The other day I had my first ride in a second generation Prius. As a passenger my impressions were of a well behaved drivertrain, with a smooth transition to and from silence at traffic lights, lots of legroom, surprisingly reasonable headroom in the rear, and an unexpectedly choppy ride. If I wasn’t, at heart, a hooligan, it’s a car I’d be reasonably happy to own.
But the main item that struck me was the large central display. This might be customisable but, on this one, it seemed to be dedicated to displaying consumption figures in a variety of different ways. Figures appeared, bars went up and down - and were there graphs? Anyway, I found it very odd. I’ve no objection to someone wanting to save fuel, either for the sake of the planet, their bank balance or both. But this dominant device seemed to encourage you to become obsessed with it, buzzing along and rubbing your hands like a four wheeled Scrooge.
It brought to mind Oscar Wilde’s famous quotation that :
“a hybrid driver is a man who knows the price of every mile travelled and the value of none”.
OK, those weren’t quite his words but that’s the problem with motoring - not enough pithy quotes. Even the blessed and literate Setright, though composing elegant articles, didn’t produce that many one-liners.
It’s late in the day, in a couple of years all car production will have moved to China and European motoring history will be finished, so it hardly seems worth starting from scratch now. Instead I propose converting some classic quotes from elsewhere so that, in generations to come, when “The History of European Car Manufacture - 1894 to 2014" is being written, they’ll be some varied nuggets for the author to include.