back to article Toyota Auris hybrid e-car

It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Toyota. Over the years the Prius – reviewed here – has not only been a healthy sales success, but the name has become synonymous with hybrid motoring technology. Toyota Auris Hybrid hatch: Toyota's Auris Yet still, the hard-of-thinking and loud-of-mouth insist on telling anyone …


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  1. Arnold Lieberman

    Interesting perspective

    Thanks for an interesting review. One thing I'm a bit confused about though is the contradiction between then opening paragraphs, where there is an implication that anyone who might possibly enjoy the full performance a car has is somehow to be sneered at, yet in subsequent pages the car is criticised because of how it handles when driving in a swift manner.

    So it it OK or not to drive faster than a milk-float with eyes firmly glued to the econometer?

    Perhaps an interesting comparison would be this car vs. a car with the new Fiat Multijet engine, which can attain similar levels of economy but without the weight and complexity of a hybrid drivetrain.

  2. Alex C

    Prius / Auris - meh

    "Yet still, the hard-of-thinking and loud-of-mouth insist on telling anyone listening that they are only bought by fools, Hollywood actors and middle class tree huggers."

    Ho hum. I think the above statement might be deliberately obtuse.

    A lot of comparisons were made, when the Prius was launched, between them and, say, a similarly priced / sized VW. Simply put (unless the person was driving in a manner to infuriate all other road users) the fuel efficiency was no better and often worse. When one took into account the environmental costs of manufacture, they (over the expected lifetime of the vehicle) fared far worse than a combustion engine of modern day efficiency. If that is hard of thinking and loud of mouth I apologise.

    This is not to say I don't respect their intentions - this tech, as with any other tech, requires years of smoothing, refining etc to get the efficiency gains that would make this style of vehicle worth while, and without early adopters supporting them then, we'd all suffer from tech stagnation in the long term.

    Realistically the best thing you can do, environmentally and financially, is join a car club. If that's not a realistic proposition (e.g. rural living or kids or a usual commute that can't be done without a car), is to buy a reasonably efficient second hand car that's the size you need. (Why would anyone with half a brain want to drive around 2 extra tons of unnecessary metal and plastic?) Some people do want to reduce our emissions, others don't care. The reason these cars were attacked as bought by fools, is that to an extent, they were. Either that or hypocrites, who want a shiny new car while wearing their green credential on their sleeves.

    Nowadays, with the refinements made since the launch of the Prius, buying one of these is not a lot worse than buying a new standard combustion engine, but if you're actually trying to be green you won't be buying new.

    1. Mark 65

      Another point

      What are the servicing costs and intervals like on these things compared with a standard petrol or diesel? No point saving on fuel to just piss it all away in servicing costs. No road tax is nice though but I think my olds manage that with their diesel.

  3. andy gibson

    "hard-of-thinking and loud-of-mouth"

    I'm guessing Clarkson is leading the mob!

  4. Gideon 1
    Thumb Down

    Start with an efficient engine...

    like a diesel, and make it better, rather than a crappy 1.3 petrol.

  5. Geoff Campbell
    Thumb Up

    Spot on.

    Faced with the choice you posit, I went for the Prius. The Auris just felt less refined, less of an integrated whole, and not by small margins, rather by big, huge gobs. The Prius also has some options that you can't get on the Auris, notable adaptive cruise control.

    Having now done 4,000 miles, by the way, the Prius has logged pretty much exactly 60mpg for mostly 70mph motorway usage, which will do for me.

    I am told by the Toyota sales lizard that Toyota are aiming to go hybrid across their entire range. I'm looking forward to seeing the small models, notably the Yaris, with a hybrid drive-train.


    1. Dapprman

      Already that way in Japan

      Even when I first went to Japan in 2003 you could see much of the Toyota range of the time in hybrid form. The one that stood out the most was the Previa as it had a slightly different, some what futuristic 9in a 1970s fashion) front.

    2. SirTainleyBarking

      Concentrating on Fuel consumption

      Is valid, but 60mpg on a motorway shouldn't be regarded as exceptional. If the tech is that advanced, more like 80+ should be achievable if you don't drive like a Clarkson.

      I used to have a wee N reg diesel metro back when I was doing stupid commutes. Not high tech ex Peugeot engine, was thrashed foot down for 200 miles a day on motorway. That did 55-60mpg. Local made, low tech, parts and servicing for pennies.

