Our cars: Toyota Prius+ - February

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Toyota Prius+
Toyota Prius+
Toyota Prius+ 1.8 VVT-i T Spirit

Week ending February 22
Mileage 1380
Driven this week 107


Toyota Prius+ review

Driving the Toyota Prius+ has become a real pleasure, and the car is well suited to a life with young children on board.

There hasn't once been a complaint about a bumpy ride, because generally the ride feels really smooth. Sure, you can feel a bit of jiggling as you go over broken surfaces or bumps in the road, but to be honest I expect nothing less from the urban streets I drive on. Overall the Prius provides a calm, relaxed environment that's quiet enough for me to talk to the tots in the back without having to raise my voice much.

It's true that some MPVs offer a more entertaining drive, with quicker, more responsive steering that gives you a sense of contact with the road, but that's not what my driving requires – I'm happy to forgo any sportiness for a more soothing experience.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Week ending February 8
Mileage 1273
Driven this week 62


The good-size footplate in the Prius+ is designed to help passengers to get into the rearmost two seats, but it has also proved very useful in helping my four-year-old get into the car by himself without any trouble.

Another child-friendly feature I really appreciate is how wide the rear doors open, also helping with his access and making it easier for me to load my 22-month-old into his seat and do up his seat harness.

In fact, I'm sure these features help with my dodgy back just as much as the overall height of the Prius+, whose extra 6cm of headroom means less need to bend over to fasten my kids in place.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Week ending February 8
Mileage 1273
Driven this week 62


Compared with the standard Prius, the Prius+'s boot is certainly deeper so you can throw in a decent amount of extra stuff, but it's only really a match for the smallest estate cars and, more crucially, it's very shallow as much of its potential depth is filled with those two extra seats, and very narrow in the rearmost half.

Consequently my husband and I didn't even try to use it as transport for our a trip to Norfolk for four days with my in-laws. We were right not even to attempt such an onerous task; even though we tried to take only the essentials for our stay, the interior of my husband's Volkswagen Passat ended up packed to bursting with our bags, a travel cot for my toddler, other kit for the kids, a bag of toys too keep them busy before the big day and a pile of things to deliver to the family.

That's before we filled the roof box on top. The poor Prius+ didn't really stand a hope…

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Week ending February 1
Mileage 1211
Driven this week: 43

For a car with a list price of £29,795, the absence of automatic lights on the Prius+ feels like a curious (if not rather mean) omission, especially when it does include automatic wipers.

Usually the two come together, but not here, and I still feel a slight surge of annoyance that in a car which features a lot of impressive technology – not least its hybrid powertrain – I have to remember to switch my headlights on and off.

Fair enough if you're buying a car that costs a lot less, or have chosen to opt out of such features to save a bit of a cash, but in the Prius+ it seems surprising.

You might argue that the reason the car costs this much is precisely because the hybrid technology with its lithium ion battery is so costly to produce, that it includes two more seats, and that it's worth the expense for the potential savings on fuel.

I still think the inclusion of such features as a texting option via the infotainment system over something as commonplace as automatic lights is something of an oversight, however.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Our cars: Toyota Prius+ - January

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