Driving

Toyota Prius review

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Toyota Prius
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In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Prius is designed for negotiating the give-and-take traffic conditions of urban streets, where its hybrid drivetrain brings the greatest benefits. You can drive at up to 36mph using the electric motor alone; do so and there's no noise or vibration from the dormant engine, which makes for relaxed driving.

In reality, it's hard to drive so gently that the engine doesn't kick in, but when it does, it is suitably refined. Unless, that is, you accelerate hard, in which case the CVT gearbox makes the revs shoot up, bringing a distant booming noise from the engine bay. If you find this annoying then try a Hyundai Ioniq, which has a more conventional automatic gearbox.

Ride comfort is good in town – although the suspension can get a little noisy over lumps and bumps – and the steering is light enough at low speeds to make parking manoeuvres easy.

Venture out of town and the Prius acquits itself surprisingly well. Yes, it's short on pace, and there's quite a lot of body lean when cornering, but the steering is accurate and responsive, even if it doesn’t give you much feedback. The actual grip levels are pretty high, though. The brakes are suitably powerful but have a grabby action, meaning you can end up decelerating much more sharply than you intended. Other hybrids such as the Ioniq are easier to drive smoothly.

At steady motorway speeds, the engine is quiet, and emits nothing more than a faint drone when you ask for a little more speed. The ride remains relaxed, too, but while the Prius takes bumps in its stride, it does shuffle about a bit across small surface imperfections, and road noise is quite pronounced.

 

Toyota Prius
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There are 4 trims available for the Prius hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
Active
Most owners will be satisfied with the generous level of equipment that comes on the cheapest trim level. The kit list includes 15in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and 7.0in touchscreen wi...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£22,444
Average Saving £1,811
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Business Edition
This trim level adds a few more comfort and convenience features including keyless entry, heated front seats, a head-up display, blind spot warning and a wireless charger for compatible smart phone...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£23,311
Average Saving £1,884
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Business Edition Plus
Sat-nav is added to the 7.0in touchscreen's functionality, as is internet connectivity. Both front and rear parking sensors are also included, as is a parking assistance system. The wheels on Busin...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£24,603
Average Saving £1,992
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Excel
For an added layer of luxury, top-spec Excel trim adds leather seats, an upgraded stereo system and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. There are also extra infotainment features such as text message a...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Plug-In Elec Hybrid, Petrol/Electric Hybrid
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£25,862
Average Saving £2,098
View Trim