It’s finally okay to like a Prius.
I drove the new 2024 Toyota Prius and liked it?! Please don’t grab the pitchforks just yet, hear me out!
I never thought I’d hear myself saying I like a Prius. It’s been the absolute butt of automotive jokes its entire existence. They’re driven by smug and effete debutantes. By avocado toast-eating, and fancy latte-buying know-it-alls who insist they’re doing right by Mother Nature for driving a hybrid. I couldn’t be seen near these people.
I always thought the formula was genius if you were a commuter, but those stereotypical Prius owners ruined the whole thing for us. It was overly complicated 20 years ago, but now hybrids are a bright spot in reliability compared to the growing pains in the EV market and the slow decline in solely gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.
When I got a chance to drive the new 2024 Toyota Prius XSE, I did not anticipate liking it. I put on a tightly pulled-down baseball hat, obnoxiously large sunglasses, and subdued clothing so that if anyone saw me in it, I’d be unfamiliar. Five minutes into the test drive, something happened. I found myself liking this thing?! I like a Prius. There I said it. I’m officially out of the automotive-hybrid closet.
Throw stones if you must, but the worst part of this car is the name: Prius. Toyota could have named it anything else and in the field of hybrids today, you wouldn’t care. The name holds so many jokes and negative anecdotes, that it’s impossible to not shiver as a car guy at the name.
Bear with me for a moment and ignore the name. Look at it! It is beautiful for a little commuter. The lines are lovely, and the front fascia is the best Toyota has right now. Inside it doesn’t disappoint either. The stereo equipped in the XSE trim is JBL and absolutely bumps. The seats are tight and firm and can accommodate some long-legged varieties.
On the road, it’s firm and taut in the suspension. I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to learn it doesn’t sound like anything special, nor does it go anywhere too quickly. The engine note produces a loud droning under an unapologetic right foot and the whole thing pulls to the shoulder under wide open throttle. But none of it matters, Clarkson proved long ago that the worst Prius is one driven like a madman—it’s meant for many miles per gallon, not speed.
And other than the backseat being tight if you’re getting close to six feet tall, it is a package that anyone could be proud to park at the back of a parking lot, in the dead of night, obscured by bushes, not covered by video surveillance, and with a direct path to the back door of the office. It’s still a Prius people, we can’t forget even though Toyota managed to polish this sucker into one of the best in its class.
M. T. Blake
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