I have to start off this post with a statement; I am impressed, but not impressed all at the same time.
When I arrived Sunday night Hertz asked if I would like a free “upgrade” to Toyota Prius. (Gee, I wonder what I was getting before…) I of course said “Sure!”, as I had never driven one but was interesting in trying this whole “green” thing out.
The second I got into the car I was confused. They definitely should put instructions in there somewhere. Eventually I figured out that I had to take the little black rectangle thing they gave me as a “key” and insert it next to the steering wheel. I then had to hit the Power button twice to “boot up” the car. My on-screen dash was then loaded up with an image of four wheels, the electric motor, gasoline engine and battery level. Kinda cool. After getting the hang of “shifting” into different modes (Park, Drive, Neutral and Reverse) I was on my way.
It took me a while to realize you can’t put the car in reverse unless you power on the car with your foot on the brake. The car makes an obnoxious noise when you put it in reverse. Just like the beeping sound a truck makes. Except you can’t hear the beeping outside of the car. Just inside, when you clearly know that you put it in reverse. And if you didn’t know, the big monitor in front of you which shows the back of your car will remind you.
Today I took the car on the highway. Honestly, aside from the winding sound it makes when you press on the pedal to accelerate quickly, the car got up to speed very quickly and handled speeds around 80mph fairly well. You could tell that the car was extremely light as it kind of gets blow around the highway if you are not careful. It also handles stop and go traffic extremely well. Every time you hit the brakes the energy is transferred from the engine to the battery. So just by driving you are essentially charging your battery. This is definitely a car which was designed for city driving, but handles just fine on the highway.
After about 100 miles of driving, the fuel gauge has not even moved. I’m impressed.
The one thing I truly hate about the car is how it looks. I think the back looks ridiculous. The whole car looks like it is scrunched up, when in-fact it is pretty roomy on the in-side.
Bottom line. Stop making green cars look futuristic for the sake of being futuristic. I just want a car, that looks like a car but uses less gas and is better for our world. Oh, and costs about the same as the regular gasoline versions. When you have a car like that, people will really start to migrate.