Monthly Update for March 2018 — 2016 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test

2016 Toyota Prius: Monthly Update for March 2018

by Mike Schmidt, Senior Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations

Where Did We Drive It?
March was filled with 2016 Toyota Prius milestones. We’ve owned the car for two years, but just set records for the fewest miles driven in a month, least number of fill-ups, best fuel range and second-best fuel economy on a single tank. We also experienced its first flat tire, its first day out of service, and the first time we spent money on maintenance.

It was an eventful stretch considering we didn’t drive the Prius a heck of a lot. Read on for an explanation of all of these firsts.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove the Toyota just 521 miles since our last update, all on a single tank of gasoline. That beat our previous mark of 513 miles. We averaged 55.9 mpg on that lone tank, which was a step behind our best fill of 57.2 mpg. Yet it was high enough to raise our lifetime fuel economy by 0.1 mpg.

Average lifetime mpg: 49.8
EPA mpg rating: 52 combined (54 city/50 highway)
Best fill mpg: 57.2
Best range: 521 miles
Current odometer: 18,279 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
March was the first time we reached into our pockets to pay for maintenance. We started up the car one morning and found the low-tire warning light on. This meter doesn’t specify which position is low, so we got out and checked.

A visual inspection gave no clue which tire was compromised. Some words of warning: Never rely on your eyes to recognize a flat tire. Trust the tire-pressure monitoring system or a tire gauge. We used a gauge to find the flat, which was down to 18 psi compared to its cohorts at 32 psi. We topped it with air from our garage compressor, and it held all the way to the tire shop.

It wasn’t until the tire was off the car that we saw the nail resting on the inside shoulder of the tire tread. Shoulder punctures are expensive because a patch won’t hold there, so we needed a new tire. America’s Tire ordered a Yokohama BluEarth S34 tire, size P215/45R17, a twin of the damaged tire. The cost: $219.

Had our car been equipped with the other original-equipment tire, Bridgestone Ecopias, the bill would’ve been much less at $152. America’s Tire has the Ecopias in stock, but the Yokohamas wouldn’t arrive until the next day. Since our Prius didn’t have a spare, the tech offered to mount a temporary, non-matching tire to get us home. We declined and left the car overnight.

Early the next morning, we were back on the road.

Logbook Highlights

"There is a noise coming from the right rear of the car. It is faint and sounds a little like a bearing, but I can’t be sure. We should monitor it." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing

"Prius drivers tend to have a stereotype of driving slow to maximize fuel economy. And even though I don’t drive like that, the rest of the world has already made up its mind. Cars will tailgate you or drive around you to get past the ‘slow hybrid.’ It really is a thing that happens. I’ve been guilty of this myself. So keep this in mind if you buy a Prius: People will want to blow past you whether you’re going fast or not." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor