The final leg of my trip from Sacramento in a 2013 Toyota Prius c took me over the infamous Grapevine, from North to South, and into the heart of the beaten down mecca called Hollywood eight miles from the LA Auto Show.
I’d driven for a total of about eight hours (including few brief stops) and covered 392.9 miles and averaged 44.6 mpg. The EPA averages for the Prius c hybrid are 50 mpg (city) and 46 mpg (highway).
My biggest concern for the long haul in the hybrid subcompact was the incline over the Grapevine and its notorious stretches where 18-wheelers are forced to the right-hand lane(s) with heavy loads. It’s on the same sections where drivers of powerful machines like to test their cars’ power and acceleration on sharp descents.
The Grapevine is also a haven for California Highway Patrol officers, and I noticed at least a half-dozen vehicles being pulled over for excessive speed. Which, of course, isn’t likely an issue in a Prius c. While lacking any quality resembling ideal acceleration, the Prius c wasn’t sluggish, either. I was able to maintain 70-plus mph for much of the steepest sections. The flow of traffic in fast lanes easily exceeded 75 mph.
As mentioned in an early trip post, my only concern about the Prius c was driving during early morning hours with the car’s headlights on. The car’s navigation system is intuitive and provides prompt updates. But with the headlights on the illumination of the navigation screen was greatly diminished.
A reader of TheWeekyDriver.com from New York emailed detailing his purchase of Prius and a 1,500-mile road trip last summer he took with the wife from Long Island to Niagara Falls, into Ontario and then to Rochester, NY en route home.
The reader, Bill, detailed the Prius c averaged nearly 50 mpg on the couple’s trip and that he purchased his Toyota after owning a 1996 BMW 318ti hatchback.
Bill noted in his comments he believes the brightness controls are locked in instrument settings at maximum. He commented: “I do find that the nav display works best with its contrast set at minimum, which perhaps counter-intuitively makes it more visible in bright light.”
During the Media Days of the LA Auto Show, I asked two Toyota representatives about the navigation illumination. One company representative wasn’t aware of the issue or if there was a way to resolve it.
Another Toyota “product specialist” said she’s heard similar concerns from other customers. But she also wasn’t aware of a way to improve the illumination when using the headlights.
Article Last Updated: March 25, 2014.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.