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We have been keeping motoring columnist Brian Mc Daid busy reviewing all our latest models!
The Prius Plug-In has arrived at Kelly's Toyota Letterkenny and Motoring Columnist Brian Mc Daid couldn't wait to take it for a spin! Read his review below!

There’s something very old and connected about Toyota’s newest addition to its Hybrid range.

Twenty years in Ireland giving us an electric/petrol Hybrid car that looked after everything itself, now Toyota decided to give us one with a plug!

There are two sides to a battery the plus side or positive and the negative side. When it comes to powering a family car with anything other than a petrol or diesel power plants people pull on the negative side to change.

It’s nearly twenty years since I first took a Toyota Prius from Kelly’s Toyota on a test drive to Dublin for the weekend loaded down with prams, cots, and wanes.

Two decades on Toyota announced in January this year that they just past the 10 million mark for sales of their Toyota Hybrid which would go to prove that the positive believers in the Toyota Hybrid are winning hands down.

Getting connected

They called it the quiet revolution in the late 40s when the ESB brought electricity to rural Ireland for the first time which transformed the lives of many.

We might think we have come along way since then but when it comes to change we are slow enough to embrace it.

Its hard to believe it now but people were afraid to take electricity into their homes back then.

Today in a home it’s the one thing that can’t manage without.

Toyota has silenced the critics of electrically powered hybrids over the years by looking after all of the charging of their Hybrid cars from within the car in that it didn’t need charging from an external power supply.

This new Plug In Prius Hybrid still does all that with its 1.8 petrol engine if you want but by giving the option of a plug-in charge it makes the driver much more involved in the plan that Toyota has set out.

On Monday and Tuesday this week we were out in the New Prius Plug In. Ours came in emotional red metallic (Maroon really) but what a head turner it was.

The regular Prius Hybrid looks great but this one is drop dead gorgeous. It looks more Italian than a Japanese design with its four part headlights and sweeping grill and the rear of the car is higher giving the car a lovely wedge shape design.

The last time I saw two fuel flaps on a car was on an old Jaguar XJ6. In those days they were there to look after the pure thirst of the beast.

282 miles per gallon!

This has two fuel flaps and in the case of the petrol fuel tank is has been filled once when it was registered back in July and a month on it has 1,090 kms on the clock and is still three-quarters full.

Toyota says it can do up to 282 miles to the gallon and like you I thought that’s not possible but when you consider that I had this Prius for two days and I never heard the engine start once in that time.

From the second fuel flap the car can be plugged in and charged every time its parked up and if it’s doing short runs up to 50 km it can run on its battery power only.

A recent test driving around Dublin by Toyota produced a return of 120 MPG in heavy traffic.

I drove the Prius to Cresslough and back and when you know you have the option of the petrol in reserve it’s amazing how much you can become a part of Toyota’s Hybrid team.

The new Hybrid has bigger batteries and a more powerful electrical motor the car never feels under powered when it’s in electric mode and even I test drove this car I can tell you nothing about the power of the petrol engine because I planned my journey in advance by making sure the batteries were fully charged and in turn never had to use the engine. It costs approximately €3 to charge the batteries and can be charged in the electrical charging points dotted over the country.

Also when you buy one of these new Prius, Toyota will work in association with the ESB to fit a special charging point free of charge at your home.

The team

The first option is when you step into this car Toyota give you with a car that can just be simply placed in ‘drive” and away you go. It will take care of everything beautifully, manage the charging of the battery always be in the right gear with its brilliant CVT transmission and do what it has done so successfully for the last two decades and sold over 10 million hybrid cars world wide.

The second option is to play a bigger part in the cars effort to conserve energy. For the short time that I had the plug in Prius I found when I was charging the batteries I was also thinking about the journeys I would be doing later that day. When I was driving the car I was thinking about the finer points of driving a car with an automatic gearbox, something the late Joe Kelly of Kelly Toyota had a great belief in. I was using the b setting on the automatic gear box to recharge the batteries through the brakes on the many down hills in Donegal. I was always looking to carrying momentum when I could, years ago we did the same trying to get as many miles as possible out of the fuel we were using in cars that were sore on fuel, now with the Toyota Prius Plug In we have one of the most fuel efficient cars in the world and as a driver of this car you get a great opportunity to conserve energy.

At the end of every journey in the Toyota Prius the car will flash up a report on your efforts. I started off getting 75 out of 100 and would get a tip on how to achieve and improvement.

The highest I managed was 94 out of 100 which I was delighted with but the credit should go to the Prius Plug-In to produce these results

. These cars are extremely well engineered but are not cheap starting at £37,000 and the car that I drove was the luxury model which had the highest quality of leather interior fitted.

The surround sound from the JBL system in the Prius that we drove has to be experienced to be believed. I do not know how they managed this but the music for its speaker system sounds bigger than the interior size of the car does.

The Prius Plug In is a very advanced car and will suit anyone who wants to get into conserving energy.

All in all the Prius was the bench mark that has said the course over the years and is now a house hold name. Their development work over the years in Hybrid Power is now used in all of the hybrid cars through out the Toyota range and Now Prius is progressing to the next level of development of plug in Hybrids but still offering their conventional arrangement in the current Prius cars.