2016 Toyota Prius: Better Road-Trip Car Than Ever
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on June 29, 2016
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the 2016 Toyota Prius is night-and-day better on a road trip than its predecessors. To be honest, I've had an appreciation for this car since the second-generation model (the first hatchback) came out a decade ago. The Prius catches a lot of flack from the cognoscenti, but I've always seen it as a roomy, practical hatchback that rides softly and oh yeah, gets 50 mpg. Those are great road-trip credentials, and you don't have to buy the new fourth-generation car to enjoy them.
Having said that, there's no doubt that the latest Prius is more stable at highway speeds than earlier models. It's got more gravitas, you might say, even though it actually lost a few pounds in the redesign.
In my experience, cars either inspire confidence on the open road or they don't. Previous Priuses never gave me that confidence, despite the strengths mentioned above. But the new one's got what it takes. As noted in our full review, there are a few specific changes that could explain this, including a lower, wider stance and a new double-wishbone rear suspension. The quieter interior helps, too, adding to the overall sense of refinement.
Whatever's going on here, it's all good in terms of the driving experience. The Prius took three hikers to Big Pine and back — that's three-plus hours each way — and we were favorably impressed by the car's comfort and composure. I was a little hesitant to pick the Toyota ahead of the more predictable road-trip cars in our fleet, but I won't be next time.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 3,108 miles