Seen at a local movie multiplex this week: Blacked-out Prius, not a bad look. But check out the plate. Pirates in a Prius?
This car could be the modern version of the Animal HOuse parade float fashioned out of Flounder’s brother’s ’61 Conty.
All the sinister touches on this car really do make it look cute! Pirates…mmm, how about Pirate Princess Pickle Bunny?
Nothing could make this turd look cute. Kill it! Kill it now!
I wonder: if Toyota had built the Prius as a special high-performance sedan instead of a hybrid, all blacked out like this one, and with the superb aerodynamics to enhance its high speed capabilities, would so many folks hate its looks and call it a turd?
Is it really its looks, or the image you and others have created about it in your mind?
“Arrgh, ye scurvy dogs! Stay in the car pool lane. Ooh, 42 mpg! Arrgh!”
We’ll plunder… electricity!
I have not and dont think I can ever embrace the “black wheel” trend that seems to be popular now, it makes the car look like its either missing all its hubcaps on dirty from massive amounts of brake dust.
There’s a used car dealer by me that regularly has customized Priuses. They have a murdered out one, but with larger aftermarket wheels and matte black paint or a wrap. My favorite was a neon green Prius with a black roof, wheels and some Cuda style stripes down the sides. The shop truck is a Chevy Topkick truck in bright blue with red Corvette Grand Sport stripes, so I think the owner has a good sense of humor.
Hmmm, the AAR Cuda for the New Age!
Featuring ‘Hybrid SynARRRRRgy Drive!’
The computer just ate my comment. Could it be trying to tell me something. I did not care for this car when it came out. Then my daughter bought one. She is a realtor in Dallas and works it hard. Stone cold reliable and tough as nails. Plus Toyota seems to have made some form of CVT hybrid work really well.
I get grief on this site for my cube but when it goes I think I will buy a prius. I suppose my choice will really be popular then. If it is as reliable as the cube has been I don’t suppose it matters very much. I think Pirates have as much right to a good car as anyone else. Certainly, they can afford it.
Apparently Priuses come from the factory with 5-spoke alloy wheels powdercoated black, then covered by plastic wheelcovers. If so, the owner replaced one set of blacked out alloys for another.
To me, 6-spoke wheels or similar-looking wheelcovers don’t look right on any car I’ve seen them on.
I actually did consider the Prius while looking for a family car this past fall. It was narrower than what we wanted: room for a 5th passenger while having 2 car seats, an with our Outback.
The Accord, which seems to be equally panned these days offered the room we wanted, decent trunk but no hatchback, and gets 30 mpg combined. Plus cheaper with all features we (my wife) desired.
I think it looks cool… I love the “MURDERED OUT” look even though it doesn’t really align with my other automotive tastes at all.
My main knock on the Prius is that while the Hybrid Synergy Drive system is a technological marvel that interests me greatly, the way they actually drive SUCKS. The gas pedal is basically an on/off switch that gives you a little bit of fine tuning and everything else about the controls are as numb as possible. It’s far less a “car” than it is some sort of mobility appliance, and that – in my opinion – is totally whack. It doesn’t necessarily have to operate this way either, but it does… the way the power comes on is just a silly software trick to eke out one or two meaningless miles-per-gallon. Granted, I haven’t driven the latest generation Prius, but I doubt making the throttle response more linear was high on Toyota’s to-do list for it.
I remember flying into Buffalo-Niagara International on JetBlue in early 2001 and seeing a Honda Insight on display in the terminal. Everything about this experience screamed “you are living in the mother-effing future” and it was beautiful. 61mpg highway? In a futuristic CRX shell? And it works on electricity?! And I only paid $39.99 to get here from LaGuardia?!?! AND THOSE BLUE CHIPS?! Wow… then I got to drive one a few months later, a manual transmission model even, and it delivered big time. It drove very much like every other Honda I had ever driven. Nimble, precise, put your foot in it and the engine screams up to redline. Even the controls were essentially similar to the twenty year old Accord I was driving at the time – just updated and modern.
I know Honda’s IMA system is ridiculously crude compared with modern hybrids, but back then I figured that by this point (2013) there would be some happy compromise between the two ends of the spectrum (driveability and economy) and non-hybrid combustion engines would be a thing of the past. I’m very surprised by the way things turned out to say the least.
One last note on the Prius – while I “kind of” like the styling of it (new model is better than the old, first generation was unique/cute), I love the way the Prius c looks. Give me a Prius c all murdered out that doesn’t drive like an elevator and I couldn’t write the check fast enough.
Sean, I think you’ve identified what enthusiasts don’t like about the Prius. It’s not the so much the hybrid electric drive, it’s the CVT effect (continuously variable transmission). When you floor a conventional car, you hear the engine rev up in synch with how much faster you go. Toyota’s hybrid drive puts a CVT between engine and wheels (plus additional electric power you cant hear). Floor any car with a CVT and the engine stays in its peak output band. More efficient but not that satisfying wind up the revs we expect.
Honda’s first gen Insight hybrid was just a motor/generator at the flywheel, so its engine revs like ordinary cars.
All my life I’ve read about CVT’s and thought they were so interesting. When I finally got to drive one it was a huge letdown! I’d like to imagine I could get used to them, but I’m not really sure. Most of them are also horribly inefficient in terms of mechanical losses at this point, and routinely attached to fairly wimpy/thrashy four cylinders (the only one I’ve driven so far was a Dodge Caliber – blech!) I’d be curious to see what it’s like to drive one attached to a bigger and smoother powerplant, like the one in the Nissan Maxima.
