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In praise of Prius Generation 4


mysecondavensis
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The Prius Gen 4

 

Although many of the descriptions here apply to all versions of the Prius gen 4, driving impressions and results are of my Business Edition Plus with 15” wheels and Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 195/65R15 91H tyres.   This is my view -you may find it ‘dogmatic’ and biased but you’re allowed to love your car!

 

 

 

Hybrid cars have never been understood by most motoring journalists and motorists so their benefits have not been appreciated. As a consequence much pollution has and is being generated by out of date propulsion technology. The Toyota system (Hybrid Synergy Drive) is the most effective system for propelling a car efficiently over daily mixed driving.   The Prius is the best example of a hybrid for this purpose, but this has not been widely realised because most do not understand the issues.  Having read many reviews and explanations of the hybrid drive system it is clear that it is not understood, and its advantages not explained.

The Prius generation 4 is the most efficient car which does not plug in.

It is second in low pollution to the i3, an electric car.  There is no range anxiety with the Prius as you can go many hundreds of miles on a tank of petrol, which only takes a few minutes to fill.  Practical journeys of hundreds of miles with a family and their luggage are easily possible.  It is important to note that it is a very clean petrol/electric hybrid.  The Prius is affordable and intended to be used in everyday motoring, not a manufacturer’s attempt to include a low emission vehicle in their range.

In regard to it being a very clean petrol/electric hybrid, drivers have been erroneously encouraged to buy Diesel powered cars in the mistaken belief that they were low polluters simply on good mpg thus low CO2, and now Governments around the world are having to find ways to discourage use of Diesel power particularly in urban areas where the majority live.   The discussion has now started to mention the high level of poisonous NOx emissions from diesel engines and the carcinogenic soot from diesel exhausts.

The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive is a near perfect way to power a passenger car.  Continual development means it is refined, efficient, smooth and quiet.  It is nice to know that with such driving pleasure comes excellent economy, low pollution, low tax and low maintenance costs.

The gen 4 Prius is fresh and dramatically styled both inside and out. To me a cross between luxury car and stealth fighter.

It makes most cars seem very old -fashioned, and is very smooth and pleasant to travel in.

The entire engine/motors/transmission/controller is a brilliant compact package.   Unlike conventional drive trains, both manual and automatic, the Prius has no clutch, or gears to shift, therefore no clutch mechanism and gearshift mechanism.  There is no starter motor to engage, nor fan belt and water pump belt, which are all sources of problems in old-fashioned cars.  Imagine an old-fashioned manual car starting up.  First a noisy starter is engaged and a little churning goes on until the engine fires.  Then gears are crunched and the clutch is let up to allow a jerky take-off, unless of course the engine is stalled and the car stuck, while the whole process is repeated.  A few seconds later another gear has to be selected and the clutch engaged to try a smooth gearchange.

There is no gear lever as no gears are “shifted”; forward and reverse motion are selected by a switch when stationary. Take-off is accomplished by electric power and is smooth and continuous, with no risk of stalling.  At traffic lights it is not necessary to keep the Prius in “gear” (that is switched to drive) as it sits silently until Drive is selected and this can be done more quickly than many drivers sitting with their foot on the clutch and their car burning fuel, can engage the clutch and move off.

On the road the car is very easy and pleasing to drive.  The certain availability of torque to propel the car makes daily driving easier and worry free.   The electronic driver aids such as radar cruise control, lane warning and blind spot monitoring are a great help to safe driving and reduce the load on the driver. The head up display has always been a favourite of mine, although originally regarded as a gimmick by some motoring journalists.

The Prius is very convenient in everyday use, from the ease of entry with the keyless system to the ability to carry large items occasionally. The ride and handling are very good and as mentioned noise levels are low.  It is often not obvious whether the petrol engine is running.   Driving on the road or turning in tight spaces is easy and the car is very easy to manoeuvre.  When necessary it parks itself accurately with minimal input from the driver.

The car is technically a great achievement from Toyota, who have been steadily developing the future of motoring for some years.

package.jpg

The entire engine transmission and two electric motors integrated into a compact unit

 

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That is a good write up and I agree with all you have written. You are correct about folk not understanding Hybrid cars.