      Then again that wasn't weighed down with a passenger weights worth of useless crap like electric windows, and all the other "Must have" trinkets like aircon.

      I've gone much greener now as I can walk to work, and only bring out the Landrover for weekends. 30MPG, but as I'm only doing 3000 miles a year, still better for the planet than a 60MPG hybrid doing the average 10-12K thats the UK average

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Yes, I thought that might happen....

        I can certainly achieve 80mpg, by cruising at a lower speed and ignoring the hilly bits near home. But I prefer to cruise at around 70mph, keeping up with traffic, and to quote real-world whole-usage fuel figures. And for that, 60mpg for a family-sized hatchback is good. There are a few diesel cars that can match it, but diesel costs more than petrol, and you know what? I do this for my own financial benefit, mostly.

        I am about to go on a holiday that involves a long drive, which I will probably do at 90+mph. It'll be interesting to see what fuel figures I get then.


  6. Grease Monkey

    Fuel Consumption = Emissions

    The problem with the Pious was always that Toyota wildly exaggerated it's fuel mileage figures. IIRC they were quoting something of the order of 60+mpg on the combined cycle, but every owner I've ever heard from tells me that were getting about 66% of the quoted figures.

    40+mph might be pretty good for a car of that physical size, but it isn't as good as most competing diesels. If you're one of those people who think that CO2 is the only emission you need to worry about (and most Pious owners I've spoken to fit into that camp) then you can pretty much categorically state that the Pious is emitting more CO2 per mile than a diesel of similar size.

    Now most people find that they don't get the quoted mpg for their car and to be fair to the manufacturers it's not their fault. The tests are unrealistic and don't replicate real driving conditions. As a result of this most people get a few less miles per gallon than the official figures would lead them to expect. I've known a few people complain to Toyota about their fuel consumption and they've all been told the same thing, that they're not using the car as it was intended. But hold on a minute Mr. Toyota, every car is supposed to go through the same test and most people get something close to the figure produced by the test. They don't drive differently in the Pious than they do in any other car. How come the Pious can't do it? The only thing I can think of is that the car was very specifically set up to do well in the tests rather than in the real world.

    This is the main reason that the nay sayers deride the Pious. It's quite good, but not nearly as good as it claims to be.

    The main reason people deride celebrity Pious owners is that while they own a Pious they also tend to own a fleet of huge gas guzzlers too. Owning one Pious does not somehow absolve you of blame for the damage done by your Camaro, 599 and Range Rover. It's pretty much the same way these celebrities tell us we shouldn't fly on holiday because it's bad for the environment, but charter a private jet to get to Cannes.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Must you sneer so?

      The thing with a Prius is that you do have to learn to drive it economically, to an extent, in order to get the best out of it. Most drivers don't, they just hoof it like any other car.

      I was highly amused to see that the sales lizard in the Toyota dealership had stuck their demonstrator in "Power" mode, and left it there, resulting in a recorded mpg figure of 39.9mpg. Great sales aid, that....


  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    On page 3...

    What particular map of England is the Sat Nav screen derived from?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Sat Nav

      Showing Forward Up - since the car is parked facing south west north is to the bottom right.

      Most sat nav's can do this as an option/alternative to north up.

  8. Milkfloat


    Or you could just buy a significantly cheaper, better for the environment and more economical small engined diesel car.

  9. Jim Coleman


    My Toyota iQ does over 60mpg, seats 4 and costs £10,000.

    Why would I spend and extra £10,000 to get an extra 2 or 3 mpg? In order for the slightly better fuel economy to pay me back (forgetting the higher insurance - the iQ is group 2) I would have to run it at my 6,000 miles per year for a total of 366 years!

    The iQ is a normal petrol-engined car, and also attracts 0 road tax due to the 99g carbon emissions.

    Go figure.

    1. Keith_C

      Be fair...

      ...the IQ doesn't seat 4 adults *and* any amount of luggage. In fact, saying it fits 4 adults is a bit a stretch - 3 full-sized blokes is comfortable enough for shorter journeys, but you couldn't fit a 4th bloke in there without having to scoot the drivers seat forward a fair bit. 'Adults' applies only when said adults are of Paris-esque frame and bulk.

      Paris, because she likes to have a number of full-sized blokes inside her.

      1. Grease Monkey

        Being Fair

        "...the IQ doesn't seat 4 adults *and* any amount of luggage."

        You're right it doesn't. But any number of diesels do and are more economical than these hybrids in the real world.

