One testing body tracked down a 320,000km Prius and put it through the wringer. The results surprised even them
HOW WELL DOES a hybrid car hold up after years and years of use? If it’s a second-generation Toyota Prius, the answer is: amazingly well.
The Consumers’ Association (CA) in the USA tracked down a Prius that had covered more than 200,000 miles (320,000km) and put it through the same battery of fuel economy and acceleration tests that they run every new car through.
Jake Fisher, a car engineer for the CA, reported that the car’s fuel efficiency had deteriorated over the seven-and-a-half-years of its lifetime, but not by much. Fuel economy went from 44 miles per gallon (5.34L/100km) in their track test, to 42mpg (5.60L/100km).
The car was on its original battery, and had been kept in good condition. “We were amazed how well the car drove, for any car that’s done 200,000 miles,” said Fisher.
Nor had the car had any expensive restoration done. “What’s amazing about this car is how little maintenance it’d had,” said Fisher.
“The only thing that I’ve had to replace is the fan belt, which happened at 127,000 miles. It’s still going and going, said Tony Frey, the car’s owner.
Frey had expected to have to change the car’s nickel metal-hydride battery every 80,000 miles, but hasn’t had to do so. “It just keeps going and going,” he said.
Although one apparently lucky Prius owner does not guarantee that all drivers of the same car will have a similarly trouble-free experience, the Prius has developed a reputation for reliability over the years. In one recent study in the USA, it was found to be the single cheapest car to maintain there.
But if what you want is a fuel efficient car that stays fuel efficient with time, the Prius fits the bill. “The only competition it has is a brand new Prius,” said Fisher.