I have a tendency to compare cars to music, but some things in life deserve their own theme song. Naturally, when driving around in the Toyota Prius, that infamous wedding song/dance "The Electric Slide" comes to mind for its, well, hybrid gas-electric power. I can't help but hum the song while in this car.
According to Toyota's media site, the Prius is the "world's first mass-produced gas-electric hybrid" and is now the "best selling mid-size gas-electric hybrid in the US and the world." The Prius is Toyota's first product to employ its Hybrid-Synergy Drive® third-generation gas-electric hybrid technology. That's a whole lotta technical jargon in one sentence, but basically the Prius created the pathway to the increased production of gas-electric cars.
If that's not enough of a history lesson, here's another interesting fact: Prius, in Latin, means "to go before." It's certainly a well-suited name for a car whose time has come. Enough of the small talk; let me get to the real point here: gas mileage. This is the first car I've driven that actually gets nearly 60 miles to the gallon. After test driving vehicles that guzzle gas at 13 mpg, the Prius is a welcome relief.
Aside from it's "electric" personality, the Prius has a lot to offer in the way of mom-function and style. It has a very futuristic shape inside and out. The dashboard makes me feel like I am operating a flying object with stealth-like capabilities. The speedometer is digital and takes some time getting used to. I'm sorry, am I actually going 95 mph? Whoops! Feels more like 65.
For a compact car, there's actually a pleasant amount of storage and cubbies: two glove compartments, in-door slots, long and narrow center console with storage tray, two cupholders in the front and two cupholders in the back.
The navigation system doesn't seem to be as up-to-date as others; however, it's easy enough to use. The computer system has a touch screen for controlling music, AC and for watching how the hybrid technology works (so for tech fans, it's like watching a movie, I guess).
A cool feature I haven't seen in other cars is the exterior lock system on the driver door. By pushing the button under the door handle, all the doors lock (or don't lock, if windows are rolled down or doors aren't properly shut, in which case it beeps instead).
An even cooler feature (cool is still cool to say, right?) is the weird key thing to turn on the car. Notice I said "turn on the car" and not "crank the engine." This car starts electrically and if not for the READY sign that lights up in the dash I wouldn't know the car is ready to drive because it is so quiet. (Except for when the gas engine takes over and it sounds more like a motorcycle trying to accelerate to high speeds).
The key isn't a key - it's more like a large computer chip that fits into a slot. Then I have to depress the brake and push the "start" button. The gear shift is located on the dash next to the steering wheel and is like operating a joystick.
One thing that bugs me is that when the car is in reverse it beeps continuously until I put it back into drive or park. This sound is quite annoying - perhaps if it sang "The Electric Slide" instead?
Another thing I have trouble with is pumping the gas. Yes, despite the 60 mpg, I have to fuel up just this once. When I try to pump the gas, the gas pump keeps clicking off like it's full but it only has like five gallons in it. Come to find out, after some help from the clerk, some cars have a "sweet spot" for pumping gas. Sounds a little strange to me, all I know is it takes way too long to pump gas in this car.
Lastly, there's an appropriate amount of cargo space for the size of this car, but after getting my stroller in the hatch area, there's not much room for other stuff. The nice thing is that the seats fold down and provide some much needed space for my son's gear.
The Toyota Prius is fun to drive and now that it has its own theme song, can be fun to dance "The Electric Slide" on my way to the car.
*For more information on the Toyota Prius and its safety features visit Cars.com.