Five-Point Inspection: 1997 Toyota Prius

Five-Point Inspection: 1997 Toyota Prius

3. On Road Performance

Test driving this automotive milestone was a surprising experience, but not for the reasons you might think. You’re probably expecting me to unleash a fusillade of complaints directed at the poor car’s driving dynamics, but I’m sorry my friend, you’re sadly mistaken.

What was remarkable about this 16-year-old vehicle was just how similar it felt to a brand-new Prius. Sure, it was a little slower, slightly noisier and not quite as refined as a showroom fresh 2013 version, but other than these minor differences it drove almost exactly the same. The engine smoothly cycled on and off as necessary and you could feel the electric motor deliver an extra boost when heavy acceleration was required. Toyota got the drivetrain right back in 1997 and they’ve been improving it ever since.


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