      2. Jim Coleman
        Thumb Down


        The word "Adults" doesn't appear anywhere in my posting. I said it seats 4. We're a family of 3 with the occasional mid-teens passenger.

        The iQ is pretty much the perfect car. I think the insurance is £178 per year and that's with my driving ban on the convictions list. Road Tax nil, servicing about £100 once a year, 60mpg yields monthly petrol costs of around £45.

      3. Patrick R

        DRIVE fair.

        I drive a 3 years old 1.4Diesel Auris and I get 53mpg including daily monster traffic jams to work (1h30 for 45km). This is in the winter. In summer, with the holidays (that means less people on the road), when I pay attention to my driving style, I get up to 64mpg average, no kidding. So the author's "best I managed over a very careful 45 mile run was a shade below 68mpg" doesn't look very impressive.

    2. Anton Ivanov

      Wrong comparison

      IQ is not comparable to the Auris. If you want to compare to the Auris with another Toyota group far compare with the Sirion Gen1 Mk3 (2002-2005).

      The First generation Sirion seats 4 and has a boot on par with the the Auris while taking a quarter less space in a parking lot. It also can hit sub-8s on 0-60 in R2 trim for the Clarksonites amidst us (Clarkson still hates it). There are 2 4x4 versions for the ones that need country driving. Even if you drive it like a twit you still hit 50mpg with ease so it actually compares well with the hybrid Auris despite being 7 years older. It also used to cost 9K new.

      One problem though - you cannot find them. Whoever got them is not selling and there is a reason for that. It is a manic marmite vehicle. You either hate it or you love it. So by now all have settled with the ones that love them. I got 2 - a chipped and gas converted 2WD for everyday use and a "native" 4WD which will come very handy next few weeks once we get the taste of "global warming" and climate change from those CO2 emissions. It will be fun driving around Priuses stuck on ice and snow (put normal tires on Prius instead of the nearly illegal factory low rolling resistance ones and see its real mileage, it is nothing to shout about).

  10. DaveyP
    Thumb Down

    Thing is...

    Everyone (in the UK) that I know who drives a Prius would, in a previous era, have driven a 2CV. i know that image shouldn't matter, and that I'm very shallow, but when I see a Prius, my instinct is 'loser'. Auris is a poor poor car, but at least it's harder to spot.

    Besides, until plugin hybrids are commonplace, these are just a weak option. Give me the Golf BlueMotion anyday (Auris priced ish), or the 320ed (Prius priced ish) if I have to care about MPG.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Well, here's your counter example.

      I own a Prius, and I wouldn't touch a 2CV with someone else's barge pole, let alone my own. Hateful things, and not at all economical.


    2. conel
      Thumb Up

      The Golf does make more sense.

      Agreed, the Golf is cheaper and has better mileage, 74.3 combined. Plus there is the resale value to consider....

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Official MPG figures are bunk.

        Got any examples of actual real-world, whole-usage MPG figures from the Golf? The official figures are no more than a useful initial comparator for the purchaser.


        1. MrT

          Exactly so...

          ... but unless the conditions are precisely the same for any comparative test then differences can occur. TimesOnline have this test, same driver, same route, different cars...

          This is a couple of years old, so there's a newer version of both cars out now (and probably software upgrades for the older Prius models to improve things).

          Biggest difference between actual and claimed mpg is still the Prius, precisely because real world is so far removed from the official mpg test. I have an '06 Vectra CDTi 150, which has regularly returned low 50's mpg of mixed driving. I don't drive like there's an egg between my foot and the throttle, but when I have it has returned low 60's and even projected a range of nearly 1000 miles on one tank of BP Ultimate (that particular run was in the Scottish Highlands, not on some steady-speed motorway haul).

          YMMV is never more true than with cars, and it's not unknown for manufacturers to build a car to meet the test (playing with the gearing, or designing the engine management software to limit low-gear full-throttle etc) just to return a g/km figure that gets the car into the next tax bracket down.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Official Figures

            Official figures are not representative for a number of reasons.

            Firstly, rates of acceleration are painfully slow in order that they can apply to all vehicles. The problem with this is that the rates of acceleration are actually slower than you would normally find in traffic. Now the issue here is that most cars will produce better figures on the test than they would in the real world, but the difference will vary from one car to another. A vehicle that can't accelerate much harder than the test figures (Peugeot 1007?) would produce fairly similar real world figures to the test figures. A faster car keeping up with traffic might show notably worse figures in the real world than in the test.

