Juliet McGuire

First drive in the updated Toyota Prius

Did you ever think that driving a Toyota Prius would make you famous? I am asking for a friend, obviously. It’s just that, there was a stage when it felt like you were only considered a true Hollywood A-lister if you owned a Prius.

Just to name drop a few Prius owners, if only for Toyota’s sake; Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Aniston, Leonardo DiCaprio, Miley Cyrus, Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek, Cameron Diaz, Tom Hanks, Demi Moore, Harrison Ford, Emily Blunt, Orlando Bloom, Claudia Schiffer and BRADLEY COOPER people! I cannot cope. I stopped listing them because it was getting laborious, but you get the idea, right? If you’re hot and famous, you own a Toyota Prius.

PRIUS IN SA

Shame, the same can’t be said here in South Africa. In fact, not one person bought a Prius in April. Not one! Come on guys. Don’t you care about the environment? Only kidding, I know you do, I see you with your bamboo straws and disposable coffee cups.

Even though the SA crowd are having none of the Prius, Toyota will continue to offer it because Toyota is good like that. Doing their thing for the environment and all. Or one could call it Toyota’s halo car. Which is a term used to describe a car that may sell in smaller volumes but that captures the public imagination, a car that is a symbol for the brand.

WHAT’S NEW?

Toyota Prius

Well Toyota’s halo has received a slight update which includes some styling tweaks to the front and rear such as a revised lower grille and new tail lamps which mimic the headlight design. There are also two new colours which includes Fierce Red and Sky Blue Metallic. You will also find a wireless phone charger inside and new piano black trim and console and black leather interior.

Toyota Prius

JUST CRUISING

The 1.8-litre petrol engine with two motor generators remains unchanged. As does the 3.7l/100 km fuel consumption figure. The Prius, as I have come to learn over the past week, really is not about performance. It never has been, but as I cruised around town and along the coastal roads, I have never been as calm as I found myself behind the wheel of this ‘chill mobile’. It’s as if the Prius is trying to promote a more relaxed approach to driving. Giving more time to the view, your thoughts and the environment that surrounds you.

The cabin is so quiet and because the engine doesn’t roar in to your space, you don’t get the urge to push it. I was quite happy to be stuck behind a bus or a truck, I was chilled AF bro. No road rage here.

At a cost of R490 200 and no competitors to speak of, the Toyota Prius offers something very unique. It offers high standard spec, space and cruising comfort. There is not much else that one requires really. So why doesn’t it sell? Who knows. We are a strange bunch we are here in South Africa.

NOW WHAT?

Perhaps the six-services/90 000 km service plan and the warranty period on general items for three-year/100 000 km with the hybrid battery warranty at eight-years/195 000 km will appeal to the car buyers out there. Who knows. Perhaps this is the Corolla sedan of hybrids? Practical, but bland. Give it a go peeps, you might surprise yourself. You might even find yourself moving out to a farm, tending to horses and foraging and living off your land.

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