Toyota Prius – The Consumption Challenge

The Toyota Prius Consumption Challenge

When mentioning hybrid vehicles the first car that still springs to my mind is the Toyota Prius. The fact is that hybrid technology has been around since 1665 with a priest and an astronomer at the forefront, even Austrian born Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had a go at creating a hybrid. Over the years Toyota has done their research and improved the hybrid technology, which has been cleverly integrated into the Prius.

The most obvious and important feature is the improved efficiency of the new power plant over the old. Toyota has taken it a step further with some additional “earth friendly” features. Let’s start with the solar sunroof, which helps keep the car cool when parked in the hot African sun. To make the vehicle even cooler you can use the immobilizer remote to switch the air conditioning on before getting into the vehicle. Love that feature.

Driving the Prius made me feel like I was doing something for the environment, but was I? A challenge was set by Toyota on twitter to get the vehicle to 4.2 l\100km as claimed by them. After clearing the trip I was ready for the challenge. I set off on electric or EV mode. A few kilometers in, I was on 3.2 and thinking this might be possible. Freewheeling as much as possible and using the regenerative braking system I managed to keep the batteries at full capacity. Being very frugal on the accelerator, trying to use the EV mode as much as possible, by the time I reached the half way mark of my 20km journey, the batteries where empty. That’s when the petrol motor kicked in. I had to use Eco mode, which meant a combination of the electric, and petrol engine. This did not help the consumption, but at the end of the day when I reached my destination I had managed to get 3.8 l\100km. To achieve 3.8 was no easy feat though, I had to select my route carefully and drive at about 40 when not freewheeling. So yes the figures are achievable, however if you trying to keep up with the flow of Joburg traffic it makes it a bit difficult.
On average my consumption was around the 5.0 to 5.5 l\100km under normal driving conditions in traffic traveling from Nortcliff to Sandton every day. That’s not bad considering it’s a 1.8 petrol however, this got me thinking with all this great technology why not run a smaller turbo diesel or petrol motor for better consumption? The other reason would be for power on the open road, the engine sounds like its straining when you need to overtake or go up a hill, which again does not help with consumption.

On the positive side, the Toyota Prius is very surprising when it comes to space. We managed to get the following in comfortably: two bags of organic fertilizer and a few plants, four shopping bags and a pram, two kids and the wife ready to direct traffic and still had space for the aunt in the middle. With the car loaded the drive home was still very comfortable.

The Prius definitely has its place as one of the greats when it comes to the advancement in hybrid technology, but at R381 100,00 it’s a bit heavy on the pocket. There are other options out there if you are looking to save fuel. The one that stands out for me with similar consumption figures would be the VW Golf Blue Motion 1.6 TDI priced at R284 000,00. 

The Toyota Prius is still a technological masterpiece showing off how far the world has come in hybrid technology and efficient motoring. But it's no longer alone. 

Follow me on Twitter @Weso506

BMW 116i 3-door Sport Line

BMW 116i SPort Line Car Review
BMW 116i Sport Line

I drove the old 1 series BMW 5-door a few years ago and I really hated it. The overall design was flawed in that everything seemed to be packaged with the lack of space in mind. The rear was cramped, as was the boot and even the front was cosier than I would expect from BMW’s first foray into hatchback-land. I liked the departure from traditional hatchback styling and I liked that it was rear wheel drive but that was it really.

Taking delivery of the new 116i Sport Line 3-door model, I wasn’t going to make the same comparisons of space. I was going to judge this Crimson Red 3-door hatch on its own merits, of which it has plenty.

First off, it looks fantastic. I love the unmistakeable ‘waistline’ that extends from the rear tail light clusters all the way to the fenders. I also love the double spoke 18 inchers that give the car its sporty presence. If you don’t know, BMW offers the new 1 series in either Urban Line; Sport Line & M-Sport Line packages. The Urban line is supposedly more metropolitan and offers exterior aesthetic options such as white mirror caps, white slats in the grille, different wheel options and more trendy body colours from which to choose. The interior options also include similar optional appointments and I assume this Urban Line package appeals more to art directors and food stylists than people like me. I am not a big fan of the Urban Line package but what is great about the options is that it gives the 1- series a broader appeal which is great for people like you and me...and the art directors.

Exterior Styling appointments on the Sport Line 

If you’re in it for the love of the drive, then this entry-level 1 series won’t disappoint. It’s purposeful and dynamic and produces 100kW from the 1,6 TwinPower Turbo unit. That’s the same power as my Peugeot 307 but it’s so much faster. (Yes, we matched them up). It’s also so much more fun and a genuinely thrilling drive. The steering is perfectly weighted as is the solid gearshift action and the engine in Sport mode feels strong and aurally exciting. The BMW 50:50 weight distribution and the rear-wheel drive make swift changes of direction a lot of fun particularly in Sport mode. I’ve come to expect this level of driver-joy from BMW but to experience it from a 116i entry level car is extraordinary.

18 inch double spoke alloys create a sport, purposeful presence

Is it fuel efficient? Is it considerate towards our environment? I am not best suited to say but it continues BMW’s Efficient Driving Dynamics thinking with Brake Energy Regeneration; Start/Stop system and ECO pro mode. Driving with this in mind, I managed to do 7,6l/100km after 220km of driving in urban Johannesburg which is really good considering I wasn’t testing this car solely based on its fuel consumption.

The BMW 1 series is what the marketers at BMW would use to lure younger buyers to the brand and then hopefully keep them brand loyal and track them into bigger and more expensive Beemers as the years roll on. I’ve never met any more brand loyal people than BMW drivers so what they’ve managed to do with this new 116i Sport Line is brilliant. It’s 100% BMW and the Sheer Driving Pleasure motto is completely fitting for this car in the same way that it is for a BMW Z4. You can also buy a new 1 series according to a host of options so that the car you end up in is exactly you. So there’s many reasons to visit a BMW dealer to talk about this car.

Sport Line / Urban Line M135i 116i
In BMW fashion interior appointments are functional and simple
The base list price for this particular model is R283,000 but you could spec this car to cost more than R400,000 if you wanted absolutely everything on the options list. The car I drove was specced with niceties like Lane Departure Warning, the BMW Professional SatNav package and reversing camera.

I really didn’t like the first 1 series but I really do like this one. It looks the part, plays the part and in typical BMW style it does so in impeccable fashion. I haven’t driven the new M135i that everyone is raving about but so far, I would say this 116i Sport Line is possibly the best value car in the range.

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