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RK123456

Suitability & Power Of Prius Plug In

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Hi.

I need some advice please.

I am a company car driver driving a 2009 Avensis T2 D4D Tourer, it pulls like a freight train but is relatively high company car tax (Benefits in Kind). It is due for replacement soon, I am a high mileage driver, 40,000 miles per year.

I am considering a Prius Plug In, my main concerns are:

Is it powerful enough for me? I drive long distances, I regularly drive over the M62, A66 and up the M74 to Glasgow. All of these roads are notoriously hilly. Will the car pull alright up a long hill, it is an auto so I won't have to be always changing gear. The Toyota website shows the car to have 98 horse power and 104 lbft of torque which I find very low for a 1.8 litre petrol engine. I've been overtaken by Prius in the past on flat motorways and they don't appear to be lacking in pulling power.

I haven't driven an automatic transmission car for 20 years, is the Prius easy to park between cars and in parking spaces?

I have requested a test drive to see if I can live with it.

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I find the Prius more than powerful enough. Don't forget you are not relying on the 1.8 engine alone you also have the power and torque from the electric motor. Parking is not a problem; on the Prius T Spirit Gen 3 you have the reversing camera. If you are clever enough to use it the T Spirit has self parking. The car is so easy to drive I would hate to go back to a manual gearbox. The Prius has 3 power settings ECO, NORMAL and POWER. In power it leaves most cars standing. I get over 60MPG.

If you do get a Prius I would suggest that in Winter you have Winter Tyres fitted especially for the journeys you have outlined.

Good luck on the test drive.

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Obviously the plugin won't be doing the whole journey on electric only as its only got about 15mile quoted range.

We live on the M62 and the GenII Prius has more than enough power and acceleration to keep up with motorway traffic and the steep sections. On a recent run to Glasgow in August in a GenII we got over 50mpg. Fairly comfy too which should be a priority given your distances. So the Plugin shouldn't have any problems.

For parking, some people don't like the limited rear vision that is always quoted by journalists, but it's no more limited than many hatchbacks and just a case of learning the length of your vehicle.

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IIRC they all have a reversing camera from MY 2012. The total BHP is 130 with the electric motor and although some say the engine sounds harsh and strained when giving it some beans, it pulls like a train. PWR mode makes the pedal more responsive. I wouldn't bother with the plug-in though if you're going to spend most of your time on the motorway, it's not worth the extra expense IMO.

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If it's a company car, Toyota has a fleet of loan cars that you can test drive for four days or so. I just went for an ordinary test drive (liked the car and ordered it) but a colleague went to the fleet manager who organised a four day loan car from Toyota. That gave him a much better experience of the car and, yes, after the test drive he ordered one!

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About 50% of my annual mileage is on French motorways travelling at about 80mph and I generally find the Prius quite capable. On occasions I have used the accelerator to get out of an uncomfortable situation and found myself doing 90mph and still accelerating. The only time I wish for more power is when climbing some of the steep sections in the centre of France, but this could be because I feel uncomfortable squeezing the last bit of power of the car. It could also be because I am comparing with my last car which had 220bhp and used to romp up the hills.

As others have said I would doubt whether the premium for the Plug-In is worth it.

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Plug in Prius might be worth it as a company car.

The only cost to the OP will be BIK tax (and private miles fuel maybe). Should be pretty low for the plug-in.

Would be worth comparing the tax and benefits with a normal Prius.

To make the most of the plugin, a handy charging point would be useful.

Will there be one at work?

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Thank you for the replies everybody.

On the benefits in kind, the Plug In Prius saves a good deal in tax you pay on a company car. I have already done a comparison of the Prius Plug in versus the Prius.

There isn't a recharging point at work, but I only visit the office on average 1 day per week.

In the city nearest to where I live, I know of 2 charging points, 1 is in a car park that I never use, the other is at the Toyota dealer.

I have another question on the charging. I don't know but I guess they have them at other dealers such as Nissan.

