2016 Toyota Prius: Monthly Update for September 2018
by Caroline Pardilla, Senior Copy Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Even though our 2016 Toyota Prius has proven itself a dependable road-tripper, surprisingly it sat out Labor Day weekend and stuck around town throughout September. Editor Mark Takahashi signed it out for a weekend, however, appreciating it as a green alternative to his gas-guzzling and pollution-prone vintage Thunderbird. His experience was only dampened by the Prius' overcautious tendencies and persistent "blind spot monitor system malfunction" notification.
No, we haven't tended to that issue yet, but our fleet manager Mike Schmidt is on the case, trying to get in touch with our body shop. Hopefully we'll have an update and fix by next month.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our blue fuel-sipper only accrued 416.7 miles in September, requiring just one fill-up of 8.1 gallons. This didn't move the needle one way or the other for our average lifetime mpg. It's less than the EPA rating, but the Prius remains impressive with consistent returns of nearly 50 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 49.5
EPA mpg rating: 52 combined (54 city/50 highway)
Best fill mpg: 57.2
Best range: 521 miles
Current odometer: 26,557 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
We received a recall notice about an engine wire harness that may chafe and cause a short, increasing the risk of fire. More than 192,000 Toyota Priuses from the 2016-2018 model years are potentially affected, but our car isn't one of them. Toyota will contact owners of affected cars via snail mail. The repair itself, which is performed free of charge, simply consists of installing a protective sleeve or tape to prevent future damage. The NHTSA campaign number is 18V579000 (Toyota's number for this recall is J0T) and is expected to begin on October 30.
"Last weekend, the Prius was my carbon offset. I've been spending an increasing amount of time driving my personal car, which is an old '50s classic with no emissions control. It's fine around town, but I had to make a quick trip about 40 miles north and had already inhaled my allotment of fumes for the week.
"I took a peek at the car signout sheet and the Prius was still available on Saturday morning. As much as I love my Thunderbird, it was refreshing to have air conditioning and go unnoticed on the road and when I park. It's also worth noting that the Prius essentially triples the fuel economy of the 'Bird." — Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor
"In general, Toyota errs on the side of safety. That's fine if you're a new driver or just not very confident behind the wheel. For veteran drivers, it can be a little annoying. Personally, it's somewhat aggravating. I back vehicles into my parking spot at home, right up next to one of my motorcycles, and have a little bendy sign to indicate how close I am.
"In the Prius, the emergency braking kicks in when I'm about a foot away and jams on the brakes. It's jarring. Then I continue backing up very slowly until I'm a few inches away.
"Then there's the latest warning, telling us that the blind-spot monitor is malfunctioning. OK, that's a good thing to know when you start up the car, but that warning remains lit on the instrument panel. You can use the other readouts that normally take that space, but a few seconds later, it reverts to the warning. I get it, we'll take care of it; now let me get back to the normal modes, all right?" — Mark Takahashi