The first Toyota Prius went on sale in Japan in December 1997, and the United States received its first shipment in 2000. When the second generation debuted in 2004, Prius was the world’s best-selling gas-electric hybrid car and won the prestigious Motor Trend “Car of the Year Award” and Car and Driver’s “10 Best Cars Award”. The third generation of this successful car line was introduced in 2010, and like its popular predecessors has won many automotive awards, including the Popular Mechanics “Fuel Efficiency Automotive Excellence Award” and one of Kelley Blue Book’s “Best Resale Value” Awards.
Owning a Toyota Prius has been an enjoyable experience for me. Although no vehicle is suitable for everyone and every purpose, the Prius is an excellent choice for drivers who want a technologically advanced, reliable car that features superior fuel mileage, a quiet ride, low maintenance, and virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. Having driven one for more than six years, I offer my top ten reasons for buying a Toyota Prius hybrid car:
1. The Challenge of Maximizing Fuel Economy
The Prius is an enjoyable and challenging ride. By using electric-only mode as often as possible, capitalizing on the regenerative braking feature, engaging the braking mode when appropriate, and decreasing drag and weight, the driver can maximize the Prius fuel efficiency.
2. Turning Radius
The Toyota Prius has a turning circle that is 34.2 feet, which is even smaller than the Corolla’s 35.6-foot turning radius. This means the Prius fits into tight parallel parking spaces and requires less room for U-turns.
3. Engines Turn Off When Not In Use
When the Prius is stopped in traffic or at red lights, both engines turn off. While other vehicles are noisily burning pricey gasoline, using battery power, and polluting the air, the Prius is quietly saving its resources for when they are needed.
4. Quiet Inside and Out
Another type of pollution the Toyota Prius does not create is noise pollution. The hybrid whirs around town while barely making a sound. In over six years of driving one, I have only had one close call with a pedestrian: a jogger using earbuds who did not look back before trying to cross the road in front of me.
The interior of the Prius is also very quiet, and this enhances listening to music or making conversation.
5. Regenerative Braking
A sterling feature of the Prius is regenerative braking, where the hybrid converts excess speed to electricity and stores it in the batteries for future use. Regenerative braking saves fuel and wear and tear on the brakes.
6. Hybrid Technology
The Toyota Prius seamlessly integrates a gasoline motor and an electric engine. When driving on country roads or state highways, the efficient gasoline motor has ample power and acceleration while keeping the electric battery charged. When using the vehicle in parking lots or moving forward in stop-and-go traffic, the electric engine does the job quietly and without wasting any fuel.
7. Technology Appeal
Prius owners enjoy the excitement of driving one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the world.
The Toyota Prius is an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). This means that the engines emit virtually no greenhouse gas emissions into the air.
J.D. Power and Associates consistently rates the Toyota Prius amongst the most reliable cars in the world. Their predicted reliability rating for the 2010 Prius (the most recent model reviewed) is 5 out of 5.
10. Gas Mileage and Fuel Range
The 2011 Toyota Prius has an amazing EPA fuel rating of 48 miles per gallon (mpg) highway and 51 mpg city, for a combined fuel rating of 50 mpg. The fuel tank holds 11.9 gallons. This means that a new Prius should travel 500 miles or more on one tank of gas.
The Best Reason to Purchase a Toyota Prius
Perhaps the best reason to purchase a Toyota Prius hybrid car is the feeling of satisfaction you will have as a responsible planet-dweller. You are on the cutting-edge of technology. You save money while helping the environment. You do not pollute the air with unnecessary noise or carbon emissions. In addition, when you ride along the seashore, you can actually hear the seabirds and the ocean waves.