Looking at the financial times that are biting for some, one may need to get off the big cars whose fuel consumption is bound to send us to financial death and hope on the wagon of fuel friendly cars. If the Vitz or Raum is too small for you, try hybrid cars, One of such cars is the Toyota Prius.
A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct power types, an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. In this case, fuel consumption is reduced tremendously and performance is not compromised.
While Patrice Oyet, a Prius owner, is not particularly crazy about his car outlook, he attests to the fact that its aerodynamic look where the roof line is specifically designed to flow smoothly through the air makes it fast enough.
“The beauty is that in as much as it is fast and seemingly compact from the outside, it is actually high enough allowing enough passenger space, even in the rear”, he says.
When I mention the wheel size, he laughs saying that they are small making the car look a bit awkward.
“Well at least I am certain that I will reach my destination in peace, without running out of fuel.”
Aloysius Wangwe, a car enthusiast, says the Prius is easy to manoeuvre as not much high tech is needed to handle the functionalities.
“It has only eight old-fashioned buttons on the centre console alongside four two-way buttons for controlling temperature and air flow. The rest of the buttons are in small clusters on the steering wheel and door armrest” he says.
The Prius comes with a range of leather upholstery adding a touch of class and luxury to the already luxurious interior.
Just like Wangwe put it, unlike other hybrid models, the Prius, despite evolution in the last 22 years has maintained a level of usability.
“Despite having a small boot, it can carry a considerable amount of luggage. My family of six, travels comfortably with our luggage in the boot. But I cannot complain about the sacrificed space seeing that the batteries that make this car worth the buy are tucked under the floor hence eating up some of the space,” Oyet said.
Stan Mukalazi, another Prius owner, says the car runs on a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that does not need manual charging. “It uses a much smaller battery, often balancing the electric motor with a 1.8-litre petrol engine and continuously adjustable transmission.”
Mukalazi, who is also a mechanic adds that the system is amazingly intricate working with absolute finesse.
It also comes with a Touch 2 multimedia system that is charged by the batteries. “There are also heated and auto-folding door mirrors coupled with powerful yet energy-saving automatic LED headlights and a reversing camera,” he says. Mukalazi adds that with higher models, there is an automatic parking function, Wi-Fi connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, voice recognition as well as a 10-speaker JBL sound system.
Godfrey Kigozi, of Winners General Garage says a second hand Prius is approximately Shs25m but unfortunately, its spares are hard to come by.
It works well on town roads owing to the electric motor’s instant torque which helps the petrol engine.
Its control and the way the steering wheel works is good enough inasmuch as the wheel is light. “The light wheel-feel is compensated with the front end that turns accurately,” Mukalazi says.
Coming in flat white, black, grey, silver, blue and red, the Prius will use 3.8 litres for 80 kilometres.