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Making a case for the forgotten plug-in
by Colum Wood
Arriving late to the plug-in party and overshadowed by more statistically impressive cars like the Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in Prius hasn’t garnered much attention. That's likely that reason it hasn’t sold particularly well.
On paper it fails to excite, preferring instead to deliver results in the real world and for that reason it is likely the best green option on the market.
FAMILIAR LOOK, BUT IS IT TOO FAMILIAR?
Perhaps a unique style would have helped set the car apart from its “conventional” hybrid sibling. Instead Toyota used an identical body shape with just a few small tweaks. Those include custom wheels as well as faux-metal door handles and matching trim on the front bumper and rear hatch. Besides that there are blue accented headlights and LED taillights while the obvious give-aways include “plug-in hybrid” badging on the front fenders and an extra “gas” door hiding the electric charge port.
SAME OLD INTERIOR
A more individual interior might have helped the Prius PHEV in the sales department too. Instead, it’s the same-old cabin. Once a talking-point by nature of its originality, after four years on the market in the regular Prius it’s just a lot of eco-styled plastic. Having the gauges located in the center of the dash isn’t just annoying and out of the driver’s line of sight, it’s means the view out front is replaced with, yup, more plastic.
Those display screens are looking as modern as a Palm Pilot at CES, though at least their simplicity makes them easy to read and understand, helping you get the most out of your hybrid.
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