Last month, I drove the Lexus HS 250h for one week, and this week, I'm test driving the third-gen Toyota Prius. When I sat inside, my first thought was: boy, I wish they had given me the Prius first, then the Lexus. Not that the Prius isn't a great little car. It's just not a luxury car.
I had driven the third-gen Prius at a ride and drive event in April, but that was only at low-to-medium speeds for just a couple of miles, with another journalist in the passenger seat and a Toyota PR person in the back seat. I liked the Prius then, too (read my review here) but I wiped the slate clean and prepared to experience driving the car for the first time.
Today's agenda: take Sophie to school, pick up a friend for lunch, hit my favorite thrift store for some retail therapy. After a day with the Prius, I must say, I do like it. It's got some pep to it, and it's quiet, and it's roomy. Roomier than it looks on the outside. I like that the exterior styling is still recognizable as a Prius, with that same iconic Prius profile. It handles well, and the interior offers a no-frills comfort and styling that probably makes IKEA jealous. Driving today was mostly "city" driving, with only a few "highway" miles, and my average was about 44 miles to the gallon. Not bad!
The only negatives I unearthed while driving today were huge (I mean HUGE) blind spots and a strange whirring noise when opening the driver's side door to enter.
If it doesn't sound like I'm passionate about this car, I'm just not. I like it, but I'm just not feeling the love. Yes, the instrument cluster is interesting. It's very intuitive — you look down, and there you see what you were looking for. The touch screen navigation and sound system is convenient, and frankly, neat. But where's the cool factor? The Green Leaves part of the Ford Fusion instrument cluster is cool. The third-gen Prius TV commercials are cool. I really wanted the Prius to be cool.
(Off topic: I find those TV spots kind of creepy. I don't know why.)
Maybe the Prius will grow on me. There's nothing wrong with it. I like it.