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2008 Toyota Prius MPG Review

Toyota Prius MPG-o-Matic Toyota Prius Review Summary: The space age-styled Toyota Prius hybrid delivers chart-topping fuel economy, a quiet ride, and a surprising amount of interior room.

The 2008 Toyota Prius competes most closely with the Honda Civic Hybrid, and clearly leads the current pack of hybrids when it comes to gas mileage, recognition, and sales. Under the hood, the 2008 Prius is fitted with a Hybrid Synergy Drive system consisting of a 1.5 liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four cylinder engine and electric motor mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT). The system produces a total of 110 net horsepower (HP).




The official gas mileage estimates for the 2008 Toyota Prius are 48 city/45 highway miles per gallon (MPG).

In over five hundreds of miles of driving, our bright Barcelona Red Prius glided past the official estimates with ease, scoring an average of 48.9 MPG on the highway, with 53.2 MPG combined.

But for all its gas mileage goodness, the Prius does take its time getting up to highway speeds from a standing start.

It’s safe to say that no one buys a Prius for its straight line acceleration. The strengths of the Prius are its great gas mileage, quiet operation, and as a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV), its minimal impact on the environment.

The cabin of the Prius is decidedly space-age, with the LCD touch screen taking center stage. Steering wheel controls are comprehensive.

The Prius comes configured with one of six option packages. Our test unit was kitted out with Package #5, which includes a JBL six-speaker audio system, hands-free Bluetooth, voice-activated navigation system, backup camera, vehicle stability control, Smart Key System, and a host of other features.
iPod integration is provided with most option packages, via a concealed center console auxiliary jack. There are two power outlets, one in the console and one beneath the dashboard.

The hatchback provides a wide portal to the Prius’ versatile and easily configured cargo bay. While the 60/40 rear seats do not have remote releases, they fold flat, providing ample room to haul your stuff around … unlike many competing hybrids where cargo capacity and flexibility are sacrificed to make room for the batteries.

Although it can’t be accused of being luxurious, the Prius’ back seat offers plenty of space for two passengers to ride in comfort, with adequate legroom.

We found the Prius to be a formidable choice for folks in the market for a car with the best possible gas mileage. While the styling might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the numbers live up to their billing.

With the Prius, as with all of the Toyota Hybrids, you need to minimize the usage of the gasoline engine to get the best gas mileage. The Prius produces exceptional results at speeds under 40 miles per hour when the Synergy system can shut the gasoline engine down in favor of electric drive. Once you learn the techniques, you’ll optimize your fuel economy.

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8 comments ↓

#1 Dana on 09.24.08 at 11:45 am

Good to know if I chose to live my life under 40 mph…. but for now I’ll keep my beautiful ’09 VW Jetta TDI and it’s 59.42 MPG. =D

#2 John on 10.14.08 at 1:07 pm

My wife owns an ’05 Prius she bought new and consistently gets 46+MPG combined around town and freeway driving in LA without driving carefully in a manner that ensures better mileage.

On the road it’s always above 50 at a 70MPH cruise w/AC running. We can drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco and have approximately 1/8 tank of gas remaining.

The car cruises nicely at speeds well enough in excess of the posted freeway speed limit to ensure a ticket if the rest of the traffic was not also at 80MPH, and climbs the hills right along with everyone else.

OK, it’s not as cool as her ’57 Chevy – but then again, what is?

As for the Jetta – at the difference in price of Diesel vs. cheap regular – you’re going to have to get a lot more than 59MPG to make it cost effective over 100,000 miles of ownership.

#3 Toyota Prius Gas Mileage on 10.28.08 at 7:57 am

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#4 Hybrid Gas Mileage on 01.24.09 at 9:30 am

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#5 Ken on 02.03.09 at 11:48 am

Used 2005 Prius.
We bought a 2005 prius w/ over 70,000 miles on it. I did NOT think my wife would like it, but during the test drive she was VERY enthusiastic about the car. Later, once we had it home she felt that it was NOT getting the gas mileage as advertised.However, I did not trust the electronics & checked the mileage at every fill up. In combined town & Hiway driving I routinely averaged 50-54 mpg. I would like to get another good used one, but I am waiting for the newer 2009 model, just for kicks. We both like the Prius, would like a Yaris, also. Again, once she drove the Yaris, she LOVED it, also!

#6 Good Gas Mileage on 04.22.09 at 9:29 pm

[…] the Toyota Prius (shown at left) and Honda Civic Hybrid are two long-running darlings, there’s an expanded […]

#7 Andy Solomon on 06.04.09 at 1:57 pm

I don’t believe this. I have owned my Toyota Prius for exactly a year. A 2008 model, it get’s an average of about 40 miles per gallon. It is the touring model and I have talked to several other drivers that also only get about this mpg. A few get 45 or 48. One got about 51 but, in my survey the average is about 42 mpg overall.

#8 mpg-o-editor on 06.04.09 at 3:58 pm

@Andy – Believe it or not …. the results are completely dependent on the manner in which you drive.

If you take advantage of the Prius drive train to the fullest, it’s not difficult to hit or exceed the official numbers. Spend an hour or so learning how to maximize glide time and you’ll see your MPGs rise.

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