The Toyota Prius Plus claims to be Europe’s first fully hybrid seven seater vehicle. It features recognisable styling similar to the original Prius, however it is slightly larger to accommodate seven passengers and features the latest in advanced technology and gadgets. It comes equipped with many gadgest and gizmos, including a high tech sat-nav system complete with three dimensional mapping, coupled with live traffic info services. It also has a new innovative feature installed that is referred to as ‘Eco Route’. This basically offers suggestions to the driver on how best to reach to the intended destination by choosing a route that will ensure maximum fuel efficiency. Another clever feature integrated into the Toyota Prius + is referred to as the Sign Post Motorway option. This feature offers a driver the fastest means with which one can change direction in the event that one has missed or taken a wrong turn.
The Prius Plus also comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, an iPod and MP3 docking station as well as voice recognition. Google Local Search is also standard on the seven seater as well as a touch screen audio system on a centrally placed dash mounted screen. It also has a rear view parking camera which is also displayed on the dashboard screen – very useful for reversing into tight spots.
Practicality of the Prius Plus
The Toyota Prius Plus has had to make significant changes so as to be able to place a third row of seats in the rear. To solve this problem, Toyota ingeniously moved from using Nickel Metal Hydride battery packs to using Lithium ion battery packs – allowing more space to be available for seating. To make for foldable seats at the back which allow for boot space, the Lithium ion battery packs is placed between the front passenger and driver’s seat right under the central console.
This ensured that the dashboard was also remodelled fitted to fit squarely on to rather plain overall design. The car also has a comfortable driving position with the display panel being adjustable for the driver to view data conveniently.
Engine & Fuel Economy
The Prius Plus comes with an 1.8L capacity engine referred to as the Hybrid Synergy Drive and is considered as the most comprehensively advanced full hybrid engine system (HSD). It ideally integrates the 1800cc VVT-I petrol engine with two powerful electric motors which allow for minimal fuel consumption as well as very low carbon emissions and a really powerful but quiet driving experience.
This all new model of the Prius Plus is considered as the ultimate car with regard to carbon emissions and fuel efficiency. The car retails from £26,495, which is quite expensive for a family 7 seater. This entirely hybrid MPV is, however, capable of offering drivers nearly 70 miles per gallon fuel economy and a low carbon emissions ratio of 96 grams for every kilometre. This implies that Prius + drivers are exempt from paying the congestion charge in London as well as being exempt from road tax. The car has a unique aerodynamic design with smoothly flowing roof grooves which allow for a minimal drag coefficient, again maximising fuel efficiency. This not only enhances the cars efficiency but also gives the car a superb shape.
Overall the Toyota Prius Plus is an impressive car in terms of technology, fuel economy, and now with the seven seat model, as a family car. It is the most fuel efficient car in its class. However, its price is a bit on the steep side although it has been argued that the low cost of running car outweighs the slightly higher purchase price.