The Prius’ Driving Modes

I learned to drive in a Chevrolet. I took a Ford Cortina to my driving test; I passed. Since then I have driven tractors, a 1926 Rolls Royce Phantom I, with rod brakes and manual steering, and large Chryslers. I have always preferred maneuverable, smaller cars, but can drive just about anything. That is until my wife bought a Prius.

My wife usually does not get sucked into trends. She avidly recycles, but is not crazed about it. She tries to combine multiple trips in the car to conserve on gasoline, but if an extra trip has to be made, it is not the end of the world. That is until the Prius came along, because it seems to be exercising mind control.

It is no longer about how to get from point A to point B; it is all about how you drive there. If you perform a ballet of releasing the accelerator and braking a certain way, you get points, as in miles per gallon at the end of the trip.

I strongly recommend if you buy a Prius, do not use any of the special modes — EV, ECO, or Power — at all, at least not until you are used to the car. From the description of EV, you are only supposed to use that at night around the neighborhood, so you do not disturb your neighbors. It is silent. I thought if it is silent, burglars might like the Prius, too. Well, at least they would be robbing your house environmentally.

I have never used Power mode, but imagine doing so would be recorded in some log stored in the universe where at the end of my life, I would be lectured for using power when I did not have to.

ECO mode seems to be the trickiest of all. I am actually feeling badly if my mileage is low, having traversed up and down hills in my town. Fortunately, I do not drive my wife’s Prius often. Maybe I won’t get too programmed.