Happy birthday to me

So for my birthday, I got my Prius. Which means I finally got to drive one. Believe it or not, I hadn’t even test driven a Prius before buying one and taking delivery. My reasoning was that I wasn’t choosing the car on the basis of its performance or handling, and I was prepared to make any adjustments necessary to work with its eccentricities.

That said, some first impressions:

  • I thought the smart entry system was a bit of a gimmick, and I would have been happy to go without—but in fact, it turns out to be really useful. You can walk out of a store with your arms full (in my case, full of packing supplies from U-Haul), and just open the trunk. No need to find the car keys at all.

  • The steering has a really light touch, compared to a Corolla.

  • The navigation system is complicated; definitely not something you can just use. One problem is that the interface is modal in places, without clear indication of what mode you’re in.

  • Considering how many other luxury options the car has, the seats don’t have much in the way of adjustment. That said, they’re comfortable enough.

  • The acceleration feels a bit odd sometimes, which I think is because of the gasoline engine kicking in. It’s not a problem, just unexpected.

  • Rear visibility is better than I expected, given the rear spoiler. The two pieces of the rear window are tinted differently, which is seems slightly odd.

  • The beep when reversing is a bit loud. I don’t object to it on principle, I just wish it was a bit quieter.

  • It took some reading of the manual and experimenting to work out exactly how the ignition system worked. The information is rather spread out, considering how fundamental it is.

  • When on the Interstate, the nav system seems to feel the need to remind you to stay on the road you’re currently on, every time you pass an exit. I guess I might welcome that if I had no idea where I was, but it gets annoying quite quickly when you know you just have to drive straight for half an hour. I imagine there’s a setting to tell it not to do this, but I haven’t messed with the preferences yet.

We started out with a cold car and switched drivers a few times so we could both check it out and verify that everything seemed OK, so initial fuel economy was poor. Once we made the journey home, we averaged just under 50 mpg according to the graph.