What's the used Toyota Prius like?
Car manufacturers are always keen to prove how green they are and usually this means unveiling yet another concept car that is never going to turn a wheel. Back in 2000, though, Toyota put considerable amounts of money where its mouth was and made the electric/petrol hybrid Prius.
Under acceleration the Prius uses a combination of its 1.5-litre 58bhp petrol engine and a 40bhp electric motor. At cruising speed, it relies on the petrol engine alone, using excess power to recharge the battery, which is also recharged under braking. Then, at very low speeds it runs on its electric motor alone, producing zero emissions.
Generally, it's a system that works very well - and almost without the driver noticing. Although the engine can struggle on motorway hills, performance is reasonable. As you might expect, the emphasis is on comfort rather than sharp handling, so there's a fair bit of body roll.
What's different about this green machine is that there are no sacrifices, no battery taking up half the cabin or boot. The aerodynamic four-door saloon can accommodate a family of five, and the rear seats are easily folded to increase boot space.