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She finally got it (had to wait for one to come from Japan) and she is a very happy woman. I have yet to drive it but I had a lot of fun sitting in it last night trying to work out how to turn the damn thing on!

It doesn't have a key, just this black plastic thing with the lock and unlock buttons on it. Looks like a chunky old remote locking keytag.

You get in and slip this keytag into a small slot. Then push the power button (just like some home appliance) and you get he dash etc. Push the button again and the engine fires up (must have foot on brake).

Gear shift is on the dash to the left. Reverse, neutral and drive are in a line with Park and a 'B' setting off to the side. The 'B' is engine braking, or rather regenerative braking that means that instead of putting your foot on the normal brakes as you go down, for eg, a hill you engage this baby and put extra power in the batteries.

Dash is cool. All digital and right at the bash of the windscreen. There is no normal set of console controls. If you want to fiddle with the air controls you have to use the small touch screen in the centre of the dash. Common controls (radio volume, fresh/re-circ air, radio mode and tune) are also on buttons on the steering wheel. There is also a normal radio volume dial on the centre console. Everything else is via the touch screen.

There are lots of cool things in this thing. Little trim things that make it a bit of a luxury car. Looks good too. The only thing that I would take some getting used to is the digital aircon controls - you would have to play with those at a red light. I'm too used to the old fashioned ones!

Hope to drive it this weekend (it was getting dark and peak hour when I visited the parents so I didn't want to have my first drive of it then).

Mum is already really happy with the fuel usage. She has put about 400km on it so far and the computer is telling her that she is doing 5.5L per 100Km.

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did she get the i-tech pack thing as well?? coz u can also unlock the door and start the car with the key in your pocket if u do. also there is the bluetooth function that can interface with your bluetooth mobile for handsfree, too and u can make calls thru the centre display!!

that car is awesome.

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She didn't get the full electronics pack as she thought she would never use it. At the age of 67 she reckons that it is easier to pick up the Melways than fool with the SatNav.

The only extra thing she got on the base car was park assist.

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i reckon it needs a bit more of a punch. nonetheless its an awesome car to run around in. and so quiet and soo efficient. i think in japan they are starting to have some kits and mags for it, too! :P

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I have now taken the Prius for about a half hour spin with my Mum as co-pilot and as 'instruction manual'.

Drives like an automatic Corolla really. Pulls very smoothly from start and if you are accelerating a bit the engine will kick in before you get to 10kmh. Sound proofing is pretty good so it is not much to notice the engine - a good soundtrack would hide it :) .

I drove it from the parents house down some 50km back streets and then onto the Nepean Hwy which is an 80 zone. It kept up with traffic fine and pulled ok from the lights to keep up. I floored it a couple of times and the little 1.5lt engine starts to sound a bit thrashy.

Did a bit of driving in a carpark with the 'stealth' mode engaged. This is a button that you push to force the car to operate soley as an electric one. Designed for quiet entry/exit from home and no exhaust driving in garages and carparks with confined spaces (and air). It turns the engine on if you floor it - I guess it thinks that there is an emergency and gives you the power back.

For everyday driving, like what Mum does, it would be great. I know most of you boy racers in the Sportivos would find it a bit sedate, but I guess that 99% of the drivers in town wouldn't notice. B)

I'm going to see if Mum will lend it to me and my girlfriend in a few weeks when we go to Apollo Bay for the weekend and drive the Princes Hwy past Geelong and do the Great Ocean Road. I am keen to see what it is like on a long stretch of clear road.

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Wow! sound's really cool and futuristic. I don't really think any of us s'tivo drivers will complain about it being sedate as there are many other features to keep us occupied :D it sounds like it drives really good for a 1.5litre engine. it would be a strange sensation driving in stealth mode. the car is moving but no engine noise. i'd keep thinking the car has stalled. :P

at current petrol prices (i payed 119.9cents per litre yesterday <_< ) i'm sure it will end up that most ppl will drive cars like the prius.

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