2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In: Quick Drive Report Page 2

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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The main benefit of the Prius Plug-In is its extended EV range over that of the regular car. The EPA quotes a combined EV and gas range of 11 miles.

Our test route was around fifty pecent city and rural roads, and fifty percent highway. 11 miles seems fairly accurate, as we managed around 12 miles of electric range with only a couple of brief bursts from the gasoline engine during harder acceleration.

Once up to speed on the highway, the gasoline engine kicked in, at which point the car essentially becomes a regular Prius. The average journey consumption started to tumble, though with the original figure being so high, the computer was still showing 104 mpg by the time we stopped, despite ten miles of gasoline-only running.

EPA range is 540 miles, with a 95 MPGe electric figure. In regular hybrid running, the Prius Plug-In gets a figure of 50 mpg combined. Toyota says charging from a 230-volt outlet will take around 90 minutes.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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Prius Plug-In or Chevy Volt?

Here, opinions will be divided, and your choice may depend very much on how you intend to use the car.

That's because, when calculating your savings, several factors need to be taken into consideration. Luckily, we've covered the math involved before.

Put simply, over low mileages--below around 16 miles per day--the Prius is cheaper to run, thanks to its electric range and greater efficiency. Between 16 and 65 miles, the Volt wins out. It has the greater electric range, so you spend less time burning gas.

Over 65 miles, the Prius Plug-In once again takes the lead. When both cars are running on gas, the Prius is more efficient--50 mpg combined plays the Volt's 37 mpg combined.

Personal preference comes into it too, and one buyer we spoke to chose the Toyota because he preferred the styling, the space, and the extra efficiency once the EV range had been depleted.

For certain buyers though, the Prius Plug-In will make a lot of sense. At $32,000 it's a significant extra investment over the base $24,000 Prius, though the Plug-In is more comparable with high-end Prius models in terms of equipment.

Otherwise, it's as good a car as any Prius--just even greener than before.


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