2016 Toyota Prius: Monthly Update for March 2017
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
More city driving in our 2016 Toyota Prius! But unlike last month, we actually used more than one tankful of fuel. There was also some highway driving thrown into the mix to make things more interesting.
For some of our editors, this is now their third or fourth time in the Prius, which means more familiarity. This brings different observations and the initial knee-jerk reactions have mostly faded away. We were able to utilize the cargo space, play with the in-car technology system, and generally just experience the car as a real-world owner would.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Thanks to a combination of lead-footed drivers and long highway miles, we haven't been able to break out of this spell of averaging 48 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 48
EPA mpg rating: 52 combined (54 city/50 highway)
Best fill mpg: 57.2
Best range: 468.5 miles
Current odometer: 9,425 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I like how smooth and quiet the Prius' hybrid powertrain is at switching between gas and pure electric drive. If you're driving around town, doing your thing and have the stereo on, chances are you'll never notice all the wizardry happening underneath the hood." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
"While I wouldn't say I 'enjoy' driving our Toyota Prius around town, I'm nonetheless impressed with how efficiently and effectively it goes about getting the job done. Here's why: 1) It's easy to see out of through the windshield and front side windows; 2) It feels light and agile when zipping around turns or parking lots; 3) Getting in and out is easy, and the driver seat is comfortable; 4) On top of all this, it gets admirable 50-plus mpg as long as you're not driving it like it's a racecar." — Brent Romans
"Why, oh why, are the visors not extendable? I drive north in the evening and south in the morning so the sun was toasting my left eyeball for a good two hours." — Will Kaufman, Associate Automotive Editor
"I drove our long-term Prius about 250 miles on the highway today. It strikes me as an adequate long-distance companion. It's stable at high speed, and the ride quality is comfortable. For my four hours or so on the road, the driver seat was OK for comfort. But I'm not as fond of the Prius' elevated amount of wind noise. It's not a quiet cabin at 70-plus mph. Then again, the Prius isn't meant to be a marathon highway cruiser. Overall, I'm fine driving it for a few hours on the highway, but anything more would likely get tiresome." — Brent Romans
"Our Prius gives you a score for your climate-control choices, but it doesn't seem very smart. With the sun shining on my face and my jacket still on, I quickly warmed up even though it was 55 degrees outside. My response was to turn the A/C off, set the temperature to 'LO,' and turn up the fan to about half-power. In that configuration, the only thing drawing power should be the fan motor — no A/C compressor and no heater core. Yet I received the lowest possible score from the Prius. Changing the fan speed had no effect on my score. The score seems to be linked to your temperature choice instead of how much power you're actually drawing from the system ... so what's really the point?" — Will Kaufman
"The Prius certainly gives you plenty of information to get your eco-geek on if you want to. You can bring up various readouts in both the central touchscreen and driver information displays. Some of it is just pure fuel economy information while other functions 'score' your driving to tell you how efficient you have been. My favorite is the daily mpg report. If you're commuting to the same location every day, you can use this feature to easily compare different routes or driving styles and how they influence the Prius' fuel efficiency." — Brent Romans
"I like the ease of which I can load grocery bags into the cargo area of our long-term Toyota Prius. The hatchback opens wide, and the cargo area is big enough to hold perhaps seven or eight reusable bags. But I've also noticed that the hatchback isn't the easiest to close. With the hatchback fully open, its grab handle is positioned 2 to 5 inches higher in the air than those of many other hatchbacks or liftgates on crossover SUVs. The Prius' hatchback is kind of heavy to close, too. For somebody of shorter stature, this could be a frequent annoyance." — Brent Romans