Over the weekend I rented a 2010 Prius ... I've written up a review but before posting it want to get some second opinions about it.
Basically it's a fine car and maybe if I wasn't so much of an EV bigot I'd actually like it. Well, maybe not.. one flaw was that the roof descends so far in front and pack that it cuts down the vertical field of view and I kept feeling like I had to scrunch down to have a decent view of what's going on around me.
Anyway - about its hybrid/EV system which I just found so completely pathetic.
Somehow I made it through the last 11 yrs without ever getting to even ride in a hybrid car much less drive one. I've driven the EV1 a couple times, other electric cars, and of course own my fleet of electric bicycles, scooters, motorcycle, etc. In 1999 I was on the waiting list to buy either an Honda Insight or Toyota Prius (the 1st gen of both) but the timing was wrong. This was my first experience with a Hybrid.
This version of the Prius has an EV Only button (I understand earlier ones didn't have the button, but it was in the control system and is part of the usual plug-in prius conversion). Selecting the button I could only go to 25 miles/hr in EV mode, and EV mode lasted for only 2 blocks or so. How completely useless is that!!!!?!?!?
The battery pack only charges from regenerative braking. It doesn't charge from the engine during normal driving. You can't plug it in to recharge the pack. This isn't rocket science - as the 3rd party conversions have shown, it's relatively simple to convert existing Prius's to be plug-in. In any case this falls into the "completely useless" EV system observation.
There is an Eco mode but while it does limit acceleration it gave no discernable benefit.
Somehow the car routinely showed a claimed miles/gallon in the 50-100 mpg range on the dashboard widget. Not sure how they did so with such a pathetic EV system.
Basically I'm unimpressed and am confused how this is such a popular car. I came away from it thinking Toyota produced it with a deeply flawed EV mode purposely to confuse the public into believing that EV's can only be slow boring golf carts. But maybe I'm missing something. Probably someone here has a Prius and can explain a different point of view.