Tech Feature Friday: Toyota Prius C Eco Savings
Display lets you track fuel savings in real time and compare them with another vehicle.
Toyota has an unmitigated hit on its hands with the 2012 Prius c, the latest and lowest-priced version of its popular hybrid Prii franchise. With record-high gas prices, the launch of the Prius c couldn’t have been better timed.
Previous versions of the Prius were pioneers in the use of displays that let drivers measure their fuel consumption to find out how frugally they’re operating the car. With a new display feature on the Prius c, drivers can be even more cost-conscious.
Called Eco Savings, it uses a small in-dash screen like prior Prius fuel-consumption displays. But Eco Savings adds being able to track the cost of fuel consumed in real time or even shows a comparison between two cars.
Depending on whether the full odometer or trip meter is displayed, different fuel information is shown. When the odometer is displayed, fuel cost since the car was last started is displayed. When the trip meter is displayed, fuel costs since the trip meter was reset is displayed. You can also choose to show fuel costs for trip meter A or trip meter B.
If drivers want to compare the savings they’re achieving in their Prius c to, say, a friend’s Infiniti QX56, they can input fuel cost and the fuel-efficiency rating for each vehicle and choose the comparison display to view fuel-cost differences between the two – and feel smug about paying less to go farther.
One downside is that I didn’t find changing the settings very intuitive using the display and steering buttons. The process was confusing. And as with setting any in-dash display, you only want to do it while sitting still, which is why changing Eco Savings settings is defeated when the car is moving.
Of course, you can track your Eco Savings while traveling. But you just don’t want to watch your fuel savings when you should be watching the road.
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