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Time for a new car – a Toyota Prius Hybrid 3

Posted by DarrenG on October 19, 2009

prius-thumbThe time has come for us to choose a new family car.  Our current Mercedes Cabriolet which we’ve had for 5 years is proving very thirsty as it’s primarily used for school runs and short trips into town.

Being a 3.2 litre V6 Auto this is the worst possible driving cycle and we’re now seeing MPG figures in the late teens and if lucky, early 20’s which makes it very expensive and gives us about 270 miles from a full tank.

Last year we were a two car family. But my Discovery, being rather impractical, was being used less and less.  Though I loved that car, it’s 4-litre V8 Auto would struggle to pass 16MPG even if driven very carefully.  This was mainly due to the kit that it had fitted, it was an ex-G4 Challenge competitor vehicle complete with full rack, snorkel, front winch and under body armour which all weighed it down.

g4-discovery

Great fun as the Disco was it cost me a fortune with over £3k in parts and repairs in the three years I owned it.  The fuel costs I never did add up!

And so reluctantly I faced the reality that we didn’t need two cars with me working from home and so it was sold 🙁

The Mercedes is MrsG’s car but has been our only car for over a year now.  Lovely as it is, with oodles of ooomph, it is happiest as a tourer.  Even though there only three in our family, the boot was a squeeze when holidaying and it is reaching that time in its life where I’m starting to worry that if it fails it could be expensive.  The tyres are due a change soon and that’s £500, the gearbox computer occasionally has a tantrum and defaults to limp home mode and it is generally hinting that all may not be rosy for ever!

And so the hunt for a replacement began a while back.  Practicality and frugality were the key factors so a 4/5-door hatchback that sips fuel was required.  People carriers were ruled out as too big, others discounted as being way too boring and so on.

The car we eventually ended up settling on was one neither of us would have predicted at the outset, a Toyota Prius.  The greenies favourite, a petrol/electric hybrid.

prius-hvacIt ticks all the boxed for space and frugality.  The economy being at its best on short local runs with returns in the 50’s being easily achieved.  It also benefits from  £15/year road tax which is quite a saving and importantly for me at least, it has some attractiveness because it is gadget laden!

And so at the end of this week we will be switching to a Prius. With 600 miles from a tank of petrol it will immediately halve our fuel bill, our insurance will be less, Road Tax will no longer be an issue and I’ll have factory-fit navigation, bluetooth, reverse camera, auto park (yup it will reverse or parallel park for you!), touch screen monitor for all the info screens and a space age digital dash.

Even better, there are pages and pages of mods for the tinkerers including switchable camera, disable the navigation lock when moving, improved EV modes and so on. The downside of course is I won’t be able to drive it for a few months yet 🙁

prius-cutaway prius-interior prius-auto prius-nav prius-telephone prius-autopark

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  1. MaFt Mon, 19 Oct 2009 14:49:47 UTC

    autopark?! freakin’ sweet!

  2. DarrenG Mon, 19 Oct 2009 14:59:04 UTC

    Indeed, no idea how effective it is though. Not sure I want to trust a computer!

  3. Steve Hearn Mon, 02 Nov 2009 15:27:11 UTC

    Sounds like a result! I only got my Mercedes this year and although it is a 3 ltr C class, is returns around 39mpg around town and over 44mpg on a nice long motoway journey, so not too shabby for such a large engine. I am tempted to make the switch, as you have, sometime in the future but for now I shall enjoy the fun of my Merc.

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