Can the Prius Plug In be charged from a normal domestic 13 Amp socket (I have one in my garage) or do you need a dedicated socket especially forthe job (higher current?) that I assume a specialist company must install.

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Apparently the plug in charges at 11 Amps for 1.5 hours and a standard 13A socket is fine providing it is in good condition.

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I've changed from a T-Spirit to a Plug in last july

If your commute is 5 miles each way, or double that if you can charge at work, you can go from Monday to Friday without using any petrol.

On a 200 mile journey, getting 10 miles on electricity gives a 5% saving which is a bit underwhelming. However, for the remaining 190 miles it is a bit more economical than the t spirit, so your total saving may be around 10%

Several other things you may not know till you live with one:

Plugging in overnight every night takes about a litre off the following day's petrol consumption, so you can save 365 litres of petrol a year

If you are too lazy to plug in, it will do 78mpg rather than 72 official figures, or perhaps 60 rather than 55 real life. This is mainly because its regenerative braking is more powerful, but additionally it has a lower drag coefficient, lighter magnesium alloy wheels, a low power but decent sounding sound system, and several other refinements missing from the standard Prius.

Environmentally it makes no sense at all if your electricity comes from fossil fuel. Change to Ecotricity.

An overnight charge costs 20p on economy 7 tariff. 50p if you charge by day. The car comes with a lead that has a 13 amp plug on it. It says on the control box that it draws a max of 10A, but my little plug in meter says it draws 1.9kw which is just over 8 amps. The car's display confirms a similar figure. A charge takes slightly longer than the quoted 90 mins.

It has most of the important toys that the t spirit has. I miss the coloured guidelines on the reversing camera display but nothing else.

It's just a bit slower than my old t spirit. It is much nicer to travel in than the t spirit, because the beautiful sensation of gliding around in near silence occurs at higher speeds and for a greater proportion of the journey.

If your 10 mile commute involves dual carriageway or motorway, you may be really disappointed to find that it switches out of ev mode at higher speeds- officially 50 mph but up to about 58 or 59 if you accelerate really gently.

Hope that helps

Pete

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Whoops! Forgot to say, it doesn't really do 15.5 miles on a charge. Reckon on 12 miles if you drive fairly gently, but reduce that to 8 miles if the Battery is charged outdoors in freezing weather. The only way to get 15.5 miles is to point the car along a perfectly flat straight road and set the cruise control to 25 mph.

Big problem for some: the heater doesn't work in ev mode. You switch the heater on, and the petrol engine starts up and refuses to stop till it has completed its warm up cycle. The car does have fiendishly bum toasting heated seats in the front only, and I find them comfortable with external temperatures of 5 deg C, but demisting the windscreen is a problem if it is humid, and if frosty reckon on running the engine.

In hot weather the air con runs happily on Battery power, and in very hot weather running it may improve the car's range as the Battery takes its cooing air from the passenger compartment.

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Hi the charging time very much dapends on the voltage comming into your house the statutary voltage is now 220v not 240v so this can effect charging times (unless you have a voltage tester which reads RMS voltage you will not get a accurate reading)

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Decent review Pete, thanks, butI can't understand why Toyota didn't put in a system like an enigine block heater for the plug-in, would have made so much more sense?

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Hi in Canada you can get a sump heater for the Prius but is England cold enough to make it worth while I understand it is 400 watt and you have to have it on for 2 hours or more.

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Well, earlier this week, the Prius Plug In arrived for the awaited extended test drive (3 days).

My first impressions were that it looks fantastic in pale blue, the colour really suited the car.

It had some really impressive features, reversing camers, head up speedo display, comfortable seats.

Then I decided to take it for a drive, that's when the problems started.

The ride was really comfortable on the 15 inch wheels, the high profile tyres absorbed shocks from poor road surfaces and the transmission was as smooth as silk, BUT.

