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I’m not going to lie, the Toyota Prius doesn’t exactly instill and heart-pounding thrills when you drive it. One of my friends, who currently owns a second-generation Prius once compared the driving experience to “driving a wet rag.” That statement might not make sense on paper, but if you drive a Prius for more than 30 minutes, it makes all the sense in the world.

That’s not to say that the Prius is terrible to drive. In fact, the 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition that I’m currently driving moves along just fine. Especially when you switch it into “power mode.”

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition  in silver parked
2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The 2022 Toyota Prius has three different driving modes

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition  rear shot
2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

I wouldn’t be surprised if many Toyota Prius owners, including my friend, don’t know that there are three different driving modes to play around with. In the 2022 model, the different modes can be toggled via the “drive mode” button in the center console, underneath the infotainment screen.

The first mode is “normal,” which is what the car is set in by default. In this mode, the driving experience is, well, normal – which means that the car’s throttle response and fuel mapping are just as Toyota originally intended.

The second mode is “ECO mode,” which is the mode that you want to be in to get the best fuel economy. With ECO mode turned on, the driving experience becomes a little more muted thanks to some throttle pedal resistance. The less-responsive throttle makes for a more linear acceleration so that less fuel is dumped into the engine, resulting in better overall fuel economy. Do you want to achieve 50 mpg regularly? If so, this is the mode to leave it in.

Lastly, there’s “power mode,” which is the mode that I left my 2022 Prius tester in the whole time that I had it. Not because I’m a speed demon, but because I like that this mode makes the Prius a lot more responsive and quicker when accelerating. In essence, it breathes a little more life into this gutless fuel-sipper.

What kind of gas mileage can you get in “power” mode?

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition  power mode graphic
2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition power mode | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

During the week I had the 2022 Prius Nightshade Edition, I achieved a consistent 43 mpg in my mixed driving situations. That probably could have been better if I didn’t have such a heavy foot, but I wanted to ensure that I achieved the most realistic mileage in every driving situation. Additionally, I’m at a mile-high elevation, which can decrease fuel efficiency.

Otherwise, the Prius never skipped a beat and was able to make it up hills and slippery roads just fine. I’m not sure if I have “power” mode to thank for that, but it’s safe to say that this little hybrid can take you almost anywhere you want to go.

Bonus feature: Intelligent Park Assist

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition  park assist button
2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade Edition’s Park Assist button is in the middle. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Another really cool feature that I found in the Prius Nightshade Edition was the “Intelligent Park Assist.” Again, I wouldn’t be too surprised if some Prius owners didn’t even know they have this feature. I barely found it because it’s not listed on the car’s window sticker or on Toyota’s spec list.

It’s an extremely cool feature nonetheless, especially if you live in a dense city area where parallel parking is prevalent. In order to activate the park assist feature, there’s a small button to the left of the steering wheel that needs to be pushed. After that, you just slowly drive next to the area that you want to park and follow the instructions on the digital display.

It will tell you to “drive forward” and then “reverse,” after that, the car does the steering for you while you modulate the brakes to get the car in the parking spot. Admittedly, it’s nothing new considering this feature has been used by many automakers over the years. However, I’m happy to report that it works pretty flawlessly in the Prius.

If you’re looking to buy a 2022 Toyota Prius and are unsure which trim level to get, I highly recommend the Nightshade Edition. Its black accents and comprehensive feature list make it a great value at $31,000. Also, the Park Assist feature can be a life-saver in the proper conditions.  


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