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


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