By Jay Khan, November 3, 2014
Model spec: Toyota Prius+ T Spirit Price: £29,945.00 Engine: 1.8 4-cyl Petrol/Hybrid
BHP / Torque: 134 / 142 Max Speed: 103 CO2: g/km 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds
Economy/Range: 35mpg combined Tax: £/year
“Saving the world and fuel is the hippy’s only concern which equates to 48mpg on a combined cycle. The Prius+ with its dual, hybrid technology comes in at nearly 30k, two cars for the price of one, that means its both cheap and expensive because there are more fuel efficient and cheaper cars out there, but few as clean.”The interior cargo space is more than 50% larger than the Prius Hatchback, providing 970 L more cargo space behind the rear seats, it also offers more leg room, and more head height. The third row of seats are capable of taking an adults girth but leg room and head room is so tight its clearly a space designed for young children. Standard cargo space is 784 litre’s with five seats in place, it decrease’s to 284 litre’s with all seven seats in place but with the rear seats folded flat overall cargo space increases to 1,750 litre’s. The Prius+ features the same Hybrid Synergy Drive as its hatchback sibling, its powered by a 1.8 litre, 134bhp, 142 Nm 4 cylinder petrol engine. Two electric motors produce a combined power output of 81bhp and 207 NM of torque and are powered by Lithium-ion batteries which are continually recharged every time you coast, brake or accelerate. For all of the impressive and complex technology the Prius+ houses it is as easy to drive as conventional car. The electric drive engages at speeds of up too 30mph, hit an incline though and the petrol engine effortless cuts in to assist, the two systems are always continuously working together to provide optimal drive. The CVT gearbox is perhaps a weak point, in simple terms the transmission acts like one single gearbox ratio. Hit the gas pedal hard and the engine revs high, screaming in self pity and then a total absence of torque follows, that feeling of power under acceleration, its like you are floating in a balloon on a gentle breeze. The Prius+ also features driving modes, EV, Normal and Power and its best to keep things in ‘Power’ as the other mode’s feel sluggish especially darting in and out of busy junctions. Because the Prius+ is a larger vehicle and able to carry greater load capacities, the suspension was redesigned to improve handling and ride quality and on both accounts it performs very well. Its balanced when cornering, at moderate speeds, with no dramatic transfer of weight from one side to the other causing sudden roll or slip, indeed its deceptively good fun to drive and adequately relaxing over long journeys, not that it will matter to the hippy. Saving the world and fuel is the hippy’s only concern which equates to 48mpg on a combined cycle. The Prius+ with its dual, hybrid technology comes in at nearly 30k, two cars for the price of one, that means its both cheap and expensive because there are more fuel efficient and cheaper cars out there, but few as clean. However the limiting performance of the CVT gearbox mean’s the Prius+ remains impressively frustrating.