That’s not my actual gripe with the Prius, though – and even though it makes the same CVT drone, it doesn’t really work the same way. A Prius right off idle or at WOT works fine as far as I’m concerned, it’s the way the power is delivered between those two extremes that I don’t like. At partial throttle acceleration, it’s trying way to hard to find the most economical balance between the electric motor set and engine and IMO it overdoes it. Very herky-jerky unless you manipulate the throttle in a very slow and deliberate manner. It could, and should, be smoother and more like any other car on the planet but then they would be sacrificing a couple of MPG on the EPA tests.
I have a feeling you probably know how it works already since I’ve seen you comment a few times about building electric cars, but for anyone else following along, check out this very cool interactive demo of Toyota’s hybrid power splitting device: http://eahart.com/prius/psd/
When you are accelerating in a Prius, all three of those bars are going up and down constantly trying to find an ideal power/economy compromise. That’s what I think they haven’t mastered yet or, more likely, are just being way too conservative/clever with in the interest of a target MPG figure. The net result of the engine driving it’s portion of the PSD is that it functions like it’s attached to a traditional CVT, but the motors have the capability of delivering power in the linear/progressive fashion most people are used to independently of it. I’d prefer the software dialed in to operate more like that at partial throttle – at least where it’s noticeable – and leave the rev/power hunting to cruising conditions.
To be honest, I think most enthusiasts just hate it because of it’s image. I don’t get that at all… the technology is fascinating. I have a feeling these are mostly the same people who still claim fuel injection and ABS ruined cars.
Umm; the whole point to CVTs is that they’re more efficient than a conventional automatic. The gap has narrowed in recent years with advancements in technology, but since the CVT is an all-mechanical device (no hydraulic torque converter) its efficiency is intrinsically very high.
And the fact that the CVT can constantly adjust engine speed to the most efficient operating range adds to its efficiency.
My understanding has always been that while this is true in theory, current CVTs yield higher drivetrain losses than conventional automatic transmissions, and that the efficiency benefits are purely a result of being able to select any gear ratio within a certain range.
Why? I’m not really sure… possibly just because the components need to be heavier/stronger than in a comparable automatic. I haven’t really kept up with what’s going on in the world of CVT’s since the first wave of “modern” units started coming out in the early 2000’s.
I’ve never heard that. And I suspect that there’s some significant correlation between Subaru ditching their automatics for CVTs and a substantial jump in their EPA numbers.
Why else would CVTs be in ever-more use?
Update: According to this tech paper the efficiencies of the main types of transmissions is:
CVT belt: 88%
CVT Toroidal: 93%
Obviously, there are going to be variations depending on the specific manufacturer and test cycle, so this is just a ball park.
The ability to maximize final drive ratio for efficiency could easily outweigh any increased drivetrain losses, or it could be that Subaru’s old automatic was a much poorer design… or you could be absolutely right.
Searching for information on this topic didn’t really give me a conclusive answer. In fact it just made me more confused. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been under the impression that the big CVT flaw was that they were power leeches, but why exactly I don’t really know. Google has lots of arguments on both sides but very little hard evidence. Dyno results through a CVT don’t seem to be any help since their nature is incompatible with the way most dynos operate.
With the Subarus, it appears that they introduced their CVT at the same time they introduced entirely new models of the Impreza and Legacy, so there’s a lot of variables going on there. Nissan switched from automatic to CVT in 2007 for a Maxima that was essentially identical otherwise – they went from 18/26 with the 5-speed auto to 19/25 with the CVT. Same difference… this is very far from scientific, though.
Can you post a link to that paper? That’s the kind of thing I was looking for but couldn’t dig up anywhere.
Strange, I’ve driven about 170K miles between my 2001 and 2010, and never noticed any midrange jumpiness. Drove several others too. The ’01 was remarkably smooth and they’ve got it perfected in the 2010. I wonder if the one you drove was running right? Driving in Power Mode only? Else I’m just not noticing it. Just smooth power.
Yeah those animations are cool. Necessary too – planetary gears are magic.
Could be the one I drove wasn’t working right, that’s the only one I’ve ever really driven. It wasn’t throwing up any DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! codes or anything… hopefully I’ll get a chance to get behind the wheel of one of them again at some point. I’d like to see what the bigger Toyota hybrids drive like too. Aside from the original Insight and Prius, the only other hybrid I’ve ever driven was a 2010-ish Ford Escape which was OK.
One of the staples of my job’s fleet is the very rare Opel Antara-based Saturn VUE hybrid – in fact I’m pretty sure my employer bought all of them that were ever built. It’s not that often that I have to take a car out at work, but any time I have it’s always been a crummy Chevy Venture or boring Dodge Caravan. I’ve always got my fingers crossed for the VUE – how sad is that?
What is it about Pirates and Toyotas. Last week I was filling up at Costo, when in the next row over, a fairly dangerous looking fellow in a black leather jacket with a big white skull on the back was filling up his car. A gray Toyota Camry. I thought about snapping a picture, but he did not look like he would welcome being laughed at on the internet. I also thought about telling him that I was revoking his tough-guy card until he finds another set of wheels.
Arrrrrh…I’ll bet this thing is rigged to park by your power panel and steal your volts….
With those tiny blacked out wheels it really does look like a boat!
Man the gunwales, theres a Volt coming aside!
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