeed. On mild day with a bit of A/C use and a full charge before we left the house, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid returned 69 MPG! That makes the Prius an excellent value if fuel economy is your number one priority.

Of course braking is also just as important as MPGs, and the Prius Plug-In with all of its technical wizardry manages to return smooth, controlled braking no matter what’s spinning the front wheels.

Charging time is another critical component of the plug-in equation, and Toyota engineers narrowed it down to just under three hours for a full charge on your standard 120 outlet. Call an electrician and upgrade to a 240V charger, and that time gets cut in half. Now that’s quick.

We didn’t have the opportunity to take the Prius Plug-In Hybrid on a long road trip, but the EPA rates it with 49 MPG on the highway, an impressive number by hybrid-only standards.

Tech All Around

With a powertrain that operates via electrons, gasoline combustion or both and on-board computers thinking thousands of times per second, the driver is often unaware of the complexity of the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The only hint is the energy flow diagram built into the 6.1-inch touchscreen. It shows when the wheels are being driven by electricity only, electric and gas, and gas only.

The display audio system as Toyota refers to it offers HD and satellite radio, two sources that alone provide hours of entertainment; Bluetooth streaming audio, USB and a 3.5-mm input jack round out the media input list for a truly unlimited listening experience. A back-up camera is also standard.

Storage space is plentiful all around, though legroom in the back can get a bit tight for a passenger above 6 feet tall; three smaller adults or children will have no problem.

The lighter but more energy dense lithium-ion battery pack didn’t take a toll on cargo room or seating capacity, a very positive component of living with a plug-in hybrid.

TheCD’s Take

Take the 50+ MPG Prius, change its battery pack to a more energy-dense chemistry, add a more powerful electric motor and throw in a charging port on the passenger-side rear, and you have the 2013 Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

The result is an even more efficient hybrid that squeezes out more MPGs and even better, use the gas engine less or not at all if your lifestyle allows it. With a starting price of $32,000 plus delivery and fees, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid is an excellent value.

TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid
TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid
TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid
TOYOTA Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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