            There is also the issue of some cars being deliberately set up to do well in the test, usually the models marketed as economy models. These cars may look brilliant on paper, but not even come close in practice. When doing this manufacturers are not being dishonest as such, they are building their cars to work to an unrealistic model mandated by the EC. So if anything the EC are to blame for this practice.

            Then there is the matter of automatic transmission. The tests for manual transmissions dictate the speed at which each gearchange is made. Obviously these shift points may no coincide with either the most economic shift points for each car. Automatics are allowed to shift where they want (and in the case of CVTs choose the ratio they want at any speed). This means the auto will tend to return better results than a manual, especially if the auto in question has and economy mode.

            You may expect that a standardised test would allow you to compare like with like, but the tests do not compare autos, manuals, CVTs or indeed hybrids on a level playing field. They do not even compare two autos or two manuals on a level playing field. Imagine the case of two ostensibly similar cars, one of which has been set up by it's manufacturer to perform well in the real world, the other may have been set up to perform well in the test. Peple may buy the latter on the basis of it's better official consumption figures only to find it's real world figures are no better than the other car.

  11. MrT

    The country of origin...

    ... is a big deal - in terms of overall impact on the environment, the Prius has already been shipped half way round the globe before the new owner gets to turn the key for the first time. IIRC the typical tranpsport ship will have burnt a tonne of heavy oil per vehicle on board to make this journey.

    The Toyota system is still more complex than the GM EREV system, and if Toyota are insisting that adding an electric assistance to the drivetrain of, for example, a Landcruiser Amazon is going to make it an ecowarrior's transport of choice then I think they are missing the point - exactly the same with their Lexus brand; Greenpeace, FoE et al do not run fleets of GS600h vehicle because they're ultimately not that good at doing the eco bit.

    1. MrT

      Even the Auris imports its drivetrain from Japan...

      So, even though the Auris has been built in the UK, the issue about shipping the major components from Japan still has implications in terms of the total energy spent in the construction and delilvery phase.

      The only factory building Prius outside of Japan was in China, there were some plans in 2009 to build 2010 models in US but these have been abandoned and then reinstated as assembly of imported kits from 2011. In all cases, the patented drivetrain is brought in as a unit from Japan (not a idea if they wanted to stop the Chinese copying it) - this tech travels a long way to meet its owner.

  12. Matt_payne666

    15k car for 20k??!!

    ok, so ive not looked at either the Prious or Auris hybrids, but what I have been looking at is a small car to reduce my carbon footprint - Ive almost put an order down for a Citroen DS3 1.6HDi sport (120bhp).

    It costs less than the auris, tax is £20 per year (118gm/km) and it returns nearly 60mpg when driven normally (well, a little more agressively than normal!) even thrashing the demo car it was returning 50's!

    Go for the cheaper 99grm/km diesel, the performance is similar and the mpg is identical to the auris, the car is a similar size, the boot is bigger and you save nearly £7k!!!!

    Im not sure where the savings for this Auris are? and, my god it looks DULL!!!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Industry showcase

    The recent motor industry showcase event for efficent/hybrid/alternative fuel vehicles the Brighton to London Rally, not the London to Brighton historic classic event covered by el-reg, but he one running the other way for new technology, the Future Car Challange, had a class specifically for "Most Economic & Environment Friendly Regular Passenger HEV" (class E2) Toyota Officially entered the Prius (under Toyota (GB) PLC) and the Auris (under Toyota Team England) interestingly the Auris came up trumps. Toyota have not yet said they are pleased or dissapointed, but it is surprising that the second rate eco car beat the flagship prius.

  14. JWS

    random junk

    All mince, the cars are a rip off and don't get you high enough MPG figure to justify the massive costs. Never mind how destructive the battery production process is (but we don't like to talk about that). Also, better looking Prius?? That car is like a dogs arse after it's eaten a vindalo! The Auris is far nicer looking.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Oh give it rest with the oil-burner evangelism!

    That one's dead for commuter / city cars driven mostly in traffic anyway. Mandatory particulate filters have killed it.

    Can't say I'm upset. The gut-wrenching stench of burned diesel around town will not be missed.

  16. teapot9999
    Thumb Down

    So not as good as a diesel then

    My 6 year old Volkswagen Passat is faster, has more power, more space and is at least as economical, without having lots of environmentally unfriendly batteries, motors etc.