Some things I find a bit frustrating are: To check tyre pressures on the Gen 4 is more awkward than the Gen 3; Wheel trims are not that easy to remove. Storage space is less than the Gen 3 especially under the rear "floor". . Auto headlights!!  Updating the Sat Nav on all Toyota cars is frustrating.unless Mr T does it for you.

I have owned many makes of cars. The Toyota cars I have owned are Avensis, Gen 2 Prius, Gen 3 Prius and now Gen 4 Prius business edition with latest Sat /Nav.. The Prius cars are the best I have ever owned and the dealers I have dealt with have been very good and helpful.

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2 hours ago, mysecondavensis said:

It makes most cars seem very old -fashioned...

The entire engine/motors/transmission/controller is a brilliant compact package...

There is no gear lever as no gears are “shifted”; forward and reverse motion are selected by a switch when stationary. Take-off is accomplished by electric power and is smooth and continuous, with no risk of stalling.  At traffic lights it is not necessary to keep the Prius in “gear” (that is switched to drive) as it sits silently until Drive is selected and this can be done more quickly than many drivers sitting with their foot on the clutch and their car burning fuel, can engage the clutch and move off.

On the road the car is very easy and pleasing to drive...

The Prius is very convenient in everyday use...

The car is technically a great achievement from Toyota, who have been steadily developing the future of motoring for some years.

I also agree with all of this.  Having owned all four generations, I still don't want to even drive anything for a single day.

If Hybrids had never been invented yet, and the original Gen 1 Prius was launched tomorrow as the first of a new technology, I'd be first in the queue for one

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A very nice and good write up.

Thank you for your insight.

I own the Gen 2 T Spirit and would not want to drive a "conventional" car again.

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7 minutes ago, Sooty said:

...I own the Gen 2 T Spirit and would not want to drive a "conventional" car again.

I've chatted to many owners around the world since my first Gen 1 Prius in 2002 and this is such a common feeling amongst those who've tried them (including me).  Many take a test drive, or go in someone else's, and then just have to get one.  Always the exceptions, of course.

Another common comment (also including from me) is that the Hybrid creates a calmer driver - not so much speeding, less aggressive acceleration. - not because it can't, but because of the sense of peace and tranquillity it instils.  And partly because of the wealth of information it feeds back (especially on later models) makes one more aware of the fuel consumed.

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I'm glad you like it.  I wrote this to extol the Prius’s virtues as so many reviews don’t appear to get it at all.

Of course all cars might have something that the owner will dislike or find inconvenient but overall I find the joy of Prius ownership eclipses any minor niggles.

PeteB, I entirely agree with your view on the calmer driver.  This is a real effect and I recall the advert a year or two back which cited research in an Italian city that stress levels were lower in the Toyota Hybrid drivers.

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1 hour ago, PeteB said:

I've chatted to many owners around the world since my first Gen 1 Prius in 2002 and this is such a common feeling amongst those who've tried them (including me).  Many take a test drive, or go in someone else's, and then just have to get one.  Always the exceptions, of course.

Another common comment (also including from me) is that the Hybrid creates a calmer driver - not so much speeding, less aggressive acceleration. - not because it can't, but because of the sense of peace and tranquillity it instils.  And partly because of the wealth of information it feeds back (especially on later models) makes one more aware of the fuel consumed.

I agree with calmer, last week I was so relaxed whilst sat in stop start traffic, that I was startled when the ICE fired up, as the traffic was crawling and the Battery had got low. :smile:

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When i was looking to replace my Astra with an automatic hatchback (or estate) with decent mpg, i was looking at a gen2 prius (as well as diesel automatics). When I was ready to buy, the gen3 prius had just arrived in the UK.  An afternoon test drive in a gen3 and there was no contest.  The order was placed when I got back to the showroom.  For a reliable automatic, a Toyota hybrid is hard to beat (my wife now has a hybrid Yaris rather than an auto petrol or diesel car).

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Just now, johalareewi said:

...New Yaris is a bit bigger but has less storage space.

and I can't even get in the back - the much smaller 2000 model was brilliant for flexible passenger space, with more rear legroom than an Auris (unless you slid the seats well forward for a big boot).  Plus I just can't cope with old fashioned dials anymore.

