Our Cars: Toyota Prius 1.8 Hybrid Business Edition

12 May 2017: How many countries on one tank of petrol? Part one

The Details

Current mileage 1395 miles
Claimed economy 94.1 mpg
Actual economy 69.8mpg

Our Prius has a 43-litre fuel tank. That’s not the most exciting statistic in the world, but a few taps on the calculator reveals that, based on the official economy figure of 94.1mpg, the car should be able to travel for 890 miles between fill ups. But official figures aren’t known for being realistic...

So, I went back to my calculator (It was a quiet day at the office) and discovered that, using my current average real world figure of 64.1mpg, I could cover 580 miles between fill-ups. Which still sounds pretty far. In fact, it’s so far that you could, in theory, see six different countries before visiting a petrol pump. That’s what Google Maps reckons, anyway.

And what’s a theory if you don’t test it? The plan was to set off from Lincolnshire and drive to Luxembourg, via the UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, covering just over 520 miles and cutting things pretty fine unless everything went to plan and I didn’t get lost. I booked the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, filled up to the brim with high octane and set off.

By the time I reached an overnight stop near Dover ferry port I had barely used any fuel, according to the gauge. I’d actually used plenty of fuel, obviously, but filling up the tank to the point where it was about to overflow meant I probably had an extra litre or so to play with before the fuel gauge started to drop.

The route. You can zoom in on this map.

So what could have been a tricky trip was starting to look perfectly achievable. By the time I’d crossed the channel it was looking even more easy because Google had, apparently, counted the distance covered by the ferry in its overall mileage calculation – and the crossing required no fuel at all.

Actually, even the bits where I was getting on and off the ferry required no fuel, since the Prius used its battery and motor for all the low-speed queueing. By the time I got to the Belgian border any concern about having enough fuel to finish the whole trip had, more or less, gone. It was starting to look easy.

That gave me an opportunity to appreciate some of the features Toyota has fitted to make European trips easier. First of all, the entirely digital instrument display can be changed between mph and kph with a couple of button presses, making foreign speed limits extremely straightforward.

Moreover, the Prius gives advice every time you cross a national border, explaining the speed limits, drink drive limits and some of the legal requirements for things that need to be carried in the car, like spare bulbs. For what is typically considered an urban vehicle, the Prius was proving to be quite the tourer. But would I make it to Luxembourg without a fill-up?

« Earlier: Constructive criticism     Later: How many countries on one tank of petrol? Part two »

Updates
The Prius brand has been around since the year 1997 - so what's changed? And will it be here in another 20 years?
My Prius has Intelligent Park Assist, but it’s often not very intelligent at all. In fact sometimes it doesn't work full stop.
Volvo recently made a big announcement about its electric car future - but Toyota and Lexus are more or less already there.
Is it worth spending an extra £3000 on a plug-in Prius - or should you keep it simple and go for the traditional model?
So far, so good. Looks like you really can drive through six countries on one tank of fuel. Easily. Well done Prius.
12 May 2017: How many countries on one tank of petrol? Part one
John reckons he can get the Prius through the UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg on one tank of petrol.
Every time a journey ends, the Prius scores your eco friendliness in an effort to help reduce fuel consumption.
The Prius isn't a 'driver's car' but that really doesn't matter, because it's so easy to live with.
We welcome the most famous hybrid of them all to our fleet - meet the Toyota Prius. Will it be a welcome addition?
 

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