Replacing the Prius…

So the Prius has got 58,905 miles on the clock and has to go back at 60,000. What to do, what to do…?

I was recently asked by someone on Facebook if I could recommend the Prius as a company car. So many Facebook folk had simply laughed and poured scorn on the idea, but then they had never owned on. Most had never sat in one. At least I could offer some real-world insight (oops, nod to the cmpetition from Honda). So, brief summation, good and bad.

Firstly, I didn’t get the super high mileage that was advertised – 65mpg – but then I never have got the rated economy on any car I’ve run. I fear I’m an anorak and spreadsheet my fuel use, so I can tell you with utter conviction that rather than 65mpg I’ve got over fifty miles per gallon on average since day one, and my last ten fills average 54mpg. I do a lot of motoway miles, by the way. Mostly with cruise control at 77mph. Now, folk will crow and tell you that they get fifty from their [insert your preferred wagon here], but when asked no-one can prove it beyond the awful inaccuracy of the trip computer. They are all diesels too, and this is petrol, and have you noticed the pump prices are drifting apart again right now? The new third-gen Prius is advertised as capable of 72mpg and a work colleague is getting mid-sixties.

This Prius is not gutless, but if you are any sort of a petrol-head you’d disagree. Pushed, 0-60 is the same as my old 2.0 diesel 307SW at about ten seconds. Running, even on motorways, is reasonably quiet but if you accelerate hard the engine goes straight to sewing machine mode as it chooses the most effective rpm. On the other hand, at slow speeds it is curiously silent and of course is likewise silent at the traffic lights – to the point you can listen to other cars stereos and even passenger conversations as they speak over their own engine noise! The third-gen Prius up’s the engine from 1500cc to 1.8 litre, which apparently makes motorway work more economical.

Folk whitter on about the small boot size, assuming for some reason that the boot is where the batteries are – they’re under the rear seats. The boot in fact comes in several layers – under the tonneau cover is a large enough boot for three good sized suitcases. Beneath that is a plastic boot big enough to take my three laptops with ease, as well as the toolkit, red triangle and fire extinguisher etc. And finally, under all that is the space-saver wheel. Now admittedly, this does make it hard if you get a puncture when fully loaded, but that has seldom happened to me.

Others have commented on the recent Toyota recalls, but if you look to the actual government recall lists you’ll find every manufacturer on there. Toyota was noticeable only by having so few recalls to date.

The killer is of course the company car tavable benfit, which is miserly. While the government maintains the tax advantage on low emission vehicles (89g/km… and this is a five seater able to fit adults into every seat remember) then the car is about a third cheaper to me than any other comparable vehicle (I’m not at liberty to run my own vehicle for work and have to lease a car on the three-year-or-60,000-miles system).

Finally, over the thirty months and 60,000 miles I’ve not had one failure of the car aside from punctures. It’s been wonderfully relaxing driving an automatic – if a tad boring. When it snowed earlier this year and all the BMW drivers phoned in car-sick the Prius sailed through. In fact I tried on a private road to make it go daft in the snow and it simply wouldn’t. I even did an emergency brake manouver in the snow while cornering at speed, and it just slowed to a stop in very good order. Only once did I make it beep at me!

So yes, I’m getting rid of the Prius… I’ve ordered another Prius.

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