David wonders whether, some day, our long term Toyota Prius will replace Lamborghini on the bedroom wall
|Engine||Power (Engine)||Power (Combined)||Torque (Engine)||Torque (Combined)||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|Inline 4cyl, DOHC with VVT-i, 1798cc||97bhp @ 5200rpm||168bhp @ 5200rpm||142Nm (105lb ft) @ 3600rpm||305Nm (225lb ft) @ 3600rpm||10.6secs||180kph||1375–1400kg||$26,600|
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|Date acquired:||July 2016|
|Kilometres this month:||2,493|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||4.9|
Recently, whilst cruising on the highway at a spirited 103kph using just 4.7l/100km of fuel, I was overtaken by a Lamborghini Aventador. It was doing maybe 110kph and thus took its sweet time to pass, allowing me to think how funny human perception is.
I doubt our long term hybrid Toyota is, or ever will be, the poster child for any right-minded adolescent, and yet the Aventador is the rightful heir to the Countach, and surely has taken its place there already. Why? Okay, yes, the Aventador has a 6.5-litre V12, produces 690bhp, takes only 2.9 seconds to hit 100kph, etc, etc, blah blah blah. But in terms of innovation, the Prius is clearly easing ahead: from hybrid technology to the mechanical spring that automatically starts the engine; from inductive phone charging to kinetic energy recovery from the brakes and engine; 110kph to 103kph.
As for time spent in the wind tunnel, I’m willing to bet the Prius has stayed there longer too. And yet you can go to the showroom and buy 18 Toyotas for the price of one Aventador, the insurance for which will cost you more than all 18 hybrid hatchbacks combined. Is it not time the Prius was given its fair dues? This month for instance has seen nearly 2500km pile up on the clock. Or, to put it another way, three full tanks of fuel. At $18 a pop. I don’t even want to know how badly the Aventador’s V12 and 90-litre fuel tank would cripple my wallet.
Plus, the sheer variety of digital readouts the Prius cabin boasts has turned the car into a bit of a game. Something I wasn’t going to mention until our not-so-diligent editor took the car for a few days and had the same experience.
The moment the 1.8-litre four-cylinder ‘fires’ into life, the consumption bar springs to life, giving you values that range from 4.0 to 10.0-litres. And for the sake of high scores in this game, you want to aim for the latter. Suddenly you find yourself dreading speed bumps, roundabouts with traffic and unpredictable highway icebergs. The goal is to get that engine switched off and, if you cannot, achieve the target speed with the dial in green. And you’re not just playing against yourself (‘scuse me) since the car actually rates every drive, and ultimately your performance. Paying careful attention to the car’s advice – ‘too much acceleration’, ‘too fast’, ‘too much A/C’, etc – my highest score so far is 92/100. I choose to ignore last week’s 45…
As surprisingly fun as this all is, the obsessive weight and cost savings poured into the development of the Prius mean build quality is a bit flimsy: we were recently caught out by a high speed bumper resulting in the plastic undertray of the front bumper receiving a hefty, and very noticeable, whack. This has made us a little nervous should the same thing happen again: there’s only so many hits the undertray can take.
Does this stop me putting the Prius on my bedroom wall instead of the Aventador? No. I still want one.
- Technical specifications available on page 2