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Toyota Prius: Test Drive Review

Date: 24 October 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £24,855
Key rival: Honda Insight

You may not be able to tell, but the Toyota Prius has undergone a series of minor tweaks inside and out.

Alterations at the front comprise a new bumper (increasing overall length by 20mm), a larger lower grille, new headlamp lenses with LED lights and daytime running lights within the bumper. The rear light clusters have been mildly restyled and there's a new set of 15-inch alloy wheels on offer.

Toyota claims to have improved "the quality of the appearance and feel of the interior", too, but again, it's difficult to tell. It has changed the colour of the dash materials, added a number of silver inserts and upgraded the seat trim.

There's a new multi-function display too, and an EV indicator to show when the car is running on electric power. The touch-screen infotainment system - Toyota Touch - is now standard on all models, as is a rear-view camera.

Slight alterations to the chassis and suspension have supposedly improved ride and handling, but it's near impossible to tell without driving the current and previous models back-to-back.

The hybrid system is far more effective than that of the chief rival, the Honda Insight, and genuinely does propel the car at low speeds. Drive it with care and you'll be running on the battery for a surprising amount of time - but only on the right roads and in the right traffic conditions.

On costs, the equivalent Insight 102 HX trumps the Prius at 50.7ppm next to 51.8ppm. Most of that's down to the £2375 difference in P11D but the Toyota is far superior on economy - 70.6mpg and 92g/km vs 65.7mpg and 99g/km - while in the right conditions businesses stand to gain far more from the pricier car's usable hybrid system.

Enthusiastic drivers will be sorely disappointed because the Prius is about as numb as it gets. Equally, anyone expecting worlds of change from the facelift shouldn't get their hopes up, although the Toyota still has the potential to save the right type of fleet a lot of money on running costs.

Toyota Prius T Spirit
P11D price£24,130
Model price range£21,545-£29,655
Residual value31.7%
National Insurance£1063
Cost per mile51.7p
Fuel consumption70.6mpg
CO2 (tax) 92g/km (10%)
BIK 20/40% per month£41/£83
Service interval10,000 miles
Insurance (1-50)group 16
Warranty5yrs unlimited mls
Boot space446/1120 litres
Engine size/power1798cc/105hp plus
31hp electric motor
Top speed/0-62mph110mph/10.4secs
On sale March 2012
VerdictNear anonymous facelift
but still a good, clean
option for low
mileage drivers


Near anonymous facelift but still a good, clean option for low mileage drivers