Yesterday, after the kids had bounced up and down on the back seats and checked the HiFi, and I had solemnly examined the electronics, we bought a Toyota Prius.
It’s got a daft name and is nothing to look at, but it’s revolutionary (well, for the automobile industry anyway) underneath the surface. It’s the only hybrid drive car available in the UK (Honda make one which is available in the US, I think), has sensational fuel consumption (65.7 mpg) and very low emissions (104 g/km — low enough to exempt it from the London Congestion Charge) — and the government gives you money (£700 I believe) if you buy one. We’re collecting it on July 5.
I bought it mainly because I’m feeling increasingly uneasy about sitting in traffic jams doing little other than warming the planet. I’ve driven Saabs for 25 years and loved their safety and reliability, but when I looked to see what they could offer by way of fuel economy and emissions in their new cars, it became clear that they haven’t even begun to think about the problem.
One reason I investigated the Prius was that prominent members of the geek community in the US (e.g. the NYT’s David Pogue) have been extolling their virtues. After I’d announced our decision, I was told that Harrison Ford drives one. Not sure this is much of a recommendation. But Quentin has just pointed me to Matthew Wilson’s Blog. Matthew is a serious geek and has bought the top-of-the-range model — “A black 2004 Prius with all of the options. I mean everything. GPS navigation, bluetooth phone hookup, speech recognition, in-dash 6 disc CD changer (tape too), driver and passenger airbags, side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, HID headlights (you know, the annoying blue ones, like on BMW’s), smart entry and ignition (no keys, just the fob, and you don’t take it out of your pocket)”. Mine’s just a modest T4, and I feel envious already. Sigh.