    The whole petrol/hybrid car thing is a big con to make foolish people feel smug

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Its all a a farce.

    The carbon footprint and damage those batteries have and will cause to the enviroment will go on a lot longer than the life of the car.

    False economy.

  18. Grease Monkey

    At least...

    ...somebody has built a supposedly eco friendly car that isn't styled like a 1970s concept car.

    If manufacturers want their eco cars to be accepted into the main stream they need to make them look like a mainstream car. Styling something quite as badly as the Prius is going to scare people off. Most people don't want a car that shouts "look at me, I have no taste". Unless of course it's a Lamborghini.

    The next thing they need to do is make it behave like a normal car. In this respect hybrids are good because you don't need to do anything special to own one. You put petrol in one hole, you drive it and noxious gases come out of another hole.

    The other thing you need to do is stop lying about it's emissions and fuel consumption, if you want to be taken seriously. I once drove a Daihatsu L501 around Ireland and got 75mpg even though the official consumption figure was about 60mpg. We did it just to prove the point that your driving style had a massive influence on consumption. However just because the Cuore could be made to do 75mpg, that doesn't mean Daihatsu would have advertised it as being able to average 75mpg. My neighbour owned a Prius and keeping up with traffic they were getting low forties mpg. Getting in the way of traffic they were getting nearer sixty. All well and good, but my experiences with the Daihatsu show that you can improve the fuel consumption on most cars by something of the order of 25% by driving like your grandma. However doing so isn't always safe or practical. When it comes to reducing fuel consumption and emissions we could all buy cleaner, greener cars or we could all drive in a more economic manner. The latter would be better for the environment because it wouldn't involve the manufacture of new cars. The third option is however even more stupid and it appears to be the one that Toyota advocate. Buy their supposedly cleaner, greener car, but in order to make it cleaner and greener you have to drive it in a more economic manner than you would otherwise do. Losing on the swings and the roundabouts there.

    Whatever, because it boils down to burning petrol I think hybrid technology is a developmental dead end.

  19. Mines a pint

    Diesel electric anyone?

    Can someone please explain to me why the hydrocarbon burning engine is being used to directly drive the propulsion wheels?

    Whilst I don’t have a PhD in this area, I though it was a well known fact that hydrocarbon burning engines have the highest efficiency when running at a specific constant rate, as electricity generators do. Electricity generators also use diesel rather than petrol as it’s more efficient.

    My next question is: Why doesn’t a company, car or otherwise, pair an efficient diesel generator to an all electric drive car, maybe with a small battery for short journeys, and laugh at all the other MPG claims, or L/100km if you are not stuck in the dark ages, though it may be efficient enough to use KMPL.

    Actually Top Gear have already done something like this, just needed to make sure the exhaust worked properly (season 14 episode 2 I googled it), ok and a lot of refinement, but if they can do it why can the professionals?

  20. oldcodger

    Milk float is about right!


    The other day, in the centre of Reading, we joined a long train of traffic crawling along at 15 mph. Eventually the car causing the delay at the front of the train turned into a side road, which unfortunately for us was the side road we also needed. We were then positioned directly behind this funny shaped milk float, still crawling along, albeit silently at 15 mph , the badge on the back said Prius!

    God help us if there were a lot of these things on the road!



  21. Kingfisher

    Clean diesel surely better?

    I have a Citroen C4 (company car, no choice!) but it stacks up pretty well.

    1.6HDi (90hp), 115g/km emissions and even with my driving style (ie. thrash it, constantly) I still get 52-53mpg. Seats five, with pretty good luggage space too. Oh, and £6-7,000 cheaper than the Auris/Prius Hybrids.

    With diesels getting cleaner all the time (hint, hint HMRC - stop making us pay more tax for our supposedly "dirty" engines) and economy that near enough equals these "eco-friendly" cars, why pay more?

  22. Michael 43

    your opinion only

    "You're right it doesn't. But any number of diesels do and are more economical than these hybrids in the real world."

    where is your source ??

    Oh really,? are you comparing like for like..simliar sized as a prius or an Auris..

    Do people really get the claimed mpg n their diesel, i mean the avarage driver doing less than 5-0 miles in the mornign to get to work, and tghe engine hasn't even wrmed up before they've arrived. not warming up meaning, diesels engines get clogged up....

    my opinion is the medim future is turbo 4 cylinder petrol hybrids, cleaner than any dirty diesel..