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The only bad thing about the hybrid Yaris vs the older auto Yaris she had is the vanishing storage spaces.  Old Yaris has loads of storage (and sliding rear seats).  New Yaris is a bit bigger but has less storage space.

 

It reminds me of the opposite to the tardis, looks big on outside and smaller on inside. I could have done with the moveable rear seats to get a wheelchair in.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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That's a very good write up which sums up my feelings completely. Once you've owned a Prius, you never want to drive anything else.

I've owned a Gen 3 Prius, a Auris Excel Hybrid and now the Gen 4. What I love about the Prius is it has been built from the ground up to be a true hybrid. The Auris, although nice to drive was basically the same as all the other models in the range and wasn't optimised to be a true Hybrid. I first noted this when lifting the bonnet, it was really heavy being steel (The prius is light aluminium). The underneath was just like a standard Auris, unlike the Gen 4 which is completely smooth.

I kinds felt I wasn't driving a true Hybrid after owning a Gen 3 and longed to have another Prius.

Don't misunderstand me, although all the Toyota Hybrids are brilliant, they save on fuel, are quiet and relaxing to drive, the Prius is the only true model built from the bottom up to be a full blooded Hybrid car and I missed it so much. 

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On 12/05/2017 at 10:00 AM, mysecondavensis said:

 

  At traffic lights it is not necessary to keep the Prius in “gear” (that is switched to drive) as it sits silently until Drive is selected and this can be done more quickly than many drivers sitting with their foot on the clutch and their car burning fuel, can engage the clutch and move off.

package.jpg

The entire engine transmission and two electric motors integrated into a compact unit

 

I'm confused by that part,  Are you saying that every time you stop at traffic lights you put it in neutral or whatever?

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2 hours ago, birdseye said:

I'm confused by that part,  Are you saying that every time you stop at traffic lights you put it in neutral or whatever?

he may be talking about two possibilities:

  1. while stopped with the foot pressing sufficiently firmly on the service brake (main brake pedal), all power to the wheels is cut, and the engine is normally off unless needed to heat the car or charge the HV Battery
     
  2. when stopped for a bit longer, one can select P(ark) (plus parking brake if on an incline), to relieve the left foot and get the bright red lights out for the face of the driver behind.  I often do this once happy I'm unlikely to be rear-ended).
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24 minutes ago, PeteB said:

he may be talking about two possibilities:

  1. while stopped with the foot pressing sufficiently firmly on the service brake (main brake pedal), all power to the wheels is cut, and the engine is normally off unless needed to heat the car or charge the HV battery
     
  2. when stopped for a bit longer, one can select P(ark) (plus parking brake if on an incline), to relieve the left foot and get the bright red lights out for the face of the driver behind.  I often do this once happy I'm unlikely to be rear-ended).

Yes PeteB, 1. you're right, but I do mean 2.  

I don't see the need to sit pressing a pedal for ages and I do not appreciate to have lazy people's brake lights in my face.  That gets tiring in a city.  When I learned to drive the handbrake was used.    Of course in constant stop start to put it into P(ark)  is not sensible. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In automatics with traditional linear selectors, putting it in park while in traffic is discouraged as it can increase wear (not sure with what exactly) and you have to go through R to get to P so your reverse lights flash, and you look like crazy person. The latter doesn't happen with the Prius, but I'm not sure about potential wear. If I'm stuck in traffic for any length I'm more likely to use N+parking brake, but I'm not sure if that's any better either (I know there are risks with very low SOC by doing this).

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19 hours ago, QuantumFireball said:

If I'm stuck in traffic for any length I'm more likely to use N+parking brake, ... (I know there are risks with very low SOC by doing this).

Way back in the dim and distant past, pretty sure there was a post on here from someone who let their HV Battery SOC go low while in N and the HSD fired up the ICE and charged the HV Battery.

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I've driven past a few Gen 4s now (they seem quite rare compared to the Gen 2/3), and they are SO QUIET! Even at highway speeds, you can't hear them passing (even other Yaris Hybrids make a little bit of noise as they pass, though even they are much quieter than conventional cars).

The Yaris is proving itself to be very fuel efficient, but I'm still envious of Prius owners!!!

My unscientific observation seems to be, passing them at highway speeds:

* Yaris is almost quiet
* Auris are quiet(er)
* Prius are positively b****y stealthy! :laugh:

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