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Test Driven


Jamboo 1
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Hi all, finally go to test drive one, and not being a current Toyota owner I thought I would share my totally unbiased and honest views.

It was a white T4, 750 miles on the clock, with Black interior.

On the road:

The drive is very good indeed, with a smooth and firm ride. A real "speed deceptor" in that you looked at the speedo and though "OMG - am I really doing such a high speed"....so I think it could be a licence killer!!!

The drive was very good overall - the engine sounded a little strained and wheasy when you hit the pedal, and the CVT sounded a little like in a manual where the clutch was slipping, but that is normal. Under braking, a whisteling sound reminded me of the brake re-gen stuff.

The steering was light, but slightly dead, other than that very pleasant.

The only thing that put me off a little was the road noise, which I thought was a tad too high, and I know people will say "yes but that is because the car is so quiet" I'd say NO - it really is little loud!! It is something you can live with though, and about the same as the current Civic.

So Overall I would say 7.5/10, which is very good.

Hybrid Synergy Drive:

This is what this car is all about and it is superb! I managed 62.5 MPG in 30 minutes of driving in town with 4 in the car and I played the games where you try and keep the histogram at 100% (i.e. Battery only) in ECO and EV mode. I know I must have annoyed a few people, but no one hooted, so it can't have been that bad. I am truly amazed at how wonderful this technology is. The car was slow to take off in ECO.

So as fr as the HSD i concerned I would say 10/10 to Toyota - well done - amazing!!

Space and Practicalities:

Awesome to be honest. A good sized car and would take a family of four across continents.

Interior Quality:

Now this where it gets ropey for us. For a car costing £20k plus, it was full of very dull grained hard plastic and it rattled like hell. I was agasped at how badly it seemed to be put together, and early models in life cycle or not, it wasn't a good car to have as a demo at all. There were at least 3 separate buzzing, rattling gremlins in the cars, even on totally smooth tarmac, and it was a real downer!! The seat material (like Celensia) looked quite drab and didn't look appealing. I could see how it might look in a few years time! I would say 3/10 for that particular car.

HUD, Dashboard views of dials etc:

Excellent - I thought it combined to give a very solid view of what was happening, how the HSD was working and so on, so I would say 10/10.

So overall?

Well I would say 7/10 - being let down by the build quality of the interior and road noise. So overall we were a tad disappointed. We've had several Toyota's and a Lexus. the Lexus too had rattles (the new IS Diesel) and in the end we got rid of it.

In the end we didn't buy the Toyota, and bought a VW Golf MK6 instead. Why? Not because the Prius was totally bad (in fact it was the car we had at the top of the list). In fact because the Auris hybrid is around the corner - same engine and technology - lower price - and much better interior build....

Even though the Golf has higher Consumption. VED etc etc, it was £4.5k cheaper, not as much kit, but much much better made inside. I know Toyota's have a dependable drive train, but we'll keep the Golf for 3 years and then sell on. May be an Auris Hybrid next...

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Thanks for providing such an informative report, Jamboo 1. I was going to upload a Youtube clip, but I couldn't find it as it must have been removed. It was of Clarkson road testing the gen 2 Prius when it first came out. He slated the car in general, as he obviously would, but amongst his complaints was the build quality of the interior, which had many rattles and squeaks. I have a three year old T4 with 72,000 miles on it, there isn't a rattle, squeak or buzz from anywhere in the car. I'm certain, therefore, that Toyota will get the issue of these rattles and squeaks addressed.

I would have to say, however, that I have looked at the new gen 3 Prius in a Toyota showroom, and I also sat in a new model Avensis whilst I was there. The Avensis immediately struck me as being from a class above, despite the fact that the base model Avensis is £2500 less than a Prius T3! It had a fabulous quality interior, the general fit and finish of materials, instruments and controls certainly stood comparison with BMW and Audi. I suppose that the forfeit we pay for a car with such sophisticated technology, whilst being built to keep the price reasonably competitive with non-hybrid models, is that Toyota are compelled to have to provide the Prius with a rather inferior quality interior. However, as I've said, it certainly shouldn't rattle or squeak and I'm sure Toyota will sort that.

I hope you are pleased with your choice, however, had you resided in London, that £8 a day congestion fee might have been influential as to what car you drive.

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Hi all, finally go to test drive one, and not being a current Toyota owner I thought I would share my totally unbiased and honest views.

It was a white T4, 750 miles on the clock, with Black interior.

On the road:

The drive is very good indeed, with a smooth and firm ride. A real "speed deceptor" in that you looked at the speedo and though "OMG - am I really doing such a high speed"....so I think it could be a licence killer!!!

The drive was very good overall - the engine sounded a little strained and wheasy when you hit the pedal, and the CVT sounded a little like in a manual where the clutch was slipping, but that is normal. Under braking, a whisteling sound reminded me of the brake re-gen stuff.

The steering was light, but slightly dead, other than that very pleasant.

The only thing that put me off a little was the road noise, which I thought was a tad too high, and I know people will say "yes but that is because the car is so quiet" I'd say NO - it really is little loud!! It is something you can live with though, and about the same as the current Civic.

So Overall I would say 7.5/10, which is very good.

