Whether anyone, especially Prius owners, would like to admit it or not, the Toyota Prius is really only good for one thing: getting the best gas mileage possible. Considering its weird aerodynamic shape, lack of performance, and small engine setup, it’s no wonder that the 2021 Prius is able to an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating of 49 mpg in all-wheel-drive form. And during the time we’ve spent with it, we thought it would be a great idea to see if we could get the worst gas mileage possible with it.
We drove the Prius like a BMW driver
Believe it or not, it’s not too hard to act like an aggressive BMW driver when you’re driving a Prius. We say that because even under hard acceleration, it takes forever to get up to the speed limit, even if that speed limit happens to be 30 mph. According to Car and Driver, the Prius takes about 10.8 seconds to get up to 60 mph and you can definitely feel it, even though the test car we have has an all-wheel-drivetrain.
Be that as it may, our completely casual and unofficial testing consisted of constantly flooring the accelerator until we hit whatever the prescribed speed limit was on every street including the freeway, as well as driving with the windows down and the air conditioning on at cruising speeds. We basically did what every “hypermiling” junkie tells you not to do in order to get the worst mileage possible. And even after a few days of doing this, we still averaged 44.0 mpg according to the car’s computer.
Apparently, that’s what we should have gotten
Aside from the laggardly 0-60 mph time, Car and Driver also reported obtaining 44 mpg during their testing, which means that it’s probably normal to get that type of mileage under regular driving conditions. Of course, your results may vary and the term “regular driving conditions” is subjective, however, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get terrible fuel economy in this car.
What doesn’t help is that there is an “eco score” counter on the digital instrument display that’s constantly telling how efficiently you’re driving. The idea of the eco score is to condition the driver in driving more efficiently. The score is comprised of how efficiently you accelerate from a stop, cruise, and slow down to a stop. The score starts at 100 every time you start the car and drive and then it drops accordingly depending on how efficiently you drive.
The main idea to get the best score possible at the end of every drive, so naturally, we tried our best to get the lowest score every time. But the best we could muster was a 45 out of 100 even while running the air conditioning and all of the electronics possible.
Why is the Toyota Prius so fuel-efficient?
At the end of the week, we just had to throw our hands up and even applaud Toyota for making the ultimate fool-proof, fuel-efficient driving appliance. Thanks to the car’s series-parallel hybrid system, in which the car can run on the electric motor only when accelerating and driving lightly, it would probably take a really heavy foot, a steep incline, and snowy weather to make the fuel gauge drain at a Dodge Challenger Hellcat rate. But apparently, under regular driving conditions, the Toyota Prius is the undisputed gas mileage champion.