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2012 Plug-in Toyota Prius: What Do You Want To Know?

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Drive  -  March 2011

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Drive - March 2011

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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. 

Until now. 

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.

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Comments (4)
  1. I saw one of these at the Plug-in 2011 Conference in Raleigh. It looks like the battery takes over both the spare tire well and the storage area above it. Where did the spare tire go? And is there someplace for tools?
     
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  2. ?How much does the added weight of the larger battery effect MPG? While a non issue for the short neighborhood trips, for longer trips it kicks in. Does the pure EV mode make up for the loss of MPG in hybrid mode?
     
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  3. Will this work on the long haul for a family vacation? Will it have enough room for storage? A roof rack option? Pull a small trailer. It needs to handle a family of four or more. I am really interested in the Prius V though.
     
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  4. Would like to know the average mpg under an average speed under 30mph and another under 60mph. One of the pictures posted seems to indicate 90.8mpg @ 18mph. Who would drive that for over 100miles?? I think I can run faster than that. Not for 100 miles though..... :) The promo photo seems an 'optimistic' portrayal of the system IMO. My 2005 Prius with the 1.3 KW factory battery is supplemented by a 4KW Enginer system. Under 60mph it averages 77mpg and under 40mph it can average over 100mpg. It would be interesting to read if you think Toyota has stepped up the competitive plate to the Volt and Leaf.
     
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