Toyota Prius III hybrid: Christophe's testimony
Christophe, aged 39 and living in Dunkirk, the 4th town in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, is the proud owner of a third-generation Toyota Prius hybrid. Neither ecologist nor diesel, he chose the Prius in 2011 for its low consumption. Reluctant at first, Christophe ended up making his hybrid vehicle his first car. He is now on his second Prius. Testimony of a motorist convinced by the dual petrol-electric motorization.
Purchase motivation: save fuel
There are personal stories that forever mark the life of a person, a couple. This tragedy could have happened to Christophe and his wife… In 2011, before the birth of their son, the doctors thought they had detected a genetic disease leading to numerous treatments and follow-ups. In the end, nothing will happen. But this difficult period will have led Christophe to look into vehicles with so-called “alternative” engines. Owner at the time of a gasoline Opel Signum, he feared excessive consumption and therefore the fuel costs linked to the 200 km separating him from the hospital in which his son would be followed. Christophe's Toyota Prius III hybrid, by a winter morning at the Noortmeulen Windmill in Hondschoote (Nord department), one of the oldest windmills in Europe
The first instinct of this “convinced essenceist” is to surf the web and find relevant information on fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles. He comes face to face with a hybrid Toyota Prius. Skeptical, he learns more about this technology combining a petrol engine with an electric motor powered by a small battery housed in the floor of the rear trunk. As much as the second generation of the first production hybrid vehicle hardly inspires him, the third with its more fluid lines, its modern optics, its rear LED lights, and its arch separating the front seats seems to convince him.
>>>> discover our 2014 hybrid car buying guide
Convinced by the hybrid being tested: 5.3l/100 km on average
But it is above all a test under normal conditions of use that the Prius will conquer Christophe. Little anecdote that the latter slips to us during our exchange: it will take 20 minutes before understanding how to start his test vehicle… Continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) which forces him to press the brake pedal, gear lever replaced by a futuristic joystick, head-up display, reversing camera: the differences are numerous compared to its thermal model. Finally, Christophe will test the Prius and, to his great surprise, will consume on average “only 7l/100 km on the highway with a headwind”. Unthinkable consumption with its petrol model. Convinced, he signed the order form the same evening at 8 p.m. at the Dunkirk dealership for a one-year-old second-hand Toyota Prius III (12,000 km).
Christophe never ceases to praise the qualities of “his” Prius: consumption – “5.3l/100 km on average” with a full tank of around 36 liters –, soundproofing, comfort, autonomy in electric mode, “zenitude that it induces in his driving”, safe behavior on the road. His new vehicle does not leave his entourage, family and friends indifferent. As a car lover, he will even add seals between the doors that he will bring directly from Japan to obtain a more subdued door slam. Unfortunately, Christophe had to part with his hybrid following an accident and opted for an Opel Insignia CDTI diesel in May 2012. An "unfortunate choice" he regretted afterwards: the knocking of the engine, the smell of diesel when starting up and the numerous breakdowns – change of the timing belt and the water pump at 80,000 km – ended up tiring the Dunkirk who opted in February 2013 for a new Prius.
>>>> discover our full review of the Toyota Prius III
A new Prius in 2013, after switching to diesel
Second Toyota Prius from Christophe who ended up adopting the “hybrid attitude”. This time, he and his wife choose a Prius III with pearl white metallic paint and 17-inch wheels that give the whole thing a touch of sportiness. And, again, they opt for a recent used model with 48,000 km on the clock. Christophe will once again personalize his vehicle, in particular by installing LED indicators incorporating daytime running lights. At home, the family has many vehicles – the husband is a big fan of the old Opel Kadett, Ascona, Senator or Calibra turbo – two of which are the main ones: a BMW 523i and the Prius. Despite the appeal of the 6-cylinder in-line, Christophe chose the hybrid. From time to time, he is “forced” to share it with his wife who “without making any effort and without adopting a driving style close to eco-driving, manages to consume less” than her husband.
In terms of design, the two users ended up appreciating the sometimes tortured lines of their sedan. Ideally, Madame would drive a Toyota Yaris hybrid and Monsieur a Lexus IS 300h, hybrid of course. But other projects will overcome the hybridization of the domestic fleet. This did not prevent Christophe from converting one of his work colleagues to the benefits of the Prius: silence, absence of vibration when switching from electric to thermal, ease of loading, real 5-seater without central tunnel , … And even if his vehicle has been the subject of two recalls – the first for the pressurization of the brakes, the second for the update of two computers (see our article on this subject) – Christophe is very satisfied with these preventive recalls and does not call into question its reliability. He even admits that "the latest update has since lowered its average consumption by optimizing the battery charging function and has given this vehicle back the 136hp that were supposed to drive it before".
>>>> (re)discover the column Diesel or hybrid car: which to choose in 2014?
Review and advice from the owner
Any advice from this aficionado of hybrid vehicles who travels with his Prius an average of 15,000 km per year? Test for yourself a model equipped with a double engine and do not join too quickly the criticisms of some of our fellow testers who reproach the engines of these models to race in the revs by pressing fully on the pedal. accelerator. “If you really want to save fuel and not opt for a diesel, the hybrid offered by Toyota or Lexus is an excellent choice. Obviously, in normal conditions of use, the driver will have to press the accelerator moderately, as on a conventional combustion engine vehicle”. For him, the recovery of braking energy – which will recharge the batteries installed under the floor of the rear boot – becomes a game, just like driving in 100% electric mode.
The Prius has only one flaw for him: it does not have a water temperature gauge, to assess when he can "climb" in the towers. “By installing a ScangaugeII, or any other application on a smartphone (Torque for example), we better understand the operating cycles of the heat engine, and controlling its instantaneous consumption becomes fun. Just lifting your toes saves 1 to 2 liters of fuel per 100” emphasizes Christophe. The latter even manages to "lead his Prius on a flat road at a 3.6 l train at 100 to 90 km / h stabilized". A feat for a petrol vehicle 4.46 meters long, rims and low profile tires in 17 inches and 136 hp!A big thank you to Christophe for his testimony and his magnificent photos. If you also want to share your feedback behind the wheel of an electric or a hybrid, this site is for you. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org