What the Toyota Prius sets out to do, it does it very well. The idea of such a hybrid was always attractive in a pure, technical way, and for those wanting to make an environmental point that was enough. Now, though, the idea has been developed to the point where the latest Prius can be bought and used by anyone, after a little acclimatisation to its residual strangeness, and no one need to suffer for the greenness.

There are other hybrids but, at the affordable end of the market, only the likes of the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt compete for sophistication. The Honda Insight tries, but largely fails.

Head-up display shows speedo, hybrid drive status and sat-nav info. It’s more of a distraction than an aid

However, the biggest challenge to the Prius doesn’t necessarily come from all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and other hybrids, but ‘normal’ cars offering decent power and low emissions. Meanwhile, diesel cars continue to cut emissions rapidly.

That notwithstanding, the Prius is now a desirable machine in its own right, and it has answers to almost all the questions its long-standing critics can throw at it.

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