    1. Geoff Campbell

      That one's easy

      The petrol engine feeds into a three-way CVT gearbox, as do the electric motors. This means the petrol engine can run at a specific constant rate (around 4000rpm, from memory) for maximum efficiency. The power can also be electronically controlled to either go to the road wheels, or to the electric motor as a generator, and also that the electric motor can be used to start the petrol engine, and the road wheels can drive the electric motor as a generator. It's a beautiful piece of engineering, and patented up the wazoo so it is unique to Toyota and their subsidiaries, I think.


    2. Geoff Campbell

      Ah, what a wonderful logic fail.

      "One Prius driver drives slowly, thus all Priuses are slow" is not any form of logic I recognise.

      In fact, the current model Prius is about equivalent in performance to a mid-range two litre car of similar size. Not sporty, by any means, but more than capable of showing a clean pair of heels when asked.


      1. Matt_payne666

        the car in front...

        I live in a retirement town and the only dealership for miles is the Toyota one...

        So round here the old slogan is right... it is a toyota, with a puff of white hair in the drivers seat, being driven ar either 15mph, or out of town a constant 40 - irrespective of NSL roads or 30zones!! :)

    3. annodomini2

      COST and Demand

      A gearbox is cheaper (from a manufacturers perspective) than a large electric motor (or 2 or 4) and a generator.

      Also if you look at something like the Volt, they run a much larger battery pack, which also incurs more cost.

      They are all typically petrol due to demand in the US for Petrol over Diesel engined vehicles.

    4. MrT

      Opel were working on it...

      “The Opel Flextreme diesel concept, the third variant of our E-Flex system, is a natural for the Opel/Vauxhall brand in Europe, where it has long been known for technological innovation and strong design,” said Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman Global Product Development.

      The first variant is the current Volt/Ampera using a petrol IC generator, the second uses fuel cells, the third uses a diesel IC generator.

      "With the E-Flex system, the generator, battery technology, plug and electric motor are the same in each variant – the source of additional electricity is what varies. The Opel Flextreme’s 1.3 L common-rail diesel engine, which is not connected to the wheels, features a cylinder pressure-based closed loop process to control the combustion process and further reduce the vehicle’s exhaust emissions."

      The best that can be said is it's being held until demand for E-REV develops. At the moment, all players are building a model that can suit as many markets as possible. Prius has been sold mostly in Japan and USA (about 50% of all units to US alone), with Europe third, a petrol IC has been the route at the moment.

  23. justkyle

    On our side of the pond...

    Diesels are very rare to buy, unless brand new, then ($$$)

    The majority of hybrids out there are Toyota Prius.

    Other, non toyota-prius hybrids still use the same system licensed by Toyota to them.

    Citroen 2CV not for sale here, brand new. That'd have to be shipped.

    Agree the Auris looks better than Prius.

    I have a Prius, but it looks more like the old Toyota Echo than the new Prius.

    I get about 52 miles per Yankee gallon.

    Is the 60mpg figure going by imperial gallons?

    Interesting, that it wasn't quoted Km per Liter, though.

  24. Chris Miller

    It would be interesting* to know

    How far you have to drive in order to recoup the extra purchase price compared to a standard car. Back of an envelope suggests that if you travel a fairly typical 12,000 miles a year, then 60mpg against 40mpg** will save you 100 gallons or around £500 at current UK prices. So if it costs an extra £5,000 you'll take 10 years to get your money back. (In the US where petrol is less than half the price, it will take much longer.) A fuller analysis would take into account maintenance costs and taxation, but I don't think it would make an order of magnitude difference.

    * for suitably low values of 'interesting'

    ** ignoring the fact that you can get a standard diesel that should give you 60mpg - but even my 2 litre turbo gives me better than 40mpg on long journeys

    1. Mark 65


      I believe the problems with diesels in the US is to do with the quality of the fuel available. Here in Oz the Government had to mandate a standard before vehicles could be imported and used - the fuel was just too shitty. Only in the past couple of years have they (European, but mainly German cars) become popular.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up

      Yes, 60 miles per imperial gallon

      I'm just an old traditionalist....


    3. annodomini2


      You're not accounting for servicing, all the extra components and specialist knowledge and tools required

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Servicing costs for a Prius

        Are pretty much on a par with other similar cars, and quite possibly lower due to lack of brake wear. In fact the new Prius has a completely belt-free engine, reducing service costs further. The batteries and electric drive have no service requirements.


