Toyota Prius hybrid historical past lesson falls on deaf ears
My daughter frowned when she noticed me pull up at the highschool car parking zone.
“Ugh, Dad, what is that this?” She barely reached for the door. There was a nostril wrinkle and eye judgment one step away from the traditional American teen eye roll.
The topic of her disdain was a supersonic crimson 2022 Toyota Prius XLE with all-wheel drive that may be the sled for our 300-mile highway journey. As a 15-year-old with a driver’s allow, and an knowledgeable if not spoiled perspective on new take a look at vehicles, she thought she knew one thing if not every little thing.
“It’s so…ugh. Will it even match my hockey gear?”
I honked. A close-by flock of teenagers raised their beaks from their gadgets. She jumped in.
“It’s so ugly,” she muttered.
“This automotive is legend,” I began, adopting her vernacular with all of the cringe I may muster. “The Prius made effectivity cool and influenced what’s on this car parking zone greater than every other automotive in your lifetime.”
2001 Toyota Prius
First technology (2001-2003)
The world’s first mass produced hybrid automotive launched in 1997 and was imported to the U.S. in 2000 for the 2001 mannequin 12 months, “simply in time for the twenty first century,” in response to the advertising taglines, kinda such as you, I instructed her.
Despite the fact that the Prius adopted the Honda Perception into the American market, it outlasted and endured, like VHS over Beta that made no sense to my Gen Z daughter. This reference made no sense to her. In contrast to the two-door Perception, Toyota designed the Prius to be greater than an city commuter. With 4 doorways and a hatch, it may deal with household suburban element, and at 41 mpg mixed, it greater than doubled the common passenger automobile gas economic system on the time.
“So? Don’t the plug-in ones not even want gasoline?”
That’s the purpose, I mentioned. A lot has modified in 20 years, and the Prius proved there was a manner ahead in assembly gas economic system requirements.
With that, I earned the complete eye roll and we had been off.
Even with out a energy tailgate, she match the hockey goalie bag within the vast opening of the hatch, with out the sort of grunting complaints she’s made in sedans. Two curler luggage additionally match within the 27.4 cubic toes of area with the rear seats up. There was no pass-through within the 60/40-split rear so we folded down the smaller portion for her stick, a cooler, snack bag, and backpack filled with homework that may stay ignored. We may have match a teammate and her hockey bag, if we wanted to. Within the rearview mirror, the bag blocked the annoying split-glass hatch, however there was nonetheless loads of outward imaginative and prescient.
The inside area shocked me once more, because it does each time I get in a Prius, and the broad and tall home windows justified its oddball mouse-controller exterior form. The expansive inside allowed for loads of rear legroom and headroom, and my passenger contented herself by reclining the entrance seat, ear-plugging in, and dad-dropping out of her historical past lesson.
It was loud on the freeway, however not tough, and never as unrefined as its predecessors. She took without any consideration Bluetooth connectivity, and couldn’t have realized it was particular when Toyota launched the second-generation Prius.
2004 Toyota Prius
Second-generation Prius (2004-2009)
Sensing successful, Toyota leaned into the futuristic parts with cutting-edge options corresponding to push-button begin, an interactive infotainment display, a brand new design, and an evolution of its hybrid system that boosted EPA gas economic system to 46 mpg mixed. It helped that gasoline costs peaked at $4.06 in the midst of 2008, while you had been simply studying find out how to scoot alongside down the hallways on a trike, I instructed her. We handed freeway indicators for gasoline that price the identical now, and I commented on it being low cost, however adjusting for inflation was a dialog for an additional highway journey.
2009 Toyota Prius
The quirky design of the second-gen Prius aided effectivity as nicely, with a windshield that appeared to slope proper up from the entrance bumper, forming a triangular excessive level above the driving force’s head like a sail, besides smoothed out to seem just like the mouse controller on wheels that cemented it in that widespread creativeness. It didn’t damage that younger Hollywood stars starting from Miley Cyrus to Gwenyth Paltrow and Leonardo DiCaprio made star-studded appearances of their Priuses to lift eco-awareness.
“You realize Leo?”
She glanced over her shoulder at me with delicate irritation, her entire physique contorted into an “as if, duh” retort.
The 2010 Toyota Prius
Third-generation Prius (2010-2015)
The Prius matured for its third act, getting longer, roomier, extra household pleasant, and barely extra highly effective with a 1.8-liter inline-4 that paired with the motor to make 134 hp. It additionally overachieved at 50 mpg mixed. Toyota started rolling out different fashions, together with the bigger Prius V, the smaller, eco-optimized Prius C, and the launch of a plug-in hybrid model in 2012 that may grow to be the Prime. After a decade of dominance, Toyota sensed the hybrid instances had been altering.
The recognition of the Prius peaked in 2012 and 2013, when the economic system started to recuperate and gasoline and oil turned comparatively low cost. Being the chief meant keeping off the competitors, particularly with extra hybrids coming to market and a nascent electrical automobile market getting a cost late in 2010 with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. The Prius went from being Mr. Fashionable to being the man who graduated highschool years earlier however nonetheless confirmed as much as highschool events. Keep away from the Prius on the get together. However you’re not going to events as a freshman, proper? I requested.
Her chilly shoulder remained.
2020 Toyota Prius
Fourth technology (2016-2022)
Toyota tried injecting some youthful spunk into its ageing star, however all of the sharp angles and Botoxed bumpers couldn’t overcome that extra hybrids had been being packaged in additional widespread compact crossovers, such because the Toyota RAV4. Then there was Toyota’s one-time companion, Tesla, disrupting the automotive panorama on a a lot bigger scale than the Prius ever did. With all of the environment friendly hybrid crossovers, in addition to dozens of plug-in hybrid choices, the Toyota Prius felt previous.
Form of wonderful how market acceptance of a hybrid, and the way eco-conscious transportation was made cool on the humped again of the Prius? It paved the best way for electrical vehicles.
I continued. Nonetheless, there wasn’t a extra inexpensive and extra environment friendly automotive available on the market with out a plug. By 2018, the V was gone, and by 2019 Toyota tried to forestall the shift to hybrid crossovers with an all-wheel-drive model that we drive proper now. There’s no automotive or crossover with out a plug that may come close to the EPA rated 51 mpg metropolis, 47 freeway, 49 mixed. Look, 49.8 mpg at 75 mph over 200 miles! With a ten.6-gallon tank, and a variety of 519 miles, which means we don’t must cease until you make me!
She shifted in her seat or shrugged, the latter being so arduous to inform from so many comparable dismissive teen physique motions.
“What do you make of all that?” I mentioned, my direct espresso injection operating on all 4 cylinders.
“What?” she mentioned lastly, sitting up groggy or bored or teen. She pulled her hair again and popped out an ear bud. “Did you say one thing?”
She had buds in, Dad out the entire time.
I mentioned nothing. She’ll be available in the market quickly sufficient, and I ponder if she’ll acknowledge the brand new wedgy 2023 Toyota Prius, if she’ll respect how far the fifth technology has come from all these Priuses that preceded it.
2023 Toyota Prius
2022 Toyota Prius XLE AWD-e
Base worth: $30,600 together with $1,025 vacation spot
Worth as examined: $32,084
Drivetrain: 1.8-liter inline-4 with two motors and all-wheel drive
EPA gas economic system: 51/47/49 mpg
The hits: Effectivity, versatility, massive area in small footprint
The misses: Aged seems, dated tech, invisible to a brand new technology