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Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

Here’s the number that many will consider central to the Prius’s success or failure: 62.5mpg. That’s the result our True MPG testers obtained from the car, on 15in wheels and so best configured for low rolling resistance.

It’s a long way short of the 94.1mpg official claim but compares favourably to results for the current Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion diesel (56.8mpg) and Skoda Octavia Greenline III (61.9mpg).

The Toyota Prius has some fine-looking residuals which will soften the blow of the high ticket price

A handful of similarly sized hatchbacks have done better, among them Honda’s Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC, but none would match the Prius for stop-start efficiency in traffic. Over a busy mixed route on a few occasions, the car indicated better than 70mpg during our tests.

Toyota expects to charge you a premium, of course, putting the Prius on a level with German premium-brand five-doors on showroom price. But it also bundles a lot of equipment in as standard – LED headlights, active cruise control, colour touchscreen infotainment with DAB radio and plenty of active safety equipment even on entry-level cars.

Our advice with speccing up a new Prius, is to opt for the Business Edition trim, which adorns the hybrid with heated seats, parking sensors, head-up display, keyless entry and a wireless phone charger. We would also go for the 15in alloys and a spacesaver spare, while avoiding the expensive satellite navigation option.

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It can also fall back on outstanding residual value forecasts for the car. Our friends at CAP predict that the car will outperform even a similarly priced Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI by almost 10 percent over three years.