Feeds
95%
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car review

A huge leap forward for the world's most popular hybrid

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Cabin cruise

The only clues in the cabin to the increased electric range are the Eco, HV/EV and City EV buttons that sit in the same place as the Power, Eco and EV buttons on the standard model. On the exterior, some very subtle styling changes and new badges aside, it’s only the cover for the charge socket with its plug emblem that gives the game away.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

EV or Hybrid? Take your pick

Assuming the battery has enough charge, at any time the HV/EV button lets you cycle between Hybrid and Electric vehicle modes. In the former, the Plug-in Prius behaves much like the standard car, albeit one that’s been at the steroids with the electric motor assisting the petrol engine and allowing for some limited electric-only running. In EV mode the new Prius drives much like a Nissan Leaf or Vauxhall Ampera with ample electric poke available to keep up with urban and suburban traffic.

On the road, I found that EV mode could be pushed to 59mph before the petrol engine fired up, 8mph better than Toyota's claim. The range prediction was bang on though. On three successive full-charge runs the car fell out of EV mode after 15.1, 14.6 and 16.2 miles. If you charge the battery from the mains and then drive off in hybrid mode, the indicated EV capacity is held in reserve until activated. This means you can charge up at home, drive to your destination and then engage EV mode when you get there.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

Battery at the back but drive at the front

Indeed, that’s exactly what I did on a trip to Wakefield. I held off the EV charge until I reached the outskirts of the town centre. I then engaged City EV mode whilst driving around town, nearly running a few of the locals over in the Trinity Walk car park, due to my silent approach. With City EV, you can accelerate more aggressively for short periods too. For instance, pulling away from traffic lights without the petrol engine firing up. Otherwise it’s the same as EV mode, however, the electric motor does have to be up to temperature before you can select it.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

Power monitor

The Eco setting smoothes out the throttle response and dials back the air conditioning – all in the name of eking an extra mile or two from each gallon or kWh – and operates in EV, City EV and Hybrid modes. I suspect most drivers will leave their Plug-in in Eco unless in an almighty hurry or driving in the tropics. Once the EV charge from the mains is exhausted, theoretically, it can be replenished by the engine and regenerative brakes but, in my experience, only by a small amount. A 20 mile run added just over a mile to the indicated EV range, so any meaningful contribution would require a long and preferably downhill journey.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid car

EV system indicator

To help the driver make sense of all this EV/HV malarkey, the battery power indicator has two forms – a solid graphic showing the EV charge and then a segmented graphic showing hybrid charge. As soon as the EV battery graphic hits empty, it swaps to the hybrid battery graphic showing full. Even in hybrid mode though you will get more electric-only driving out of the Plug-in than the regular Prius, owing to its beefier lithium-ion battery. The best I managed in hybrid mode was 4 miles at speeds up to 40mph, significantly further and faster than the standard car is capable of.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.