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Gen 4 Prius Plug In


RichSH
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I swapped out of an V6 Audi A4 Avant to this which may seem like a crazy thing to do but I became increasingly intolerant of the appalling ride quality and lack of (legal) opportunity to use the performance and , having read the Autocar long term test of the Plug In, decided to try one as it seemed like it would suit my everyday needs. Toyota Stratford were excellent and let me have their demonstrator for the day so I could really get a feel for the car. What struck me straightaway was the amazing ride quality - it was like someone had resurfaced the roads when I wasn't looking - and the excellent overall refinement, especially in EV mode. Excel spec meant it had all  the toys I wanted and a good deal was done on a car sourced elsewhere in the dealer network.

After a month my impressions are:

Good

It rides better than any car I've had in 20 years

Average fuel economy is a barely believable 131mpg, including a good amount of motorway driving and I don't drive like I'm on an eco run.

30 miles in EV mode is easily achievable which covers a good proportion of my day to day pottering about. Recharging from the household supply is under 3 hours (flat to fully charged)

Refinement. It's so quiet although there's a bit of road noise (probably because the car is so quiet overall).

Fab sound system.

Stunningly good headlights.

Bad

Boot space is silly. If Hyundai can figure out how to produce a plug in Ioniq with decent boot space, Toyota should be able to.

Horn. So embarrassingly skweaky I try not to use it. Upgrade imminent!

 

Overall, this is an excellent car and one I would not have considered if it hadn't been for the Autocar test.

 

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You'd have thought hybrid scepticism would have died out by no, but no, people just can't get their heads around them, that combined with a hefty dose of misinformation floating about, it means people have been missing out. 

Good on you for having a test drive, they are great cars. 

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Hi Richard, interesting you mention the car is so quiet though there is some road noise.  I had my Gen4 now for a month and I find it very quiet except for what I put down to road noise. The tyres on my Gen 4 are TOYO which I think are one of the standard fits.  As soon as they need replacing, even though it may be the 2 front first I will be fitting alternatives and my current choice would be 15" Dunlop Sport Blue Response.  Just wondering what make your tyres are.

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12 minutes ago, Catlover said:

...my current choice would be 15" Dunlop Sport Blue Response...

by coincidence, I'm having 2 of these fitted to my car at the 30k service in the morning.  The old rear tyres will go on the front, and when they wear down to 3mm I'll get 2 more Dunlops.

I did exactly the same on my last Gen 3 Prius, and one of the reasons I chose the Dunlops was their 68 dB noise rating.  It didn't make a noticeable difference when I had just 2 on the rear, but once all four were fitted the car was much quieter on all but the roughest surfaces.

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I hope to be a Plug-In owner myself soon. Originally, it was going to be my wife's car but she can have my GS and I'll take the Plug-In. It's actually a more comfortable ride!

I'm pleased to see another positive comment about the headlights as I've not tested them myself, and for much of the year I drive in the dark. They are a key selling point over the standard hybrid for me, although that might have more to do with the fact that they just look super-cool to someone who remembers the old Alfa SZ. Shame about the lack of headlamp washers and a proper Off switch, though.

Regarding road noise, I've driven two Plug-Ins - one on Toyo Nanoenergy tyres and one on Bridgestone Ecopias. Although it was a few weeks between the two tests, it was my impression that the one on Toyos was quieter than the one on Bridgestones. However, noise is a terribly subjective thing, as different people are sensitive to different frequencies. It's also possible that having been so impressed with the quietness and comfort the first time (with the one on Toyos), I'd artificially inflated my expectations of the second one.

I do have a bit of an obsession with road noise, probably thanks to tinnitus. It's an aspect that is almost never mentioned in car reviews, other than a cursory note, yet can make a huge impact on overall comfort. On those occasions where cabin noise is brought up, it's almost always a comment based on engine noise. My GS might well be 'near-silent' as some reviews suggested, if you compare it to a 5-series or E-class with a clattering diesel up front. However, it still suffers from considerable tyre roar. 

The official tyre noise ratings are also not as useful as they should be, because they are a measure of external drive-by noise, rather than what you hear in the cabin. It has been suggested that some manufacturers even tune their tyres to deflect noise into the wheelarch, to get a better official drive-by rating that actually generates more cabin noise! 

I have therefore concluded that when it comes to choosing a quiet tyre (or an economical one for that matter), paying attention to any other sources of information, whether they be EU ratings, journalists or random forum posters, is completely futile and the only solution is to take a punt, hope for the best and see what happens. After consistent disappointment and several sidewall failures, I would also add 'and avoid anything by Goodyear'. Of course, my opinions are just as worthless as any other source of information and should therefore be ignored.

