We have been driving the Toyota Prius Plug in now for over a month. Lent to us for six weeks we are thrilled that Toyota have agreed to let us have it for a few weeks longer because we had been trying to come up with ways to keep it for good. Like moving house. Hiding it behind the sofa and denying we ever had it. Cutting out Toyota labels and attaching them to my A class in the hope Toyota wouldn’t notice when they came to collect it.
Suffice to say we have loved it so far and I am seriously considering trading in my A Class Merc for one. Hell we even considered selling Mr B’s CLS. It goes beyond the fuel savings we have made. And yes, we really have made savings. Whilst doing school runs I have halved my fuel bill. Halved. That is a saving of nearly £80 a month.
Over the past few weeks whilst I have been pottering about locally I haven’t spent a penny on petrol. Not one. I have plugged the car in, charged the battery for a few pence and only had to use that. The fuel gauge tells me that this amounts to 1000mpg, which staggers me. I can do 15 miles on this separate battery before I have to charge it up again.
Dropping E at the train station
Popping in to see granny
Nipping off to see a friend for lunch.
All done without the need for petrol. And for mere pennies.
Longer journeys have seen the hybrid engine doing what it does and charging the battery as and when the car brakes. So we haven’t had to worry about the car not being able to get us home again, there has been a petrol engine under the bonnet being charged and giving us greater fuel economy.
But beyond that there are lots of other reasons why I love this car. Ten in fact so here goes, in no particular order:
- The boot is huge. One of my initial worries with having a car with a large battery and a normal engine was that all that kit has to go somewhere so where would that leave my shopping? Would I be able to get a week’s worth of shopping for four of us in there. Or indeed Mr B’s bike for the last part of his commute to work in London after he has parked the car. Admittedly the back seats are flat but this is still far bigger than the boot on my car:
- The car is often silent. When not using the petrol engine the car makes no sound. So sitting at the traffic lights you don’t hear the car but can listen to the birds sing. It does mean that you can often feel like you are creeping up on cyclists, particularly those with ipods plugged into their ears so you do have to be aware of that. But there is something about sitting about traffic lights, or a junction and pulling away silently that really appeals to me!
- This also means there are no emissions when you sit idling. This became VERY apparent to us when we were on the ferry coming back from France. You know that moment when the ferry doors open and everybody turns on their engine, despite being told not to? And then all you can hear are engines and the accompanying waft of fumes? Well not us. How smug were we as we sat there with the engine on so we could charge our phones etc, knowing we weren’t making any noise or any pollution.
- It is keyless. Yes my friend. Keyless. The key can sit in your pocket or in your handbag and will operate the central locking just by being near the car. Do you have any idea how genius that is when you have handfuls of shopping? Or a handbag like mine that is a bottomless pit of till receipts and bits of paper from supermarkets telling me I have saved 2p on my shopping? Genius. It can stay in the bottom of your bag and you can still operate the car.
- The sat nav for a couple of reasons is definitely on my “reasons why I love it” list. When approaching junctions on motorways it shows on the sat nav the signs, and the one you need to follow, is brighter, the alternative is greyed out. It makes it very simple, in a glance to see exactly where you should be going. And also it is pre loaded with European maps. So when your teenager is bored whilst sitting in a car park in France he can programme the car to take you to the furthest point in Europe, that happens to be in Russia. A distance of nearly 8000 kms. And then not tell your other half when he gets back in the car and thinks the sat nav is just programmed to take us back to our holiday cottage.
- I don’t think I would ever tire of plugging it in. The idea of being able to plug a car into a charging point and charging up a battery just makes me chuckle. I love it. Not only whilst at home, but whilst out and about. There are public charging points all over the country, albeit not many are free of charge (no pun intended) unless at a service station but we do have some nearby that are. Charging up your car whilst you shop, or nip into the services for a bit to eat or a wee. Or just whilst the car sits on the drive. I see this out of the kitchen window and it makes me smile.
- The space inside the car. It really is like a TARDIS. Four of us went to France in it this summer and managed to get all our kit in the boot, leaving the car completely empty. Stacks of leg room and plenty of space for the teens in the back. We have looked at so many cars that purport to be family saloons yet the rear seat is really two seats and a hump in the middle. This car comfortably accommodated three teens without anybody moaning about a lack of elbow room.
- Talking of teens, it comes with more than one charging point for a USB cable. This might not be high on your list when buying a car but let me tell you, it should be. When you all get back in with phones and tablets, one cigarette lighter in the front is not going to placate teens in the back with a standard length phone cable. This car has points in the middle arm rest in the front, meaning teens can use that one without any issue.
- It has a great rear view camera when reversing. It doesn’t have parking sensors but to be honest you don’t need them with a great camera to help you. I must admit I don’t use it for the whole manoeuvre as I prefer to see in real time what I am looking at but when I need to know how close to the fence I am, or the bumper of the car behind it is a godsend. And our bumpers are all still intact.
- It is just a great car to drive. It handles brilliantly, hugs the road, is comfy on long journeys and just works as a family car. If you had to put car seats in for smaller children the doors open sufficiently wide enough to let you do that without breaking your back. And if it is just the two of you it doesn’t feel an enormous family car that is too big. On so many levels as a family car it ticks all the boxes.
Now I just need to get our garage cleared so I can hide this one in at the end of the month so we can keep it.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
We have been loaned this car for a few weeks to try it out and see how much we like driving a car with lower emissions. There are a few bloggers all doing the same thing with a different car each. You can find their posts here:
- Juggle Mum is enjoying the Vauxhall Ampera
- Mari’s World has tested the BMW i3
- Actually Mummy is in the Renault Zoe and
- Geek Mummy is trialling the Nissan Leaf.