Better World Club

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Prius, Je t'aime

We Just Keep Running Back…but the Habit Only Seems to Bother our Exes

It’s true. We just ran a re-review of a high-mileage vehicle in the March edition of Kicking Asphalt. But with all of the press that the Toyota Prius has gotten over the past year, what with Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and the Prius’ 10th birthday, we thought we should give our readers the lowdown on the newest generation of the poster-car of hybrid electric vehicles.

Four years ago, we gave the second generation Prius an enthusiastic two green thumbs up, (read our review of the 2006 Prius here), and little has changed. Literally. The 2010 Prius, the first model of the third generation, hasn’t changed much visually since Toyota’s 2003 redesign brought us the unique shape we’re familiar with today. It’s not a surprise, though, that Toyota would want to maintain that very recognizable aspect of the Prius’ design. Even in the aftermath the public relations debacle that followed Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall, the Prius remains a symbol of high-tech progress and green-mindedness. Understandably then, the newest Prius is even more fuel-efficient than previous models at 51 mpg on the highway and 48 mpg in the city.

But, like older Prius models, the 2010 still raises questions of “true” gas mileage, miles per gallon of course depending on the many factors associated with how and where a vehicle is driven. Though even still, it’s hard to beat the 2010 Prius on fuel economy. Unfortunately, all that technical sophistication means that repairs should be left to the experts – and that can come with a hefty price tag. The Prius isn’t inexpensive to begin with, and with the expiration of alternative vehicle tax incentives for Priuses bought in the United States, cost of ownership can be daunting. Some owners complain that frequent trips to the dealership offset any savings on fuel consumption.

The Prius continues, however, to be the best car for visibly demonstrating your commitment to greener transportation technology. You’ll just have to decide how committed you are. (If it helps, Better World Club still offers discounts on membership fees to hybrid drivers.) The new Prius is also just as quiet as its predecessors, so it’s also on your side if you prefer to skip the recognition and keep your profile low…or if you’re trying to be discreet about keeping tabs on the older models. It’s just love, is all.

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