Better than: The last Prius
But not as good as: An all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 60.11
Since its introduction and through two generations, the Toyota Prius has become the poster child for the green car movement. While other cars--notably the Honda Civic Hybrid and VW's TDI Jetta and Golf--can equal or exceed its fuel mileage, the Prius's space-pod styling have made it the perfect statement car for environmentally aware car buyers.
For the third generation, the last thing Toyota wanted to do was change up its eco-icon too much. This version has all-new, sleeker sheet metal, but it's still instantly identifiable as a Prius. Under the hood, the new 1.8-liter gas engine is more powerful and more efficient.
The top-of-the-line V model we tested came nicely loaded, helping us wallow in luxury as we turned 50 mpg.
Other staff views
The new Prius is definitely an improvement on the old Prius in nearly every way. Its a great commuter car, with lots of room, luxury, and good mileage. I'm still not sold on hybrids, but this is the first one I've driven where the hybrid system wasn't noticeable. It felt just like a Camry, only with better mileage. This is by no means a sports car, though. The drive by wire creates kind of a disconnected feeling, which is a little creepy. The interior was also a very nice place to be, with a great stereo and neat things, like a robot that steers for you if you fall asleep. Overall, I'd compare this car to a microwave. It does its job while entertaining you with spinning food, but you don't get the same experience and feedback as you do when cooking on a grill.
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