Expect to get some mileage out of Prius

In April, a young reader's fancy turns to - cars.

In April, a young reader's fancy turns to - cars.

April is when Consumer Reports publishes its annual car issue, a signal that car-buying season has begun.

Toy Box is also in the April car mode, so we'll run automobile reviews this week and next.

Our first model is the Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid.

The Prius was a blast to drive. From its funky non-key key to its start button and tiny shift knob, the Prius lets you know it's a different kind of car. The front seat was roomy. Handling was good. The windshield slopes so much that wiper fluid doesn't make it to the top, a minor annoyance.

The bad news: Mileage you get likely won't reach the advertised 60 mpg city. I averaged about 33 mpg. Other people tell me they get higher numbers - a Prius display screen shows mileage as you drive, so you get better at things like taking your foot off the gas as you near a stop.

These days, any gas you save is worth the effort. The Prius lets people know that you care about the environment.

Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to toybox@prweek.com

  • John N. Frank writes Toy Box. He is the Chicago-based Midwest bureau chief for PRWeek.

    Price $20,875 base price; model driven: $26,806

    Available at Toyota dealers

    Specs 4-cylinder gas-electric hybrid technology, rated 60 mpg city, 51 mpg highway driving

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