I spent last week going through my daily routine of dropping off kiddos at school, heading to work, and driving home- all without leaving Oak Park, of course- behind the wheel of a Crush Blue 2017 Toyota Prius Two Eco. I did this in order to gain a bit more perspective on how a modern Toyota Prius works and feels in every day life, compared to the first and second-gen Priuses (http://gas2.org/2011/02/22/prius-prius-prii/Prii?) we’ve owned and even the smaller and larger Prius variants I’ve had so much fun reviewing in recent years. I’m doing all this because the Toyota Prius will reach a major milestone this December: the 20th anniversary of the very first Toyota Prius sold.

Are you surprised? Despite being a bit more up-to-date on these thing than the average bear (or, believing myself to be, anyway), I’ll admit that the twenty year anniversary of the Toyota Prius snuck up on me- but that’s its own article. This article is exactly what it says on the tin: a quick review of what it’s like to live and work with this latest hybrid original.

Driving the latest Prius is just like driving our last two, really. In fairly relaxed, urban driving around Oak Park, IL, the car stays in EV mode most of the time. When the gas engine does finally kick on it does so without drama, and it’s quiet. Quiet enough, at least, that I don’t think I’d notice it if I was listening to music.

It’s probably worth noting here, that when I say “the car stays in EV mode most of the time”, I mean almost always. In fact, I think the gas engine was on for fifteen minutes over four days of errand hopping. If that. As such, I easily exceeded 50 MPG in my week of driving.

Another thing worth noting here is the sportiness of the newest Prius, which was a focal point of the car’s early, “car chase” advertising. If you’ve forgotten what that looked like, you can watch one of the ads, below …


New Toyota Prius Police Chase Ad


… did you catch that? There’s a moment where the officer in pursuit says the Prius is actually pretty fast. Let me tell you this: the 2017 Toyota Prius Two Eco is many things, but it is not fast.

Don’t get me wrong, the latest version of the Toyota Prius, in sport mode, is noticeably more aggressive off the line than earlier versions. That said, aggressive throttle tip-in does not a fast car make- and you’ll see that when you try to pass someone on the highway. Sport mode or not, looking over to the passenger seat at WOT and saying, “that’s all it’s got,” is comedy gold.


Living With the Prius | Final Thoughts

Toyota’s Prius is relatively painless to live with, and that’s saying quite a lot for a car gives back more than 50 MPGs with very little effort. Of course, “get in, drive, and get great mileage” has always been the point of the Prius. It’s roomy enough for four, even five (in a pinch), and its massive trunk will easily carry a 2-kid Sit n’ Stand stroller, making the Prius a great car for young urban families.

It’s not a perfect car, of course, and there are certainly those EV enthusiasts who will bemoan the fact that the Prius, even twenty years on, maintains its dependence on fossil fuels. Despite that objection, however, the Prius remains a pioneer. The Prius also, for better or worse, also remains a statement piece- and what you think that statement is, usually, is based on how you look at the Prius. Good or bad, though, it is definitely something you should be prepared to live with before you sign the papers at your local Toyota dealer.

What do you guys think? Am I being too hard on the Toyota Prius by putting so much weight on its public image? Am I being too soft on the fact that, even twenty years later, it’s still not a pure EV? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of this post.