A Weekend with the Prius

So now that we’ve had the Prius for a few days we’re starting to get a feel for it. Here’s a few thoughts…

We’ve rented many different vehicles over the past year and none have we enjoyed driving nearly as much as the VW Jetta we previously owned. There really is something to that German notion of fahrfignugen.

The Prius is different. It doesn’t respond or corner like the Jetta did, but that isn’t why one buys a Prius. In fact, I’d have to say that the Prius has really changed the way that I drive. Not that it won’t drive the way any other car would: it has a full internal combustion engine, so you can drive it just like any other gas-powered automobile. (Although it does use a more efficient Atkinson Cycle engine instead of the more ubiquitous Four-Stroke engine.) But the Prius gives you more information and presents it in a very visual, easy to understand manner.

Here’s a look at the most common screen on the Prius multi-function display…

2007 Prius MFD

These aren’t the most typical results, but are real numbers earned during a return trip from Silver Creek Falls. You can see that there was a fifteen minute period where we averaged 100 miles per gallon (even with the A/C blasting). Since we’ve taken possession of the car we’ve put 177 miles on the car including a round trip to Portland as well as a round trip to Silver Creek Falls. Lifetime we’ve averaged slightly more than 48 miles per gallon. That works out to just over three and a half gallons (about a quarter tank) of gas or about eleven dollars of gas.

Having that sort of instant information about current consumption really makes you want to drive in a more fuel-efficient (and no doubt safer) manner. You really start to notice where the road, that looks completely level, actually has a slight gradient… It’s almost like playing a video game where your high-score is a number based on your lifetime miles per gallon.

So, while the Prius may not make you yearn for those curvy mountain roads you only see in car commercials, it does make it fun to drive up I-5; which may be about the straightest bit of road in the country.

– Jeremy

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