I was left with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment with the car because:

I am not used to driving an automatic transmission, when driving the Prius Plug In, I felt that I was not in control of the car. I felt that instead of me driving the car, the car was driving me and I was hanging on, almost a feeling of "Stop the ride, I want to get off." I did not feel safe driving the Prius.

I could not get on with the floor mounted parking brake, when first trying to drive the car, I mistook it for a foot rest, then after I had released it and been driving, when I came to apply it, I couldn't easily find it, I even considered carrying a torch to shine it into the footwell to help me find the parking brake pedal.

I drove the car at about 60 mph up a long sweeping uphill dual carriageway and put my foot down hard to simulate driving over the M62, overtaking or accelerating hard along a slip road to join a motorway, all that happened was that the engine revs shot up, the engine was noisy and the car began to accelerate slowly.

Later that day, when the car was on the drive, I had it switched on and I was trying to familiarise myself with the sat nav, after a few seconds the engine fired up, why?

I noticed that the delivery driver had zeroed the indicators when leaving the car, the mpg indicator showed 44 mpg after I had driven about 30 miles that day.

I had an overwhelming feeling of disappointment with the car, perhaps I had built my expectations too high. I even drove it to my local Toyota dealer to ask them if I was driving it correctly or was doing something fundamentally wrong, they said that I wasn't and maybe the car wasn't for me.

I drove it about 30 miles on the first day.

On day 2, I was due to go out on a 100 mile journey, I loaded my things into the car the evening before, later at night, I was becoming more concerned about the next days journey until at 10 pm, I went out and removed my things from the Prius and put them in my Mondeo, the Prius Plug In remained on my drive for the remaining 2 days of the trial period. I felt a lot safer driving the Mondeo because it had conventional manual transmission and being a large diesel engine, plenty of mid range torque.

In conclusion, the Prius Plug In is not the car for me, the only way I would ever consider having one is if:

The automatic transmission was replaced with a manual gearbox.

The floor mounted parking brake was replaced with a dash mounted push button Avensis style parking brake or better still a onventional hand brake.

The 1.8 litre petrol engine which I thought was underpowered was replaced by a torquey 2 litre diesel engine.

I have just chosen my next company car, an Avensis D4D tourer.

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I think most on this forum would definitely agree a Prius is not for you.

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I guess that's what you get when you over price the product and try and sell it purely as a way to avoid company car tax, rather than to those who actually want the smooth automatic transmission, the fast and powerful overtaking ability and the 60-70-80 mpg real world fuel economy if you don't thrash it. I guess that's the trouble when one doesn't pay the fuel bills?

If only it had been priced at £26,000 - £5,000 grant, then it would have been a hit, rather than a tax dodge for the few.

ps see thread from ages ago about the price comparisons with other markets, other currencies, import tax and vat and how despite taking all of this into account the UK PIP just happens to turn out £5,000 more expensive. Oh that would just happen to be exactly the same amount as the £5,000 UK government EV tax credit. A coincidence I'm sure.

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"I am not used to driving an automatic transmission, when driving the Prius Plug In, I felt that I was not in control of the car."-

once you are used to an auto, the prius gearbox is pretty nice without any kickdown, just a smooth delivery of power.

"I could not get on with the floor mounted parking brake" - the first couple of weeks I had trouble finding this too and did find it a bit awkward to release. Familiarity now means it's quite easy.

"I drove the car at about 60 mph up a long sweeping uphill dual carriageway and put my foot down hard to simulate driving over the M62, overtaking or accelerating hard along a slip road to join a motorway, all that happened was that the engine revs shot up, the engine was noisy and the car began to accelerate slowly." - the engine does get noisy but most here agree there's plenty of power up to illegal speeds. The GenII i drive has no problems whatsoever accelerating. Maybe you need a heavier right foot?

"Later that day, when the car was on the drive, I had it switched on and I was trying to familiarise myself with the sat nav, after a few seconds the engine fired up, why?" - maybe warming the engine up esp if heating on?

