Thank goodness the 2017 Toyota Prius is no hairy-chested marauder.

Written by on December 13, 2016 in Cars and Chicks, Hybrids - 6 Comments

 

These days, a girl’s practically surrounded by cars that think they’re some kind of marauding beasts. No, really. Is there a vehicle out there whose design language doesn’t include “aggressive,” “muscular,” or “brawny?”

Yes. That would be the 2017 Toyota Prius. Just when it seems all the cars out there are trying to feed into some macho fantasy, which can breed some truly Neanderthal driving behaviour, along comes the redesigned Prius. With no thrusting bulges or nostril-flaring stance, the Prius is downright refreshing to look at. It’s quite sleek and streamlined, designed for maximum aerodynamics, and boasts a reduced drag co-efficient of Cd=0.24. What does that mean in English? Over the week that I drove it, mostly around downtown Toronto, I got about 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres, or 50 mpg. That’s quite an achievement, considering that one day, the readout told me I’d averaged seven kilometres an hour. Welcome to urban living.

Inside, the 2017 Prius was most spacious and accommodating, with about a gazillion ways to adjust the driver’s seat, and all controls within easy reach. Toyota does ergonomics so well! And speaking of controls, the dashboard was bristling with high tech, especially charts, graphs and apps dealing with fuel consumption. I could have spent all week studying the hows, whys and wherefores, even how one trip compared to the other over few days. Of course, I also found time to boogie down to all my favourite Sirius stations on a fabulous six-speaker sound system!

But don’t take any of this to mean the Prius was some kind of slouch in the performance department. The Prius driver is wrongly maligned as being too preoccupied with their recycling and Sierra Club activities to be an alpha-type motorist. Most hard-core gearheads aren’t exactly drawn to eco-conscious, alternatively fuelled vehicles. But that’s changing, with cars like the BMW i8, McLaren P1, and Ferrari LaFerrari. Okay, so they are a little more predatory looking than the Prius.

But it’s precisely because the Prius driver is often perceived as some kind of absent-minded eco-dullard that it was even more fun to race the Queen 501 streetcar; screech into a U-turn on Bay Street; outrun a 5-series on the expressway, and deke past a few surprised construction workers. I mean, they just weren’t expecting that from a Prius! That car did everything I asked it to do, and with more than enough verve and pep. The small turning radius meant that I could do all kinds of turns – so necessary in a city choking on its own development and aging infrastructure, sometimes with more work crews on the road than cars.

One evening I had to drive out to the west end to attend a screening, and sure enough, the traffic was horrendous and the parking even worse. Yet, the Prius and its 121 horsepower handily managed to keep up with, and as mentioned before, even outpace the bad boys. I mean, the look on the Beemer driver’s face when he realized he’d been passed by a Prius, with a woman at the wheel, was priceless.

In fact, the main faults with the Prius were the glaring blind spot in the back – yes, there was a rear view camera and enough ringing, whistling, flashing alerts to wake up a dead man. But you want to be able to do a proper shoulder check during a lane change, and guess what – it’s still the law. So I wound up lowering the rear seat headrests, and doing more than due diligence when backing up or changing lanes. That, and the white plastic console in the front really wouldn’t look much out of place in a men’s bathroom, which is where it belongs.

There’s no question that the Prius is the best-selling hybrid out there, blazing a trail for all other alternatively fuelled vehicles. It started out in 2000 as a modest Toyota Corolla with a “hybrid” badge slapped on it, and was heralded as “Toyota’s pace car for the new millenium.” But it wasn’t until 2003, when it finally took on its now-familiar unique five-door hatchback shape, that Toyota achieved a masterstroke in marketing. When you drove a Prius down the street, you were wearing your environmental consciousness on your sleeve. Everyone who saw you in that car knew that you had spent your hard-earned cash on a vehicle that put climate change before acceleration – that you were a poster child for a healthy planet. That’s why celebrities and movie stars ditched their $250,000 exotic supercars and invested in a humble Toyota, even on the red carpet.

It’s more than a car. It’s a statement about caring.

And these days, that may be just what we need.

 

 

6 Comments on "Thank goodness the 2017 Toyota Prius is no hairy-chested marauder."

  1. Jeri December 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm · Reply

    I would agree that the resigned Prius is sleek and lovely to look at. I would like to own a hybrid car someday, and it will likely be a Prius. Thanks too for a bit of the car’s history. The story of product evolution is always fascinating to me. Happy holidays and see you next year!

  2. Sushmita December 14, 2016 at 9:36 pm · Reply

    My husband loved the redesigned Prius too!
    It was fun when my husband was more into your post than me this time. Thank you for sharing the information dear.

    Sharing it ahead!

  3. Ken Dowell December 14, 2016 at 9:57 pm · Reply

    I drive a Prius (2015) and love it. Am sorry to hear the rear visibility hasn’t gotten any better. And yes, I do enjoy beating cars off the line at a traffic light.

  4. Doreen Pendgracs December 18, 2016 at 7:24 pm · Reply

    We have friends who bought a Buick hybrid and love it. I’ve been driving a Toyota RAV 4 for 9 years and love it. So maybe next year … I’ll marry those 2 loves and get a Toyota hybrid. I love the fact that hybrids have come down in price and that we can help now the environment in a more budget friendly option. Thx for the great post!

  5. William Rusho December 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm · Reply

    thank you for the review. Come in spring I will get a new car, and these reviews will help me decide which one to get. I am on the fence considering which model, and the Prius is one I am considering.

  6. Jeannette Paladino May 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm · Reply

    Very Sleak and attractive design. My husband is looking for a new car, but we can’t afford Prius, hope we will do in future by working hard.

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