Toyota Prius + review (2013 onwards) MSN Cars UK

24 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Toyota Prius + review (2013 onwards) MSN Cars UK отключены
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Toyota Prius + review (2013 onwards)

Model: Toyota Prius + T4, £26,495

Bodystyle: Seven-seat MPV

Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol, 98hp @ 5,200rpm, 105lb ft @ 4,000rpm, boosted by hybrid system

What is the Toyota Prius +?

The Toyota Prius + does what it says on the tin: it’s a Toyota Prius with a little bit more: more space, more seats and more clever tech. In a nutshell, Toyota is expanding its successful Prius family and the Prius + (pronounced ‘Plus’) is the larger people carrier iteration of its original, bestselling hybrid car.

None of its rivals can match the clever-clogs hybrid drivetrain of the Toyota

Launched in Britain in 2012, the Toyota Prius + is a seven-seater MPV to compete with the likes of the Ford S-Max and Volkswagen Sharan. However, none of its rivals can match the clever-clogs hybrid drivetrain of the Toyota — its 1.8-litre petrol engine is boosted by a 60kW electric motor, charged by a lithium-ion battery.

Where does the Toyota Prius + fit?

This is the second most expensive hybrid that Toyota sells — at £26,495 in cheapest T4 spec, only the Prius Plug-in is more expensive. We tested it in T Spirit spec, which brings a host of goodies: touchscreen sat-nav, JBL eight-speaker stereo, sunblinds and keyless entry are standard equipment.

There are only two models to choose from and the T4 is nearly as well equipped, coming with the head-up display, clever steering wheel switches which anticipate your touch, cruise control and a panoramic sunroof. All come with Toyota’s five-year warranty. You can consider this a safe choice in terms of reliability.


Is the Toyota Prius + for you?

You should consider a Prius MPV if you need to carry large families around and are worried about your tax bills and emissions. We’ve noticed plenty on duty in London, where its low CO2 rating used to dodge the Congestion Charge until the threshold was lowered to 75g/km in July 2013.

The Prius + offers competitive space for a large seven-seat MPV and is unique; all its rivals can muster are turbodiesels, with no electric motors in sight. However, many users may find their driving style is better served by a modern TDI.

What does the Prius + do well?

It’s spooky to creep around town in whisper-quiet EV zero-emissions mode in a car as big as this

The hybrid operation of the Toyota Prius + is very slick. Toyota has been building petrol-electric cars since 1997 and knows a thing or two about how to juggle the twin demands of petrol and electric operation — and this shows in the polished drivetrain onboard the Prius people carrier. There are no complicated systems to learn: just nudge the stubby little gearlever into Drive and off you pootle, often silently.

It’s rather spooky to creep around town in whisper-quiet EV zero-emissions mode in a car as big as this (a pleasure only available for short bursts while the battery is fully charged).

The digital instruments work well and we particularly like the head-up display, which beams your speed onto the windscreen in your line of sight. A real safety boon that keeps your eyes on the road for longer.


What doesn’t the Toyota Prius + do well?

While there’s no denying the cleverness of the hybrid operation, there is no getting away from the fact the Prius Plus is almost totally devoid of driving fun. This is a car whose pleasures come from its sophisticated engineering in the pursuit of parsimony, not performance.

The steering is completely lifeless with all the response of an arcade game controller. You twirl the wheel and the car turns, but it’s devoid of any feedback, weighting or feel to tell you what the front wheels are doing. There’s the usual mix of whining and soaring revs from the continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox that we’ve come to expect from hybrids, but performance is actually quite brisk for a part-electric car of this size.

We hate the annoying electronic beeping which disturbs the peace every time you reverse

Some passengers found the Prius +’s steeply raked windscreen a little queasy-making, but at least the quarterlights mean you can see out easily. Some MPVs of this ilk have whopping blindspots around the windscreen A-pillars. This is a bright and airy interior, one which feels very Japanese in its choice of materials and space-age, futuristic layout.

What is the Prius + like to live with?

Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

You might think the hybrid’s batteries would gobble up space in the boot floor, but the truth is the Prius + is a very practical, roomy MPV. Middle-row occupants enjoy a completely flat floor, sunblinds, plenty of space in every direction and seats which slide back and forth to juggle room for bodies or bags. Things are slightly more cramped in the third row, but two adults should be able to contort themselves into the sixth and seventh pews for occasional journeys.

Smaller children will be fine.

Practical touches abound: there are cubby holes galore, a pair of sunroofs and not one, but two gloveboxes for stowing all the detritus of family life. The only real glitches are drinks holders which struggle to keep the now-ubiquitous 500ml soft-drinks bottles upright and an incredibly annoying electronic beeping which disturbs the peace every time you reverse. You’ll feel like the local dustbin lorry every time you park.


How green is the Toyota Prius Plus?

The Prius Plus’s party trick is its amazing official fuel consumption and emissions figures. Thanks to part-electric operation, Toyota claims you’ll travel 68.9 miles on every gallon of unleaded you squeeze in the tank, with correspondingly low CO2 figure of 96g/km. To put things in perspective, the most efficient Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi averages 52.3mpg and 139g/km.

That a people carrier of this size emits just 96g/km of CO2 is nothing short of miraculous

The engine cuts out at traffic lights, once warmed up, and you’ll never tire of creeping silently around town on EV mode. Just remember those government figures are somewhat ambitious: we averaged nearer 40mpg in our week with the car, but if driven gingerly you should save more money at the pumps.

Would we buy a Toyota Prius +?

You should consider a Toyota Prius Plus if you need a family car with seven seats but don’t want a soaring tax bill to reflect your full-size choice of wheels. That a people carrier of this size emits just 96g/km of CO2 is nothing short of miraculous and you will benefit every time you renew your tax disc or pay your company car tax bill.

The everyday reality, however, is somewhat different. Like most cars — and especially hybrids — you will rarely match the official claims and a decent turbodiesel from rivals will probably be just as parsimonious in the real world. But as long as the UK tax system obsesses over CO2, a car like the Toyota Prius + actually makes a lot of sense.

Definitely one to consider if you want to transport bodies galore in the most tax-efficient way.

On Bing: see more photos of the Toyota Prius +

Buy a second-hand Toyota on Auto Trader

Read another Toyota review on MSN Cars

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