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With all the recalls, lawsuits, Government hearings and total chaos surrounding the Toyota Motor Company, and even the Toyota Prius, subject of this evaluation, we were very pleasantly surprised to have just simply enjoyed driving the Prius, no hassles, no problems, just simply faultless.
It is always a pleasure to press the start button on a modern hybrid and to hear nothing, switch it in gear and just quietly zoom away. Ideally this would last forever, the Rolls Royce feeling, but sadly even the Prius has to have the engine kick in at some stage. What is nice about the Prius is that it clearly no longer pretends to be a conventional car needing some sort of center console to link the mechanical gearshift to the gearbox. It clearly demonstrates this by have the gear shift within easy reach high on the console, and then a huge and functional gap in the console to the level below it, and gap that allows for many useful accessory spaces.
Of course nobody will go to the dealer showroom for a center console they have not seen, but it is certainly a refreshing and pleasant surprise to see how the designers have done away with convention. What should attract people to the showroom is the looks of the Prius, and in that respect the new version is very clearly an evolution of the previous model, and obviously and modern design.
As you can see in our extensive gallery, has a dynamic stance, an almost perfect mono-body shape, and lots of current Toyota styling details abound. In our opinion maybe even a few too many of the latter, but at least they all seem to be done in harmony with the total design. The lower corner sidelights in the front bumper stood out very nicely to all of us.
As with the previous Prius, the front seating position is still unusual, too short, to weirdly angled forward. We assume it is to create more space for a rear passenger, but to have especially the drivers’ seating compromised for the fewer occasions a rear passenger might sit a little tightly to us is bewildering. Obviously, the car always has a driver when driving and by far not always a passenger behind the driver.
To create as much perceived interior space as possible Toyota has relied on craftily sculpturing the body sides within a very limited space range, which does enhance the interior space, but obviously leaves something to be desired as far as perceived quality of the exterior goes.. and we still think exterior trump interior any time in getting people to come to the showroom.
The interior itself is very nicely done, with ergonomically designed driver area, well placed instruments and switches, modern treatment of the surfaces and textures, and enough interior room for its class. Really, the only area of critique in the interior is the awkward driving position, which would hoped would have been eradicated after the last model series. We live in hope!