Prognostications and other thoughts

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Toyota Prius!

So my wife has a big ole '98 Land Cruiser. It's great for our 3-year old, camping trips, and the like. But it gets 13 mpg. Last week, the ignition switch (where you stick the key) simply broke.

In any case, finding the parts would take a week, so Toyota 101 gave me a Prius as a loaner. Talk about pleasantly surprised.

Functionally, it is incredible. Huge back seat, plenty of leg room, room for baby seat. Fairly useful trunk, though not huge. Very airy, open feeling in the front. Gas mileage is supposed to be ~50mph, but i was getting 37 or so. Still, not bad.

What they did though that makes it remarkable is to change the paradigm of what you know as a car.
- there is no key, only a remote. You simply need to have it in the car; wear it around your neck on a lanyard, for instance
- get in, put your foot on the brake and hit the START button. The electric motor turns on instantly but silently. The dash tells you "ready". Pull the shift lever into R or F and you are ready to go.
- the dash. it sweeps away from you "way out there". Different than normal cars. No tach, but all the info you need to know
- there is also a color touchscreen that shows you if the electric motor is running or being recharged and if the gas engine is in use or not. Plus all the HVAC controls are managed through the screen. Very different but cool.
Check out the engine(s):

Driving it?
Sure it's a little gutless, but there is plenty of power for hills. And because it so aerodynamic-there is little wind noise. I hit 104 in this thing almost unknowingly. It could handle a bit better-wanders on the freeway a bit, but otherwise very pleasant. Also, when you are driving one, you start to notice how many there are on the road. Pretty cool.

In a word, I looked forward to driving it each time. That's the mark of a great car.

PS-the big news about a potential recall for them stalling unexpectedly hit the press on the last day I was using it. Amazing how so many people knew about it.


  • 104? Easy there speed racer.

    By Anonymous Clark, at 7:04 AM  

  • The neighbor across the street has one and is getting about the same mileage. Kind of a cool car, but I think you could probably do better (i.e., lower price point with about the same mileage with another brand).


    By Blogger Johan, at 4:17 PM  

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