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2 hours ago, Ten Ninety said:

After consistent disappointment and several sidewall failures, I would also add 'and avoid anything by Goodyear'.

I'm on my second set of Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance and haven't had any problems, though they are 15" tyres.

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2 hours ago, Catlover said:

No doubt Pete will let us know how the Dunlops perform as he is having fitted today. Interesting, Jay, that you think the Bridgestone is nosier then the Toyo.

Like I said, pay no attention to me! Noise is such a subjective thing.

To be honest, tyres in general are a really subjective thing, and here's a perfect example...

1 hour ago, QuantumFireball said:

I'm on my second set of Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance and haven't had any problems, though they are 15" tyres.

It''s a funny old game, isn't it? I ran those on my Gen3 when I moved to 15" wheels and absolutely hated them. I found that as B-rated 15" tyres they delivered worse economy than I'd got on C-rated 17" Michelins, I thought they made the car drive like a blancmange and I found that they wore out ridiculously quickly. To be fair, they were quieter than the (noisy) Michelins when I first put them on, but even that didn't last once they were scrubbed in! Yet clearly, your experience is different, which suggests again that none of us should pay any attention to anything we each say about tyres! 

In the interests of accuracy, I should perhaps point out that I didn't have sidewall failures on those particular tyres - that was with the 17" F1s I put on my wife's Auris. Two were lost to bulging in less than two years and a third destroyed itself completely after an encounter with a pothole on the A11, because of catastrophic sidewall failure. 

Sadly I also put F1s on my GS before the above happened, but frankly I'll be glad if they start self-destructing because the terrible, terrible rolling resistance (yeah, the same rolling resistance that scored highly in all the 'independent' reviews) is costing me £5-10 a week in extra fuel compared to the Bridgestones (with the same official Eco rating) they replaced. 

So no more Goodyear for me, ever. Of course, quite literally, your mileage may vary...

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I don't have a good point of reference for fuel economy as I changed the tyres soon after buying the car (some Chinese muck on the front when I got it, and random stuff on the back), but I find the noise, grip and handling OK. I had to replace two of them due to uneven wear after about 16k miles (two on one side affected due to being rotated), but the other two are up to about 20k now.

From what I've seen, the EU tyre label ratings aren't that useful at all.

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3 hours ago, Ten Ninety said:

Like I said, pay no attention to me! Noise is such a subjective thing.

To be honest, tyres in general are a really subjective thing, and here's a perfect example...

It''s a funny old game, isn't it? I ran those on my Gen3 when I moved to 15" wheels and absolutely hated them. I found that as B-rated 15" tyres they delivered worse economy than I'd got on C-rated 17" Michelins, I thought they made the car drive like a blancmange and I found that they wore out ridiculously quickly. To be fair, they were quieter than the (noisy) Michelins when I first put them on, but even that didn't last once they were scrubbed in! Yet clearly, your experience is different, which suggests again that none of us should pay any attention to anything we each say about tyres! .

Tyres don't stand still even during their production lives - the manufacturers tweak them all the time. Iirc there was a classic example of this a year or 2 ago with (again iirc) a Continental where its performance improved drastically over the period that it was in production.

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12 hours ago, Catlover said:

No doubt Pete will let us know how the Dunlops perform as he is having fitted today...

Not much to report, really.  After the service, I drove a further 226 miles, about half in heavy rain.

Just as when I first fitted two on my last Prius, I couldn't detect any difference by ear from before.  The remaining two Bridgestones had about 4½ mm remaining, so I'll see how close they are to 3mm when I get the winter tyres put on early November.  I hope, as before, once I have all four fitted I'll see an improvement, but I have to say even on the standard Bridgestones noise levels (to me) aren't at all bad except on rough surfaces.

As I did my research for the original purchase around November 2013, I looked up the reviews and compared ratings all over again, but the Dunlops still seemed to come out well so I went for them again.

Once surprise, when they took one of the old tyres off they found the Tyre Pressure Warning System sensor was coming apart (though still working).  They replaced it under warranty, and said it was a very unusual fault.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to go on about tyres again (yawn!), but after inspecting my tyres today I see that I shall need to replace the fronts very shortly (rears are ok). Looking at Dunlop Blue Response I note that they quote a profile of 50 (215/50/17W), whereas my current Toyo OE tyres are 215/45/17. 

Anyone know if it would be permissible to run the 2 Dunlops on the front while retaining the Toyos on the rear, or do I need to change all 4 to keep the same profile all round? 

And would the '50' as opposed to '45' make an audible difference, as IMO road noise amplified inside the car is the one thing that reduces enjoyment of driving it? 

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