Grip has also improved a lot. 0.90 g of drag on our skidpad is really impressive. A jump of 0.83 g may seem small if you don’t look at skidpad figures often, but it makes a difference.
Is it even more exciting to drive?
The new Prius feels more planted on the road, though it’s far from sporty. It’s more composed with less roll and dives as you turn or apply the brakes. The steering, though completely devoid of feedback, is light and relatively quick. Driving a Prius never feels like a chore, and the extra power means it doesn’t feel like a rolling roadblock when you’re merging onto the highway. From our test notes:
“The added power from the new engine is immediately apparent. The first run was more than 2 seconds quicker than the previous Prius, while the fastest run shaved 3 full seconds off the old car’s 0 to 60 mph time. It A great achievement, especially considering the new car is as fuel-efficient as ever. It’s not hot-hatch-quick, but it doesn’t feel like a wimp when you put it to the floor. Unfortunately , the engine’s powerband and overall feel remain the same, although a lot of it has to do with the continued use of a CVT. Without gears, the engine basically spins at a higher rpm and stays there. Tack doesn’t know what the revs are, but it’s likely closer to 6,000 rpm, where the engine makes peak horsepower. It’s also loud, with a drone of an exhaust note that’s neither sweet nor deadly. The fastest run was done in Sport. Hold the brake then hit the gas to kick the engine in. Helps get it off the line and shaves a few tenths.
,[Braking performance] Much better than before in every respect. Stops were shorter and more consistent, and, surprisingly for a car with all-season tires, the tires improved slightly with some heat. Typically, such cars perform best on the first stop, from where the distance gets gradually longer. Not so with the Prius, which helps inspire confidence. There’s a moderate but acceptable amount of brake dive, and the car feels stable during panic stops. The brake pedal feels firm and bites well, both issues we’ve found in some other hybrids. Because of how some hybrid brakes can operate, the pedal can feel soft and disconnected.
“Handling is vastly improved compared to the old car. While the old car doesn’t necessarily handle poorly, the new car feels far more buttoned-down and composed on the road. The improved braking performance has already tipped me off.” Given how the Prius will perform, I’m less impressed by the new car’s 0.90g skidpad figure. It’s no hot hatch, but it has more stability and less push at the limit. You don’t have to fight as hard and tighter around the skidpads. It still requires biting at the wheel and feathering of the accelerator, but it’s predictable and easier. Body roll is moderate but acceptable. Stability control smooth. intervenes so the car doesn’t feel jerky. The computer tries to sort things out. You can disable it, and our best run was done with the system on. Doesn’t offer much in the way of steering feedback , but the smaller-diameter wheel helps the Prius feel a bit more nimble Is. Wish the driving position was better, as I couldn’t position the wheel properly and am still looking at the instrument cluster.”