MPGs are what sets the new Prius 2021 apart | lifestyle


We always look forward to getting a Prius for a week. It always seems to be a competition to see how many miles per gallon we can get out of the original Toyota Hybrid. This week, too, we made it our task to drive the sedan normally, go on a longer road trip and fill up as many kilometers as possible with the tank provided – without having to refill the tank.

So how did we do it? Back to it in just a minute. First, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the history of the Prius. It is now officially 20 years since the uniquely designed hybrid sedan was first introduced to the US market.

If you remember that far back then, everyone was worried about what the new millennium would bring. There would be a complete breakdown of all of our computer systems and the word hybrid would have nothing to do with cars.

Toyota comes up with this completely new idea with the introduction of the Prius as a hybrid – partly gasoline, partly electric sedan. Do you look your best? Not really. Did you perform the advertised service? Yes, they actually did!

Toyota has not only brought this new technology to market, but has developed it even further by adding many more hybrids to their product line. We have become huge fans of the entire line over the years as they always hit the listed MPG numbers and things are usually much better off.

After a week we had accumulated 557 miles on the Prius. A big part of that is thanks to the fact that we had it over Memorial Day Holiday and managed to average 58.3 mpg. More importantly, the information center told us we had 54 miles left to empty.

Considering the Prius we had for a week only has a 10.6 gallon fuel tank, this seemed like quite an accomplishment! Except for a long journey of nearly 200 miles on Saturday that took us through Sanpete County to Gunnison and back to Nephi before returning to Springville, everything ran through town and across Utah County for the miles.

The Prius, as we expected, did much better in the city. It could use the electric motors far more than on the road. We actually had four of our seven days where we averaged over 64 mpg and one day we got there 68 mpg over 70 miles of driving.

On the Saturday of our longer trip we were mostly over 55 mph and including 80 mph on the freeway, we were still averaging 54.6 for the day! With gasoline prices now over $ 3 per gallon, this type of mileage was just over 6 cents per mile.

The EPA says the XLE AWD version of the Prius should only get around 49 mpg, so again we were very impressed.

This fuel-sipping technology has its price. You pay in the energy department as the Prius is not designed to break records. The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine developed only 96 hp. Combine that with the electric motors for a total of 121 horsepower and 105 ft.-lbs. of the torque. We found that maintaining 80 mph on the freeway had no problem, however the MPG numbers would drop significantly if the trip was further than the 30 miles we were driving.

Over the years, the Prius has evolved in its design. It has evolved from a quirky look to a far more mainstream exterior but still retains the uniqueness that sets it apart. With over 147,000 units hitting a high point of sale in the US in 2012, those numbers have declined due to competition and increased entry into the hybrid market.

Inside the new Prius was all about owner comfort with Softex-clad seating surfaces that were heated in the front to help out on cold winter days. What more could you ask for besides a heated steering wheel?

There was room for five, though with three people in the seat the backrest would get tight. The few times we had our daughter Sadie with us, she never complained about a lack of space in the back seat.

The Prius sits lower than the average sedan to help with higher mileage, but we never had a problem getting in and out. We felt completely relaxed after our two hour drive. The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system was easy to use and perfectly integrated into the dashboard for the driver or front passenger to operate.

It could be easily connected to our phones and was even equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There was even an included wireless phone charger that worked to charge through our phone cases, unlike other vehicles where we had to remove our covers for the phone to charge wirelessly. This was easy and became a habit of simply placing one of our phones on the charger when we sat down.

With the advanced technology package ($ 800) came a gorgeous full-color heads-up display. We loved this option as it placed a speedometer right in front of the driver. This isn’t usually a big deal, but since its inception, the Prius’ instrument cluster has been in the high center of the dashboard.

This always took some getting used to as it was so different from most vehicles. Having the heads-up display right on the windshield took away any fear we would have had if we looked for the speedometer in the center of the console.

The folks at Toyota are getting better and better with their hybrid technology and it really shines in the new Prius 2021.

Craig and Deanne Conover have been testing vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. You will receive a new car every week for a week-long test drive and adventure. Both love to have the unique opportunity to try out new cars. You live in Springville.