Our cars: Toyota Prius+ - June
Week ending June 21
Driven this week 108 miles
Toyota Prius+ review
While the main purpose of owning a hybrid should be to cut fuel (and tax) costs, the other great reason is that I always get a space in my local supermarket car park.
That's partly because other Prius owners appear not to have read the small print which says the two spaces are for the use of both electric and hybrid cars, so while they're still touring the car park I'm already doing my shopping. Genius.
By Alex Newby
Week ending June 14
Driven this week 155 miles
With my two-year-old having discovered what fun it is to play with the broken sunblind on his window (it won't retract back into the door), I'm disappointed that getting the sunblind fixed is turning into something of a palaver.
At the suggestion of my local Toyota centre (Brentford, Middlesex), I took the car in to see if the problem could be easily fixed while I waited. One of the service advisors fiddled with the blind for a minute, but in vain, so I booked the car in for a proper investigation.
This was going to take a couple of days, so I arranged to use a courtesy car, making it clear that I'd rather wait to use a Yaris than an Aygo, because I needed the extra boot space for the kids' clobber, and in any case the Aygo has pretty poor safety credentials, with just three stars from Euro NCAP.
However, having reached the allotted date this week for the sunblind's repair, I was disappointed on two counts. Firstly, I was told that it wasn't possible to assign a particular courtesy car, and was shown instead – you guessed it – into an Aygo. Keen to get the blind repaired, I lumped it on the basis that I was told I should have my car back before the weekend.
The last bit was true: I received a call just a few hours later to say that the spare part required to repair the sunblind would take at least a week to be shipped from Japan, and could the garage have the courtesy car back for the next customer.
It's a good job the service centre is exactly half way between work and home or I could have wasted a fair bit of time by now (which has included having to empty the Prius+ of all the kids' gear before taking it in, then transferring both child seats between the Prius+ and the Aygo).
I'm now left waiting for the call to say the part has arrived, and hoping the sunblind can make it otherwise intact until then.
Week ending June 7
Driven this week 107 miles
Sunshine is such a recent addition to life with the Prius+ that I've only just discovered its unfortunate effect on the car's touch-screen – when the sun beams through the panoramic glass roof at a certain angle, it reflects perfectly off the screen's surface so I can't see a single thing on it.
Given that the touch-screen controls most of the car's systems (fortunately bar the air-con), this means I sometimes can't see my phone contacts, use the sat-nav or change from radio to CD or iPod (I can, however, scroll between stations and CD tracks via the steering wheel).
If the sat-nav were set further back in the dashboard, with some sort of cowl around it, or perhaps set at a different angle, this might solve this problem.
As it is, it's pretty frustrating and has already caused one missed turn when I suddenly couldn't see the map properly.