Toyota may have started the hybrid revolution with its original Prius, the first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car and the vehicle which quickly became the eco badge of honor for celebrities and city dwellers alike.
But ten years after the first Prius rolled into the U.S., Toyota is now playing green car catchup, with its 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
We’ve had a chance to drive this car quite a bit over the past year, doing everything from extended test drives through to six days of simulated town commuting in an effort to see how Toyota’s answer to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt affected your wallet.
What we haven’t done however, is put the 2012 Plug-in Prius through its paces as a family car.
Next week, we’ll be packing up a 2012 Plug-in Prius, complete with children, dog and a substantial amount of luggage to see just how suited it is to life as a family car.
And as its a combination of a conventional hybrid and an electric car, we’ll be comparing the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid to two alternatives - a 2011 Nissan Leaf, and a 2008 Toyota Prius on everything from performance and economy through to how much luggage we can fit in.
Naturally, the Plug-in Prius is at its most environmentally friendly when using its 3.8 kilowatt hour battery pack to power it on short trips such as a daily commute, but is it really as good at long-distance trips? Or is the Plug-in Prius a car which ends up compromising on too many levels?
We’ll be answering all these questions and more during our week-long loan of the car, along with any questions or tests you want us to carry out.
If there’s something you want us to measure, test or just report more on, let us know in the Comments below, and we’ll try to include them in our report.