Marathon Prius UK test drive – day three

It’s the end of day three of our marathon trip, the first two days of which saw us stopping in Rochford (Essex), Norwich, Washington (Tyne & Wear), and Sunderland, before spending Saturday night in Hartlepool.

Despite yesterday’s 1.15 bedtime, this morning we were on the road just after 9am, backtracking south to Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and a meeting with Peter – a confirmed Prius fan. In glorious sunshine we spent a happy hour or so driving literally up hill and down dale with Peter and wife Caroline, managing to spook a crowd of walkers by lapping the quiet square of a market town in the car’s almost silent EV mode. After a while, it was back into town for a rendevous with local centre RMB Toyota (Northallerton), who know Peter well.

I’ll leave it to Peter to tell you what he thought of the Prius, but among the highlights for him were the car’s head-up display and Smart Entry systems.

Next up was another backtrack, this time north to RMB Toyota (Teesside) who we weren’t able to fit in as planned yesterday. There we met business manager Paul Roots, Martin Allen and Michael, and were able to oblige with a spontaneous test drive for a couple who just happened to arrive at the right time. After a quick call on the neighbouring Lexus dealer, Alex was behind the wheel for our trip to Glasgow.

With Alex due to return to Toyota head office tomorrow, I thought he might appreciate the chance to stay at the Prius’ wheel for all of the 187.9 miles we were about to tackle, but it turned out to be the most challenging stint to date. As we drove the A66 east, the country gathered itself into the Pennines, and the clouds gathered into slight, steady and then epic rain. While the Prius wasn’t bothered, the standing water and spray made economical driving a bigger challenge. At least it also made for some fantastic photos.

Things had cleared up by the time we turned onto the A6 and headed north, and picked up further when we managed to stop for a late lunch – before we could get it, Alex amused himself with the reverse Parking Assist.

The next 50 miles or so passed with nothing more remarkable than an oft-swerving lorry to look out for, before – now on the A74(M), north of Lockerbie – we begun a relentless climb, and the heavens opened again. At one point, wondering when the climb would ever stop, we realised our average economy for the stint had dropped to ‘just’ 66.4mpg. By the time we rolled into Glasgow, after a shorter and much less tiring day, Alex had managed 69.3mpg and an average speed of 47mph.

Yesterday, the scale of what we’re doing began to dawn on me. Tonight the Prius’ mileage since leaving Brighton just ticked past the 1,000 mark – having reached 1,000.6 miles by the time we’d parked for the night.

The two of us, and the seven other drivers who’ve taken the wheel, have averaged 36mph and 71.6mpg so far. With Liverpool and south west Wales still to go, I think we may have another 1,000 miles before our journey ends – it’s a good job we’re having fun.


  1. Sincere thanks to Toyota GB and Simon and Alex for picking me up from home and allowing me to drive the Gen 3. I was thrilled to drive it and really enjoyed the re-engineered Prius. Everything is a step up from the Gen 2 especially refinement in handling, noise suppression and aesthetics. Yes, I thought the HUD was incredible – no photo could ever do it justice and the keyless entry was very clever indeed. I have done a small writeup on the Prius Chat site and the Toyota Owners Club:

    Again, thanks to Toyota GB for making it happen.

  2. It is amazing to think that my good old freind Paul Roots aka ‘the luckiest sales man alive’ just so happened to have a customer there and then to test drive the newest member of the Toyota Family.
    Just goes to show the true efficency and proffesionalism, displayed on a daily basis by the staff at RMB Teesside.

  3. Massive thanks to Simon, Alex and Toyota GB for coming to my house and allowing me a thorough test drive taking in Northallerton, Masham and the Swinton Park Estate. I have to say the Prius exceeded expectations and i want one now more than ever. I was very impressed with the clarity of the HUD especially in nav mode and the ease of use of the keyless system.

    I’ve done a small write up on Prius Chat and Toyota Owners Club at:

  4. hi just to say thanks to the lads who showed our customers the new prius ,on which we have dealt them many thanks .MR ROOTS AT RMB TEESSIDE .

  5. @Peter Leek – No problem at all Peter. Simon and Alex loved it too. Thanks for the write up at Prius Chat – look forward to reading what other forum members make of your experiences.

  6. Thanks Peter, Tamsin’s right – we had a great time on the road, and loved the sights of North Yorks. One of our high points was watching people’s reaction as you lapped the market square in EV mode! Thanks for your comments here and your write-ups elsewhere.

    @Paul – no problem. We enjoyed meeting you and your customers, and it was a pleasure to give them a quick drive.

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