Monday, November 14, 2016

Used Car Review - Toyota Prius (2009-2016)

Revisiting in what could be a game changer is Myk Belmonte's duty for today.

2009-2016 Toyota Prius

Once upon a time, there was a car named Toyota Prius whose original concept can be traced from an exhibit at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show which was followed by a testing a year later. The first generation model, which utilized a sedan body, went on sale in December 1997 in Japan which became the first mass market hybrid vehicle and worldwide launch happened at the turn of the millennium. Because of its popularity with environmentalists and became popular when fuel prices shot up, the Prius family was expanded to include a smaller version known as the Prius c (or Aqua in Japan), Prius V wagon, and the Prius plug-in hybrid.

Running on its third generation model, the XW30 Prius continued on with its hatchback body with a debut at the 2009 North American International Auto Show and sales started in May 2009 for the Japanese market. There were 1,000 patents that had filed for this model and several changes for this model happened which includes a bump in engine displacement to 1.8 liters, a change of transaxle to THS III, and had used a new range of plant-derived ecological bioplastics extracted from the wood's cellulose with kenaf and ramie as its principal crops. Interestingly enough, this generation saw the launch of the full Prius family for worldwide consumption.

While the XW20 model was brought in for testing purposes, it was this model that had its official launch and was the first hybrid car to be sold here. While the motoring press jumped for joy, the regular folks cannot afford due to its prohibitive price no thanks to taxes. While it wasn't a big seller, we can now consider this one as a niche vehicle with a niche market.

Value and Costs
Priced at P2.2M when it was brand new, the Prius had only a few units sold throughout its life (estimates fall in less than 100 units or so) which means finding one at the used market could be difficult. If you want one, then you may have to shell out P800,000 for a decent unit.

Since this is a hybrid, fuel consumption is excellent and will beat out any vehicle sold in the market. When it comes to hybrid parts especially for the battery pack, you have to go to your nearest Toyota dealer for stocks or order online. A recall in February 2010 was issued to install a modified ABS management program due to reports of slight delay in braking by owners.

Exterior and Interior
Retaining its hatchback body and its familiar silhouette that we know since 2004, this generation gained cutting edge looks with lines that is meant to lower fuel consumption due to drag coefficient which Toyota painstakingly spent lots of hours on this aspect alone. In the end, you get something decent looking while saving more on the pump without being mistaken for a science project back in high school.

The interior is now more car than something science related (do we see a chemistry here?) since it is accommodating plus high quality materials greet occupants. The dashboard has a floating design reminiscent of the Swedish and the center display cluster is situated above which drivers can read vital statistics like if you are running on battery or gasoline. Lastly, a joystick inspired transmission shift remains there.

All Prius (or Prii as Toyota calls it as its plural form) models come with a 2ZR-FXE 1.8 gasoline which has 98hp at 5,200rpm and 142Nm at 4,000rpm on tap. Drive below 40km/h, you'll be treated to some sound of silence while going beyond that will have the conventional engine kick in. Utilizing an Atkison cycle, it prioritizes fuel consumption over optimal power and after all, this is a hybrid car. Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Ride transitions from electric power to conventional engine and so forth.

Driving Impressions
Yes, we have to admit this that you wouldn't be buying this beast to have fun. With two motors inside, it can carry you away with three power modes: EV for full electric mode with no noise, ECO mode for economy which adjusts the air-conditioning unit, and Power mode for more throttle response. It is one simple car to drive, no doubt. However, it is heavy and you'll feel this one you have lessen speed since the battery cells and regenerative braking system comes standard.

While this vehicle had some good intentions, no tax exemptions for hybrids limited its appeal and it was a right car that went to a wrong market. At least, Filipinos became aware of the hybrid car and we wish to the Duterte administration to grant incentives for fuel saving cars since our planet is at stake.

The Good:
  • Fuel friendly
  • Spacious
  • Refinement
The Bad:
  • Daunting gauges upfront
  • Not much of a big seller
  • Awkward seating position
The Pick: 1.8

Engine: 1,798cc 2ZR-FXE I4 gasoline hybrid
Power: 98hp @ 5,200rpm
Torque: 142Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 10-16km/L (city), 18-25km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: Continously variable transmission
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P2,250,000
Price (Now): P800,000 (estimated)
Rivals: Lexus CT
On Sale: 2009-August 2016

Toyota Makati - (02) 897-3333

No comments:

Post a Comment