Picked up my new Toyota Prius on Friday. First surprise was that, contrary to rumour, it does not come with a window sticker at the back saying “Smug Git”!
Second surprise was not so welcome. It has that terrible combination of (a) being complicated and (b) having a really badly worded and useless manual. I sat in the car with the delivery guy and learnt how to switch it on. I even moved it to a spare parking space in front of CBH – our head office. Once I was alone with my car though, I found it hard to lock the doors. And how do you even know if the doors are locked when the keys you are carrying automatically unlock the car when you are close to it?I tried using the remote. I tried reading the manual (“Press the sensor on the door handle.” What sensor? Where?). I even tried leaving the keys 100m away and sneaking up on the car to see if the doors were locked. They weren’t. Foolishly I decided to leave the car on the basis that the doors might lock when it decided I was no longer anywhere near. Big mistake.
30 minutes later reception called me. Someone had reported that my car was alive and was making noises. I rushed down to find the engine running. It would seem that the car found that the batteries were low and decided to keep them charged up. Well how was I to know that as well as putting on the foot brake, putting the car in “park”, pressing the invisible sensor on the doors, and even using the remote door lock, you have to press the power button to switch the bloody thing off? Especially as when you switch the car on the power button has a green light, but that soon goes out, even though the power is on, and its also out when the power is off.
Later on, back at home, I gave myself a headache reading the two very thick manuals. One for the car, one for the navigation system. Example advice on how to save fuel when driving at high speed: “Drive at moderate speed.”.
The car looks lovely. A metallic blue and even Ben says its pretty. Its very comfortable inside. Its very quiet except on motorways. And after four 30 to 50 mile journeys its averaging 53mpg which is good. I should say “an indicated 53mpg” because drivers in the USA report that this model routinely over estimates mpg by about 3 mpg. But even 50mpg is 25% better than my diesel Skoda. There are numerous systems to tell you how much fuel you are using and why, which I think will help me to drive more frugally.
When you reverse there is a video camera in the back so you can see what you will hit. I was hoping it had a replay button to do an action replay if I ran anyone over, but it doesn’t.
I will write a lot more about this car in the future. But for now there is one really really cool toy. Its got parking assist. This means that it will steer the car backwards into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces. This is explained in about 60 pages of the manual – and there are several different ways of doing it. But we tried it and it works. A real boon because I am really rubbish at parking. Now, not only do I park perfectly, I hold my arms in the air while doing it to alarm passengers and passers by.