Photo (cc) by Robert Scoble
Since 2000, the original Honda Insight hybrid has held the title of the most fuel-efficient car ever tested by Consumer Reports — until now.
The 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid has unseated the 51-mpg Insight by clocking 52 mpg gallon overall, according to Consumer Reports.
The 2016 Prius’ overall fuel economy topped that of the previous-generation Prius by 8 mpg. On a city route, the new Prius got 43 mpg. At 65-mph highway cruising, it got 59 mpg — better than any diesel-engine car Consumer Reports has tested.
The nonprofit tests all vehicles’ fuel economy by installing a fuel meter and driving the same routes. The new Prius earned its fuel-economy title by paying attention to detail, including:
- A more aerodynamic body
- A stingier gasoline engine
- A more efficient transmission
- A battery pack that uses a lighter and more efficient compound — a lithium polymer instead of a nickel-metal hydride.
- More frequent use of the battery’s power, especially in city driving
As Consumer Reports puts it:
“All those seemingly small engineering changes added up to a huge improvement.”
The Prius is a hatchback. Unlike the Insight, it has enough room to be described as “a proper family car for five occupants.”
The mid-trim Prius Three model tested by Consumer Reports costs $27,323.
According to Toyota, there are six versions of the 2016 Prius:
- Prius Two — starts at $24,200
- Two Eco — $24,700
- Three — $26,250
- Three Touring — $28,100
- Four — $28,650
- Four Touring — $30,000
If you’re considering a new or new-to-you car, be sure to first check out:
- “8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New Auto“
- “How to Lose the Most Money Possible When You Buy a Car“
- “Car Loans: Are You Paying Too Much?“
What’s your take on the Prius? Have you driven one, or would you want to? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.