Toyota Prius+, A Plus For The Budget and Environment Conscious

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Life is full of surprises, and Toyota sprung one of the biggest of this decade by replacing its Wish series with the Prius+.
Toyota-Prius-Plus-Hybrid.jpg

Introduction

Life is full of surprises, and Toyota sprung one of the biggest of this decade by replacing its Wish series with the Prius+. While the termination of the Toyota Wish was expected, it was the decision to substitute it with the Toyota Prius+ that caught many off-guard. Not that hybrids are new to the market. In fact, the population of hybrid passenger cars has ballooned since 2007 from just 1,057 units to 20,751 in 2017. A jump by almost 20 times! While those numbers may jump out at you, it is worth noting that hybrids still only make up 0.034% of passenger cars on the roads. The potential is clearly there and the Toyota Prius+ is definitely a plus (no pun intended).  

Exterior

Most would be familiar with the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Similarly, let’s not judge a car based on its exterior. While the Toyota Prius+ wouldn’t be winning beauty pageants any time soon, it is still an upgrade in terms of spaciousness. It is slightly wider and longer than the Toyota Wish at 4,645mm in length, 1,775mm in width and 1,575mm in height. The wheelbase, which gives a good gauge of interior space, is also longer by about 30mm. This might not seem like much at first, but when the day comes where you have to fit up to 7 people inclusive of extra baggage, you’ll be thankful for the extra centimeters. 

Interior

Game controller-esque controls

Manoeuvring the vehicle is a Prius steering wheel that bears resemblance to a game controller with remote controls and a petite high-mount gear shifter. Its interior design allows enough space underneath for a storage shelf coupled with USB/12V ports. The instrument panel, made up of monochrome LCD complemented with colour information display, is situated in the center towards the edge of the windscreen to facilitate a natural road-to-dials eye-line.  

Passengers can rest easy because the equal three-way split ensures that even the middle occupant gets his or her fair share of space. Official statements point at the second and third row seats being designed to accommodate people up to 1.8 and 1.7 metres tall, but taller people have managed to fit comfortably off-the-record. What if there are no passengers, you say? Having all the seats folded down grants you cargo space of a whopping 1,085 litres! 

Toyota-Prius-Plus-Seats.jpg
An equal three-way split
Toyota-Prius-Plus-Boot-Space.jpg
A whopping 1,085 litres of cargo space

Performance

There are no surprises in the performance department as you can expect the same as you would a Toyota Wish, albeit with more space and on less fuel. Bearing in mind that it is a hybrid car, you can expect to save massively on fuel consumption and cost while rendering the three buttons on the armrest for the different driving modes (more power, more efficiency, short-range electric-only) redundant. You can safely ignore them while affording a smile on your face for each rare occasion that you have to fill up the tank. 

The ride quality in the Toyota Prius+ may seem a little stiff but this can only be a good thing when ferrying the weight of seven, especially when going around the bends and corners of an urban landscape like Singapore.  For the driver, the experience is an assuring one, with the car ably resisting body rolls with its classic Macpherson struts / Torsion beam suspension setup. There is, of course, the occasional bumpiness when it comes to driving on uneven ground, but that seems only natural with a boxy MPV like the Prius+.

Toyota-Prius-Plus-Interior.jpg
Sufficient space for seven

Safety

To cope with the added responsibility of more passengers, the Toyota Prius+ comes with an additional airbag along with the usual driver, passenger, side and curtain units. A reverse camera also provides extra assistance as does the Traction Control, Hill Start Assist and Vehicle Stability Control that reduces the likelihood of front or rear wheel skidding. 

Hybrid

While driving a hybrid may not appeal to some, Toyota has proven its worth by now when it comes to environmentally-friendly cars. With the release of the Toyota Prius+, it has taken things up a level by replacing the usual nickel metal-hydride battery packs with smaller and lighter lithium-ion units that rest comfortably under the front armrest. Freeing up more precious space for your precious passengers. 

Yes, EV buyers do have to cough up a bit more for the rights of ownership. But thanks to the VES (Vehicle Emission Schemes) rebate of $10,000, a Toyota Prius+ is still $5,000 cheaper than the Toyota Wish (if it was still available). In other words, you will be saving both the environment and your wallet with a cleaner, more efficient and affordable ride.

Summary

For the Toyota Wish beloved and trusted by families for years, the Toyota Prius+ is more than a worthy replacement because of its spacious and flexible nature. Hybrid technology may not be new to Singaporeans, but it is aligned with all the talk and focus on climate change and even air pollution in Singapore. When you purchase a Toyota Prius+, you are not just obtaining a drive for yourself – you are also pushing a drive for the future.  

Verdict

What we like
- Individually-adjustable middle row seats that allow for the flexibility of storage and individual comfort
- Excellent Fuel Consumption rate at 25.6 km/litre
What we do not like
- Rim design could be better
- An upgrade of suspension to double wishbone would be nice
Editor’s recommendation
The hybrid Prius+ gets an A+ for its functionality, space and most importantly, its fuel efficiency, which is often the achillIes heel for many 7 seater MPVs out there

Specifications

Features

Toyota Prius+ 

Toyota Wish 1.8 

Dimensions (mm) (L x W x H)

4,645 x 1,775 x 1,575 

4,590 x 1,695 x 1,590 

Wheelbase (mm)

2,780 

2,750 

Boot space (litres) (all seats up) 

200 

186 

Kerb weight (kg)

1,570

1,370

0-100km/h (seconds) 

11.3 

11.3 

Top speed (km/h)

165

180

Fuel efficiency  (L/km)

4.5/100

6.8/100

VES/CO2 (g/km)

A2/105

N/159

Power output (hp) (system total)

134

140

Torque (Nm) (engine only) 

142 

173

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