        1. MrT

          Just wondering...

          ... if anyone in the dealership has quoted life and replacement costs for the battery pack? Also, do Toyota warranty all the hybrid stuff for life? Things break down (not just the battery pack degrading but more regular things like age, wear and tear etc) and all the extras will add to the upkeep if they need attention.

    4. Grease Monkey


      "Is the 60mpg figure going by imperial gallons?

      Interesting, that it wasn't quoted Km per Liter, though."

      Of course it's good old imperial gallons. Your pints are too small.

      The rest of europe tend to quote fuel consumption in litres/hundred kilometres. When you're used to mpg thinking in l/100km hurts your head.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On our side of the pond... (mine and el Reg's)

      We like our beer (and milk for that matter) in pints. and our roads in miles.

      I think the UK is the only* European country to still have MPH for speedlimits and Miles for distances on signs. (*maybe ireland?) though to be honest that all the Italians fault... comin over here building our roads.. plonking mile posts everywhere...geeze. (thats the romans if your wondering)

      anyway since all motoring stuff is in Miles the MPG has stuck. we do buy petrol in litres! but there is not a standard MPL metric.

    6. Britt Johnston
      IT Angle

      converting driving costs?

      Converting from miles per gallon bought in £ to liters bought in € per 100km - the standard European pump price - is the only everyday case beyond the threshold of my mental arithmetic that bothers me. I just can't compare them while driving past the garage.

      Could someone confirm there is an app for this, please - or better still , a rule of thumb?

  25. John 62

    economical because of congestion

    Hybrids are only economical in congested areas where you can drive mostly on battery power with the engine kicking in to recharge the battery or give a bit more sustained acceleration. With a big petrol engine and its fuel tank and electric motors and their batteries and the transmission needed to combine the output, that's a lot of extra weight to carry around.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      That's bollocks....

      ....if you'll excuse the bluntness.

      My current commute is 80 miles, initially on hilly rural Welsh roads, then on a free-flowing M4. I get an average of 60mpg, as I've said.

      Oh, and the Prius weighs 1.4 tonnes, very light for a car in this class.

      Anything else you'd like me to help you with?


      1. John 62

        remove the batteries

        you could get even more miles to the gallon!

        1. Geoff Campbell


          The batteries are a useful energy reservoir, allowing the capture of energy that would normally go to heating up rhe brake components, which is then re-used for acceleration, reducing MPG.

          The oft-heard cry of "but it would be more fuel efficient without the weight of the batteries" is, once again, complete bollocks, and doubly so for congested routes where I can negotiate traffic jams using no fuel at all.


          1. Parax

            re: Really

            Charged by Braking, I think you'll find that was the OP's point. if the car just drives steady (say on a motorway) it cannot charge from braking and having batteries is just a pointless load. capture of momentum energy storage and re-release - by definition requires stop-start conditions. ie normal city traffic.

            Geoff nobody is doubting your mpg the pruis is efficent, but its regen ability IS designed for stop-start. as OP suggests. and if you only drive steady on motorways you really dont need the batteries.

            1. Geoff Campbell

              Really, again?

              I've been watching the regen meter on mine. It does generate charge in the batteries on the motorway, and it also uses that charge. Motorways aren't flat, and the regen braking doesn't only work when you hit the brake pedal, it also cuts in on closed or near-closed throttle positions.

              But, yes, the system works better in stop-start than cruising at a steady speed on the motorway. However, at a steady speed on the motorway, the weight of the batteries is irrelevant anyway.


  26. Simon Redding

    So where do I plug it in?

    I've got a 3500Wp solar farm on my house roof. How do I connect this useless bit of petrol-driven junk to it to drive on sun-power?

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up

      There are plenty of kits available

      To give the Prius a much extended electric-only range, with plug-in charging. But rumour has it that Toyota are releasing a plug-in version shortly anyway, I saw a prototype a while ago at a car show.


    2. Anonymous Coward

      re: So where do I plug it in?

      Well if you're at work during the day it's a bit pointless isn't it! Get work to put cells on the roof, instead, then you can charge the leccy car whilst the sun is out.

  27. Alex King


    My chosen commuter vehicle gets me 80+mpg on a 7 mile commute, and I promise I'm not holding up any of the gridlocked cars that I pass.

    Really, the only reason for buying a hybrid is if you want to spend less on fuel in a country that doesn't really 'do' diesel, like the US of A. In the UK they're pointless, based on an economy or pollution basis.

    Just from memory, here's some cars in the Prius/Auris size class with diesel engines that do comparable or better MPG:

    Volvo C30/S40/V40 1.6D

    Mazda 3 1.6D

    Ford Focus 1.6D

    VW Golf 1.6D Bluemotion

    Seat Leon 1.6TDi Ecomotive

    Vauxhall Astra 1.3CDti Ecoflex

    etc. etc.

    If this makes me loudmouthed and hard-of-thinking, then sign me up.

  28. Bassey


    I'm finding a lot of the comments on here quite strange - mainly the diesel ones. What's the point of getting "equivalent mileage" out of a diesel when diesel fuel costs 5-7% more than petrol? You aren't saving any money. You're paying 5-7% more.

    Anyway, you can buy plenty of petrol cars with ridiculous fuel economy figures now. The Focus Eco does 76mpg, the fiesta 84mpg. The VW Polo bluemax does over 80mpg so why get a revolting diesel and pay more for the fuel?

    And, as has been mentioned, you are actually far better getting a car that fits. I drive an i10. A tiny car from the outside but I HAVE had four adults in (I'm 6'4 and another was 6'2) with relative comfort plus I'm lugging around a ton* of mountain rescue gear wherever I go. We have two kids, I drive 12k miles and year and it does just fine.

    But the biggest savings come from lift sharing. I lift share with two other people in my village who basically pay my petrol so it only costs me road tax (bugger all), insurance (bugger all) servicing (actually, quite expensive over here) and depreciation. All in all about £1k/year.

    * slight exaggeration

    1. Alex King


      Those examples you've given are diesel...

      Never mind though, I'm sure your point still stands...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One point, multiple fail.

      "I'm finding a lot of the comments on here quite strange - mainly the diesel ones. What's the point of getting "equivalent mileage" out of a diesel when diesel fuel costs 5-7% more than petrol? You aren't saving any money. You're paying 5-7% more."

      Fail 1: The Prius/Auris hybrids are not about saving money, if they were about saving money they are a total failure. Costing, as they do, at least £5K more than a similar IC powered car. They are supposed to be about saving the planet from CO2 as such their cost is irrelevant, but so is the cost of diesel.

      Fail 2: We're not talking about similar fueld economy. There are clean diesels around that can beat these hybrids by considerably more than your 7% (BTW the price difference is 3p at my local garage - about 2.5%) so they will tend to produce correspondingly less CO2 emissions while still saving money on fuel.

      The matter of a diesel Prius is, however, probably explained by the fact that it is primarilly a US market car. Perhaps the more European focused Auris will encourage Toyota to build a diesel version which would almost certainly beat the petrol version on economy.

  29. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: economical because of congestion

    Hybrids kick everything else's arse (even with the new stop/start systems that are becoming common) in congestion/stop start/school run/city driving/3 mile shopping runs - and that's probably the ENTIRE operation mode of at least 2/3 of the UK passenger car fleet.

    On the open road they're not so wonderful because of the weight, but the electrics can give you a kick in the pants when it's needed for passing/hills, etc

    How much open road driving do you do and how much tootling around town, to the shops, work, etc etc etc?

    If it suits your lifestyle, buy it. If not, then don't. Wanking on about how your econobox gets 60-80mpg on the motorway is of no use if its real consumption is 30-40mpg in short haul commutes. Hybrids are aimed for that usage cycle - and they'll have lower engine maintenance costs because once the engine starts the computer systems won't turn it off until it's thoroughly warmed up and won't let you mistreat it when its cold.

    That said: The batteries are a huge problem. A hell of a lot more R&D into chemical energy storage systems is required. Tossing waste heat overboard because the system can't regenerate fast enough on long hills or heavy braking is still an issue too - better/larger supercapacitor staging would likely help that but right now that would drive the cost up even further.

    I wonder if an atkins/miller cycle is adaptable to diesel

    How about using an exhaust turbogenerator/supercharger setup to catch as much as possible going out the pipe and provide more stick when it's really needed? (GM trialled using exhaust turbogenerators instead of belt driven generators in the 50s but decided that it was easier to stick with proven technology. The split system is currently being touted merely as a way of getting completely away from turbo lag but if you have it, you no longer need as many belt-driven accessories.)

    (In other news a Wankel-based diesel is doing the rounds as a possible aeromotive/military transportengine. If that comes to civilian engines it could get interesting.)

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