Friday, June 02, 2006

Love My Prius

I am now the proud owner of a 2006 Toyota Prius, and have been for two weeks. It's a cute little car. Twice people have seen it for the first time and said "The Jetsons". If the roof was clear, I would look like Judy Jetson. But it's silver, and sleek.

The car has lots of bells and whistles, starting out with the dashboard TV screen. This is the most dangerous feature on the car, because it's very distracting. I have now learned to ignore it most of the time, and to be judicious in my use of it. The first time I drove the car I almost drove off the road because I got mesmerized. As an average American woman (not short!) it's just a few inches too far to my right. I really have to reach for the buttons on the right side of the screen.

When you put the car in reverse, the picture of what's behind you pops up, because there's a camera in the hatchback. The rest of the time, the screen controls the audio, climate, and what information you are getting. I like to leave the screen on Trip Information, which tells me what mileage I am getting, second by second, the average mileage, and whether the car is operating on the gas motor or on the electric battery.

Speed, gear, lights and odomoter are digital, on a screen deep under the recessed dash. At night, you have to turn down the color on the dash, or you get a green reflection on the windshield.

The seats are very comfortable, both front and back. I've had three people in the back without any complaints. The only downside compared to my Camry is the trunk space. It's a small car and a hatchback, so the trunk area is correspondingly smaller.

I'm averaging 49.2 miles per gallon, and that included two highway trips back and forth to the Catskills via the Berkshires. The car gets lousy mileage going up hills, but on the other side coasting down the mileage goes up again. Having that little screen in front of you with average miles per gallon makes me very competitive. I want to get my average up! So the car makes me a more careful and fuel efficient driver. I start more slowly, because on slow starts, the car stays on the electric battery. Stomp on the accelerator and you go directly to gas engine.

Ideally, if I am going 35 to 40 MPH on a level straightaway, the car would get over 80 miles per gallon, but as I live in the Worcester hills, that doesn't happen too often. The EPA mileage rating is 51 highway, 60 city; those are my goals!

All in all, I am pleased with the car and would recommend it to others. Plus it makes me feel like I am doing something, even if it's only a little, to reduce global warming. Or as Dick Cheney would say, conservation is a sign of personal virtue, and I feel virtuous.

1 comment:

Bukko_in_Australia said...

BTW, when we moved to Oz, we got a Prius. No waiting list here, and they don't rip you off by charging you MORE than the sticker price the way dealers do in America. (For all I know, it's illegal to do that in Australia. Plus they just wouldn't think it was sporting...) I don't love it because our cars in the U.S. were a Mustang GT and V-6 Fiero. Terribly irresponsible, I know. We're better now. And mostly I ride the Melbourne tram system to work. They have excellent mass transit here, and people,of all classes ride it, not just the poor.

BTW, in Oz the Prius' screen measures your petrol consumption in terms of litres per 100 kilometres. A bit harder to figure it out the true meaning that way...