As for economy, mpg will still be lower at this time of year due to low outdoor temps.

Good luck with the Avensis though. For us moving from a manual to an auto was a godsend as we mainly do city driving.

For trolling along motorways that's not much of an issue.

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Hmmm, this is very sad. I hardly recognise your description as being the same car I drive, RK. It's true, the car may not be for you, but a few things in your account really surprise me.

Firstly, did you actually plug the car in and charge it? Stupid question, maybe, but you don't mention it. It is possible to get 44 mpg on a 30 mile journey if you start with an un charged Battery and encounter two of the car's fuel consumption "weaknesses": In cold weather, if you start off with a cold engine and the heater on, the car becomes nothing more than a petrol car with a cold engine. It will do about 20 mpg for the first mile or two, and you then have to drive a fair distance with everything warmed up to raise the average. Additionally, when accelerating hard uphill, the Prius's transmission is (ahem) not very efficient, and a glance at the instantaneous readout will probably confirm you're doing about 15 mpg for your 30 second hillclimb. Doing that a number of times in your shortish journey would pull the average down considerably. So, I can believe your 44mpg if you were running in Hybrid mode for the whole journey, which can occur either because the Battery wasn't charged or because your journey was all at speeds over 50mph, but had you started your 30 mile journey with a full Battery and half of the journey was town stuff, you would have got 70 or 80 mpg even with the cold start and hillclimb exercises.

Real world- I've just checked the computer- my Prius' first 4669 miles have used 49 gallons of petrol and 436 KWh of electricity. I usually charge only once overnight on economy 7 tarriff. If I obsessively plugged in at every opportunity I could do quite a lot better than the above figures

Regarding performance, the fact the Prius is so smooth, and the engine note remains constant as the car goes faster, means that you simply can't judge how fast it's going. If I enter a dual carriageway with a 2 litre diesel Mondeo sitting aggressively on my tail, the Mondeo will invariably move straight in to the right hand lane expecting to pass. Occasionally I amuse myself by putting my foot down. The Mondeo driver will edge alongside, then fall back a bit as he changes gear, then edge alongside again, then fall back again. By that time we'll be slightly over the 70 limit so I'll ease off and let him past. Additionally, when jostling for position on a motorway, a foot to the floor gives instant maximum acceleration in a Prius, whereas the Mondeo driver has to accept mediocre acceleration in sixth gear or change down to fourth.

Handbrake, not feeling in control- it's all stuff that clicks within a day or two of owning a Prius- your 100 mile drive would probably have done it.

All the best

Pete

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I guess it's the thing about changing cars and everything is in the wrong place - you go to flash your lights and put the wipers on instead....lol...

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Hi Pete.

No I didn't plug the car in as I don't have a 13 Amp socket on a dedicated circuit in my garage.

I guess the handbrake would have become more familiar and that I would after a few days become used to the automatic transmission.

I guess that I don't have a heavy right foot, maybe I should have driven it harder in my "will it pull up a hill test."

I really wanted to enjoy driving the car and had high expectations of driving it.

As for choosing not to do the 100 mile journey in the Prius, the weather forecast was for bad weather the next day, I felt it would be wiser to make the journey in a car that I felt relaxed driving. As it was, I found driving the Prius to be a stressful experience due to my lack of experience driving automatic transmission vehicles.

My last car was an 09 Avensis D4D Tourer, I put 150k miles on it in just under 4 years, I have the mondeo as a temporary car.

Doing that sort of mileage, yes, it's mainly motorways & A roads. In the almost 4 years that I drove the Avensis, I never had cause to complain about anything to do with the car, it was comfortable, economical, reliable, torquey, powerful enough and at 150k miles, there were no rattles or squeaks and it felt just as it did on the day it was delivered. I even managed to get 56k miles out of a pair of front tyres (Michelin Energy) so that must indicate I don't have a heavy right foot.

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Closed at request of thread originator

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