2016 Toyota Prius: Monthly Update for April and May 2018
by Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
Stop us if you've heard this one before: "The Prius spent [insert month here] mostly commuting around the Greater Los Angeles area." Until now, we've mostly driven our 2016 Toyota Prius as most Prius owners do: stuck in traffic, letting the engine rest as the battery keeps the car creeping along at low speeds. We haven't made a concerted effort to take it on long road trips.
In April, it was more of the same, and May looked to be no different. That is until Rex decided the Prius would be a suitable partner on his road trip to Oregon. In the process, Rex more than doubled the distance the Prius had driven in any month to date.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
April was rather uneventful, as we traveled fewer than 1,200 miles and averaged 48.2 mpg. May was more interesting. One of our colleagues outside of the Editorial Team managed to match our fuel economy record of 57.2 mpg, while Rex's 3,000-mile road trip illustrated that the Prius is much less efficient at sustained high speeds. While three of his eight fill-ups bested the EPA's 50 mpg highway estimate, four fill-ups fell into the mid- to high 40s. The remaining tank was an abysmally low 38.4 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 49.4
EPA mpg rating: 52 combined (54 city/50 highway)
Best fill mpg: 57.2
Best range: 521 miles
Current odometer: 23,460 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Light bumper damage knocked the blind-spot monitor sensors out of alignment. We'll address this when we take the Prius in for its upcoming 25,000-mile service.
"As long as you're not flooring the pedal or asking for any sort of palpable acceleration, the Prius' powertrain is very quiet. The car is so quiet, in fact, that when you're decelerating with regenerative braking, you hear gear and motor whine. These parts are decelerating at different speeds, which my brain translates as being the police running Code Three." — Calvin Kim, road test engineer
"Welp, apparently I've been driving the Prius incorrectly for months now, and there's a reason why cruise control doesn't work in B mode. Unlike the Volt's L mode (which also increases regenerative brake force when you lift off the throttle), the Prius is not meant to be driven continuously in B mode. Apparently B mode is only appropriate when you want to maximize regen braking while driving downhill, which also might select a higher ratio and rev the engine to utilize engine braking. From the owner's manual: 'If the vehicle is driven continuously in the B position, fuel efficiency will become low. Usually, select the D position.'
"So I've been driving the Prius in the wrong mode for at least six months, which is when I started driving the Bolt in L mode, decided I liked the extra regen force, and found the Prius' B mode did the same thing. Thankfully, I drive the Prius so rarely that choosing this less efficient mode likely has not had any noticeable effect on overall fuel economy. Yet again I earn the Goofus stamp in my search for the elusive Gallant." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"I like wireless charging. I also like where the pad is located is in the Prius. I can run Android Auto on my phone and avoid using Entune. But I found out something I had to keep in mind while on a road trip across state lines. Bumpy roads, which California and Nevada have many of, can send the phone akimbo, disconnecting the inductive link between the phone and the charging pad. When all is well and the phone is square on the pad, I can peer over and see driving directions. Do I secretly like infotainment systems with multiple screens?" — Calvin Kim
"As with many Eco buttons in modern cars, you should never, ever hit the Eco Heat/Cool button on the climate control panel. As far as I can tell, it performs the same function as turning off climate control entirely.
"Ambient temperature was in the mid-50s when I left my house this morning, and I had left the Eco mode on when I turned the car off the day before. The automatic climate system was set to 78 degrees, but the fans didn't kick on at all during the first 5 minutes of my drive. I disabled Eco mode and BAM! — hot air in my face. Spend the extra $2 per year in fuel that this system likely saves and live a little." — Cameron Rogers