Saturday, April 2, 2016

Living In The Past


So the Prius has come to the United Arab Emirates and this article, it's like a blast from 2005. Here are some of the most entertaining parts.
Do not adjust your set. The Toyota Prius really is here and on sale in a country many of us thought would never warm to the idea of a small(ish) car known for one thing only: waving the flag for the environment.
Indeed. In an oil producing nation where gasoline just went down 2% to, wait for it, (about) 1.37 per gallon, fuel economy is a big priority.
The fact that it’s here is terrific news, because Toyota wouldn’t be showcasing it in the region unless it knew there was a case to be made for sales success. The time, it would seem, is right for motorists to take some collective responsibility for their actions and the effect we all have on the planet. Right?
Well, maybe. Pollution is the same anywhere.
But what about its attributes as a car, rather than as a planet saver?
Externally, it’s questionable, there’s no denying it. A colleague asked cruelly if it had already been involved in a frontal collision, offended by the folded origami creases that make up its nose section. My car runs on steel wheels with plastic trims, which do the overall aesthetic no good whatsoever, and the swooping design details that lead to its equally controversial rear are similarly polarising. But it’s distinctive, and that’s what Toyota wants it to be — a car that wears its heart and its green credentials on its sleeve, no matter how challenging the view. Still, having seen and driven a lime-green Prius in Japan last year, I can tell you that it’s a car that looks better in lurid colours, with alloy wheels fitted. 
But it sounds good, right?
There’s also the sound of said engine, which is about as interesting as next door’s vacuum cleaner, and the fact that the continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox does its usual job of making the four-pot sound like it’s being thrashed within an inch of its life whenever there’s an open throttle. But these aren’t enough to become black marks against this Toyota’s name — they’re just part and parcel of city commuter cars these days.
Maybe not so much.
And as statement cars go, they don’t get much louder than this — to drive a Prius here, as it is in California and other parts of the world, is to dare to be different, and say that you do, as a matter of fact, think about the footprints you leave on this precious planet.