Hybrid Synergy Drive:

This is what this car is all about and it is superb! I managed 62.5 MPG in 30 minutes of driving in town with 4 in the car and I played the games where you try and keep the histogram at 100% (i.e. battery only) in ECO and EV mode. I know I must have annoyed a few people, but no one hooted, so it can't have been that bad. I am truly amazed at how wonderful this technology is. The car was slow to take off in ECO.

So as fr as the HSD i concerned I would say 10/10 to Toyota - well done - amazing!!

Space and Practicalities:

Awesome to be honest. A good sized car and would take a family of four across continents.

Interior Quality:

Now this where it gets ropey for us. For a car costing £20k plus, it was full of very dull grained hard plastic and it rattled like hell. I was agasped at how badly it seemed to be put together, and early models in life cycle or not, it wasn't a good car to have as a demo at all. There were at least 3 separate buzzing, rattling gremlins in the cars, even on totally smooth tarmac, and it was a real downer!! The seat material (like Celensia) looked quite drab and didn't look appealing. I could see how it might look in a few years time! I would say 3/10 for that particular car.

HUD, Dashboard views of dials etc:

Excellent - I thought it combined to give a very solid view of what was happening, how the HSD was working and so on, so I would say 10/10.

So overall?

Well I would say 7/10 - being let down by the build quality of the interior and road noise. So overall we were a tad disappointed. We've had several Toyota's and a Lexus. the Lexus too had rattles (the new IS Diesel) and in the end we got rid of it.

In the end we didn't buy the Toyota, and bought a VW Golf MK6 instead. Why? Not because the Prius was totally bad (in fact it was the car we had at the top of the list). In fact because the Auris hybrid is around the corner - same engine and technology - lower price - and much better interior build....

Even though the Golf has higher Consumption. VED etc etc, it was £4.5k cheaper, not as much kit, but much much better made inside. I know Toyota's have a dependable drive train, but we'll keep the Golf for 3 years and then sell on. May be an Auris Hybrid next...

I too decided after a second test drive of the Prius T4 that I would not be ordering one as my next company car. My choice was the Golf SE Bluemotion. This gives nearly the same acclaimed MPG but was a fair bit cheaper on our company car lease scheme than the Prius.

A couple of points that put me off the Prius were :

1. The noticable lack of available options - i wanted to upgrade the audio to have DAB & USB connection but this was quoted as a Dealer fit option which would need to have been pain by myself rather than adding it to the car lease monthly cost.

2. I was also rather let down by the fact that the brochure stated 'Dual Zone Climate Control' but in actual fact it was just Climate Control. not a major problem but just a niggle to me as i currently have Dual Zone and do find it useful when the wife is in the car.

3. The view out of the rear window was terrible and this was particularly an issue for the wife. I know I would have had either the TSpirit with camera or the option of Rear Parking sensors on the T4 but even looking out of the rear window during normal motorway driving I thought was restrictive.

4. Didn't think the seat material would wear well particularly with the kids in the back.

No doubt if i had got the car as my next leased car i would have grown to live with the minor gripes listed above and i did enjoy driving it during my test drives but in the end I suppose I stuck with more of what I already new (manual car in diesel and a VW).

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Interior Quality:

Now this where it gets ropey for us. For a car costing £20k plus, it was full of very dull grained hard plastic and it rattled like hell. I was agasped at how badly it seemed to be put together, and early models in life cycle or not, it wasn't a good car to have as a demo at all. There were at least 3 separate buzzing, rattling gremlins in the cars, even on totally smooth tarmac, and it was a real downer!! The seat material (like Celensia) looked quite drab and didn't look appealing. I could see how it might look in a few years time! I would say 3/10 for that particular car.

That was the same experience I had when I test drove a T4.

Before the test drive I had my heart set on getting a T Spirit, but the build quality put me off immediatley. I expect they would be able to sort out the rattles, but the thought of spending £22k plus and having to take it back to get rattles sorted was out of the question.

Like you say, its not a very good advert to have a demonstrator rattling so much - why didnt they sort it?

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My T-Spirit doesn't rattle at all. One point to note here though - when it was delivered the tyre pressures were set at 36psi all round. The 17" should be set at 33 front ans 32 rear. I lowered mine straight away - made a huge improvement in low speed ride over speed bumps and bad road surfaces. Perhaps this is a problem on some demonstrators?

I personally don't like the cloth either - which is why I went for the leather option. But I realise this is personal choice.

The rear view you quickly get used too. What is not great is the coverage of the rear wiper - it doesnt clean the bottom of the screen at all. A central 180 degree sweeper would have been far better IMHO.

Yup, no soft touch plastics. But I can get very comfy so its not a practical problem at all.

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some times the tyre pressures aren't lowered on pdi our demo's are from toyota gb and a few of them the tyres have been at the delivery pressure close to 3bar and that makes them very noisey on the road.

all the toyota range is going the same way inside its to help the enviroment you can almost recycle 100% of the car.rattles shouldn't be their but they can be fixed easy and shouldn't take long to fix.

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I bought an IS220d in March 2006, one of the first diesels knowing that some 2005/55 rattled, and Lexus never sorted the rattles until mid 2007 on the production line, so it might take a while until they get the logistics in after a fix is identified!!

Go take a look at the Lexus Owners Club for a few horror stories. This really put me off an other wise good car!

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